One of my latest projects is currently developing a line of Huarache footwear in rural Mexico, specifically in the state of Michoacan.
A small factory I’m also drawing the new upper patterns, cutting and weaving most of the pull-overs myself..including those used to develop the new lasts. Its a little more time consuming that I’m used to, but its also providing me with a better insight into the process and the complexity of the various steps required to make the product I’m designing.
Experiencing the entire process first hand in the factory, you can also begin to realize that environmentally friendly design also includes the factory working conditions which are simply another environment that your design affects. I’m noticing that the health and stress of factory employees can also determined by the construction process and materials (also) chosen by the designer. How can a designer improve the daily 8-10 hour long working conditions of the people who make their product?
But mostly I’m thrilled to be working with a fascinating typology of footwear.
Besides the fascinating sequential, almost algorithmic nature of woven Huarache footwear, I’ve become interested in its unique construction for many reasons, some of the most interesting include:-
It can only be made from vegetable tanned leather.
The upper is woven directly into the sole an not glued. This process also eliminates the use of a lasting machine.
Huaraches can be made by weaving a continuous strip of leather into the sole and can reduce the amount of leather usually wasted from the negative spaces between die-cuts.
For more in-depth information on Huaraches visit my other footwear blog Huarache Blog