Imagine going to a shoe store and picking out a shoe. Rather than trying on several sizes and picking the closest match, you are able to buy your perfect size. How is this possible? By using a scanner connected to a printer that can scan your foot and literally print a 3D shoe that perfectly conforms to your feet. It doesn’t even sound possible, more fantasy than reality. However, along with fellow student Souzan Youssouf, Project Runway winner Naim Josefi has created a 3D printed shoe that has rocked the stages of Mercedes-Benz fashion week in Stockholm and been worn by stars such as Lady Gaga. The Melonia shoes, as they are called, were nominated for Design of the Year in 2011. Schӧn! caught up with Naim Josefi to talk about his futuristic footwear, his time on Project Runway, and what he has planned for the future.
Do you think that one of the foot scanners that you used to make the shoes could be in every shoe shop in the future?
Yes hopefully, I think that it is the perfect way to make fashion, or at least shoes, in the future.
How did you come up with the idea for this shoe and how did you collaborate with Souzan Youssouf?
The concept of my collection Melonia was all about futuristic design, and my shape was very organic. In order to be able to produce that shape I had to find a way to make this advanced design and make it made to measure to fit my customer, and this is the way to do bespoke in the future. When I found some 3D print factory I needed to send them my sketch in 3D and I got help from Souzan to transform my sketch in Rhino.
You said that the shoes are a vision of an ideal society where the individuality of each person is in focus, but also a strong fellowship that unites us. Could you explain this?
In my dream world, I mean in the future, we work together. We will find an exceeded expectation in the result of team working, but it does mean that individuality is not important. We are very strong and still need each other. We share and develop our design in a community like Piratebay and print our very unique shoes at home.
When did you become interested in fashion?
In 2004, I started to see what I really love to do in my life. I was lost in my parents’ dream before and they wanted me to be educated to be a doctor. I didn’t feel pleased with my life and I realised I have to find my way for my happiness. I took a trip to Paris to relax. While there, I found myself in the design museums and design exhibitions. I bought a lot of fashion magazines. When I was back from Paris, I found that I had a very strong interest in fashion.
How has your education influenced your work?
My education in tailoring is my biggest influence for my design. I have been studying elementary medicine and microbiology, which is also a big inspiration for the designing process. All of my work is mathematical – an organic shape of nature and bounded to the art of bespoke.
What was your experience on Project Runway like?
I found a way to communicate with people in a very fast way. It was a big challenge and a great experience for a designer to make something out of nothing and very fast!
How has winning Project Runway in Sweden changed your life?
It has changed my life, especially my work situation. Today, a lot of new customers contact me as musicians/artists etc. Other than that, which I really appreciate, is the Swedish people/public. I really have started up a great relationship with them. I am a celebrity and a fashion designer that people know. I did deliver good work on TV and they like my designs. Winning Project Runway changed me from an un-established designer to an established designer.
What do you have planned for the future?
Stabilise my brand (Naim Josefi) in Sweden. Then I will go to Paris to try out the haute market.
Words / Schuyler Sorensen
Follow her on Twitter @Skye114
This online exclusive has been produced by.
Creative Direction / Clara Tägtström
Model / Lovisa Axelsson Hager, Mikas
Photography / Johannes Helje
Styling / Pamela Bellafesta, Agent Bauer
Make up / Sandra Öjeland, MIKAs LOOKs
Hair / Philip Fohlin
Production Assistants / Elena Sving, Annizeth Åberg
Assistant Photographer / Alexander Tillheden
Assistant Styling / Sandra Ekenstam
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