The shoe architect

The shoe architect

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Always on the lookout for real innovators and trailblazers I was delighted to receive an update recently about the talented architect and shoe designer Julian Hakes and his unique perspective on footwear.

I came across Julian Hakes at London Fashion Week way back in 2012 when he first exhibited the now iconic ‘Mojito’ shoe. I snapped and Instagrammed these incredible looking shoes (check out the early images on the Instagram feed) and remember speaking to the people looking after the display and how they told us they may look uncomfortable but actually the opposite is true.

As an architect, Hakes had been working in London for more than 10 years before shifting the focus of his work towards fashion – and shoes in particular.

The idea for the original Mojito shoe began around 2006 as Hakes started sketching ideas for a new type of footwear form. He eventually decided to stop just sketching and start making. He began experimenting with some initial conceptualising using tracing paper and masking tape and looking at his own feet. He also used digital and 3D printing, hand modelling and manipulation creating more than 30 prototypes before ultimately arriving at “a single wrapped geometry which starts under the ball of the foot and then over the bridge, then sweeping down below the heel before then twisting back on itself to provide the support for the heel and ankle.”  Thus the Mojito was born, so named as it looked a bit like a twist of lime skin.

JH red roses and red side

Hakes also talks about the shape of the Mojito design developing as a result of the process choosing to be unique rather than just focusing on designing a shoe. When asked to compare his designs to other famous shoe designers Hakes stated that: “In the case of the Mojito shoe I did not start thinking I wanted to design a twisty curvy shoe. I started with the shape of the natural foot and started to work out through the body and what materials and shapes could protect and support the foot. The shape of the mojito design was a result of this process.”

The Mojito shoe is currently part of a V&A exhibition ‘Shoes, Pleasure and Pain’ and will eventually become part of the permanent collection.

JH black chrome and fuchsia side

Julian Hakes London Spring/Summer 2016 sees the release of a new shape called the ‘Honeycomb Wedge’ in a range of sliders, gladiator sandals, and ankle boots.The leather upper wedge comes in various colourways, and features a honeycomb effect on the heel itself.


I look forward to future incarnations of Julian Hake’s work as he continues to explore the effects of weight distribution and comfort for the foot combined with a beautiful aesthetic.  If you want to take a closer look go to Farfetch as I’m told the brand website is having a bit of a redesign at the moment.

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