Photo: Barbora Veselá

Photo: Barbora Veselá

Always dress as if you’re going to meet your worst enemy. It’s one of our favorite sayings and these Shield shoes, are the kind of head-turning creations we long for. Not only are they unique, but they are as inspiring as their creator Charlene Ong.  

“I have always been a creative individual and as cliché as it may sound, I have always been passionate about shoes. However, I never thought that I could actually pursue a career in footwear designing,” says Ong. “Previously, I was working in PR and would walk by the London College of Fashion everyday whilst en route to one of our clients. One day I decided to go in to inquire about the role of being a footwear designer and what I would need to do to become one. I was encouraged to prepare a portfolio in my own time and apply for the course at Cordwainers, thankfully I was accepted and it was the best decision I’ve ever made!”

Drawing inspiration from science fiction, Ong’s creations are wearable pieces of art. They are designed with multiple goals in mind, one being innovation. “I think it is extremely important to constantly challenge the paradigms of footwear design,” she says. “This is not only with regards to its aesthetic but to the processes involved in footwear manufacturing. Chau Har Lee challenged traditional footwear methods by attempting to reduce the number of processes involved in the production of shoes. She did so without sacrificing the consideration of creating something beautiful. I believe that this constant strive to re-create and push boundaries is an essential practice across all fields of design, not just in fashion.”

Sustainability is also an important aspect. “We should be designing with the intention of creating shoes that can last a lifetime,” she says. “As opposed to the throw-away culture that we currently live in.”    

Finally, it’s the trans-formative quality of design that excites this up-and-coming designer. After all, why limit our fashion choices to the mundane and practical when you can have the surreal? Balancing this lust for creative innovation with practical applications however, can be a challenge, one Ong is well aware of. “As a designer, you constantly crave the new and exciting but you also desire seeing your designs actually being worn. So as tempting as it may be, you can never design with pure indulgence.”

With numerous projects in the works, you can rest assured we will be seeing more of Charlene Ong’s out-of-this-world creations. In the meantime, we will dare to dream of these heavenly heels. — NICOLE ROSS