Carolin Holzhuber, footwear designer, London, Vienna.

Hello Carolin, how are you?

Hello, I am great, thank you!

Can you introduce yourself?

I am an Austrian born Footwear Designer based between Vienna and London. I graduated in 2014 from the MA Fashion Footwear Course at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. I did my BA Fashion at the Fashion Institute Vienna Hetzendorf in cooperation with the University of Arts Linz.

After gaining my BA degree I moved to London to work for the shoe brands Atalanta Weller and FINSK. But I had always in my mind to build up my own footwear brand and I wanted to improve my handcraft skills. So I decided to apply for the MA Fashion Footwear course at LCF. It was a great course and I learned a lot about making, which in my opinion is very important to know in order to be able to push the boundaries and create new and innovative products.

Where does your interest in fashion and footwear design come from?

I always wanted to do something in my life where I can draw two-dimensional but at the same time create something three-dimensional. During high school I was always sketching clothes in all of my books, my parents realized that and gave me books about fashion illustration. So I started copying them and that was how I practiced in my free time. When I applied for my BA in Fashion in Vienna it was sure I want to be a fashion designer. At that point I did not even thought about shoes. But in our first term we had to try out four different workshops shoemaking, cloth making, millinery and knit wear. I was fascinated by the handcraft of making footwear, all the little steps and detailed works that make a shoe complete. Also I fall in love with the wonderful material leather, the smell, the touch and what you are able to create with this material.

Your shoes are sculptural like a piece of art that intrigue the perception, what is your definition of footwear?

Footwear has a big spectrum. It can be from functional shoes, like sport shoes, dance shoes, worker shoes, daily shoes, house shoes, winter or summer shoes, evening shoes to sculptural shoes.

I adore the traditional way of making footwear and for my designs I combine the handcraft work with new and innovative materials such as carbon fibre. Footwear is for me a luxury product that can be a work of art but nevertheless should convey the grace of a shoe.

Do you have a collection that you enjoyed working on more than the other?

My MA collection conjoined illusion. For me it was a challenge to finish in time and produce in high quality. I like to be challenged. But I also really liked working on this collection because of the workshop facilities at my university London College of Fashion … the best workshop I have had so far in my life with the best machines, that I can only dream about right now.

What influences you the most?

I am a collector. I collect images, quotes, odours and sometimes I collect without even realizing. But it is saved in my brain and comes out when I start sketching. One of my biggest influences though is the human body, its beauty, its complexity, distinguish trough disease, variations. With my shoes I want to put the human body on a pedestal.

Is there any designer or artist you appreciate a lot?

Louis Kahn, Piet Mondrian, Yves Klein, Chopin, Coco Chanel, Paulo Coelho.

Which books are on your bedside table?

At the moment it is the book ‘A Philosophy of walking’ by Frédéric Gros. There is nothing better for me than take walks to clear my minds and think about new ideas. In this book the author asks why so many of our most productive writers and thinkers – Rousseau, Kant, Rimbaud, Nietzsche – have been tireless walkers.

“ Going out for a walk is another matter: you say goodbye to your work. You close the books and files, and you go out. Once outside, the body moves at its own rhythm and the mind feels free, in other words, available.”

The last word …

Create — “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Peter Drucker



Interview : Tiffany Bähler & Dennis Moya — 12.14

Images : ©Carolin Holzhuber.