Since 2003, Rem D Koolhaas, Dutch architect and shoe engineer of United Nude, has been constructing innovative footwear that pushes technological boundaries and astounds the imagination. The Thread phoned Rem, who at the time was traveling through China, to learn more about his point of view on conceptual shoes.
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THE THREAD: What we love most about United Nude is that you design from a place that has no limits.
REM D KOOLHAAS: Yes, we’re designing footwear to push boundaries, to experiment… Yet as a brand we’ve grown up a lot and offer a broader lifestyle range of shoes. At the same time, we’re doing more wild collaborations, theaterlike footwear, let’s say, with people like British architect Zaha Hadid or Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen. This kind of balance between experimentation and wearability is what really keeps us awake more than anything else.
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THE THREAD: Your theater footwear analogy is quite thought-provoking, especially thinking of some of your designs worn by characters like Lady Gaga.
REM: The good thing about celebrities is that they want to be seen. They are the most open to join the “theater of fashion,” which is basically where people wear something to really show off and make a statement. Most people in their day-to-day life don’t really want to wear things that are too adventurous, but then you have someone like Beyoncé , who recently sent us a request and desires a state-of-the-art shoe. We have continuous requests from the stylist of Lady Gaga to design shoes for her that complement her theatrical way to perform.