Italy Student Design Competition Winner Profile: Astrid Heisterberg

Footwear winner: Astrid Heisterberg

Italy Student Design Competition Winner Profile: Astrid Heisterberg

13th October 2021

Meet Astrid Heisterberg this years first place footwear winner in the 2020/21 Italy Student Design Competition. Astrid is currently studying an Undergraduate degree in Leather Technology at Polimoda di Firenze.

Tell us about your submission?

The word sustainability is derived from the Latin word “sustinere” which means to maintain, support or to endure. It currently refers to those development processes that “meet the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own necessities”. Sustainability therefore implies awareness and vision – anything shall be done without a reason and without fully considering the wider
or future impacts.

Creators have a choice. The actions they take; the material they use; the treating processes they undertake; the selling chains they feed into. All has an impact on the environment, on the economies and on the society as a whole. Creators also have a golden opportunity. Creating new products with already existing ones. Making sure that the waste produced by the fashion industry is re-used, becoming source of creativity and sustainability. That is why the project is about sustainable leather – using leftover leather from factories and schools to create new forms of art. Every piece is unique.

What the leather looks like depends on the leather available, making every single piece different from the others. How to do it? Laser-cut to is used to get sharp angles, making sure that the small pieces of leather perfectly fit together. Rubber-filler, either in transparent or in a specific color, is applied to fill in the gaps between the leather. The leather needs to be bendable which means the filler has to be flexible as well. No specific type of leather that is needed – lamb, cow, sheep, buffalo, all works. When it comes to treatment, the more variety the better. Mixing patent, suede, smooth, metallic creates a unique texture – all in one monotone colour. It all starts with us: re-use; re-patch; re-think.

What first attracted to using leather for your designs?

Leather has a depth to it that no other material has. It has life and there is nothing you can’t do with leather.

What do you think using leather allows you to do with your designs that another material or medium would not?

It allows me to play around with a durability that other materials don’t have. There is nothing you can’t do with leather! It has endless opportunities and it’s only your imagination that will set boundaries.

Why do you think leather has consistently remained ‘in style’ while other materials come in and out?

Leather has consistently stayed “in style” because it will last you a lifetime. The more you wear it, the better it will look.