It was only supposed to be a college project, but Birkenstock was so impressed by the standard of designs from Central Saint Martins’ MA, that it chose to produce four of the student’s designs and sell them on its website. The original 1774 project was set in 2018, when the students were in their first year, but it has taken until now, for the designs to pass through the prototype stages and be ready for sale.

The students (all now graduated) first visited the Birkenstock archive, before designing their own versions of the brand’s iconic sandals. Seeing the brand through the eyes of a new generation is liberating. The four winning students produced wildly different designs. Saskia Lenearts reimagined the ’90s Tallahassee style and the Terra, with a bold blue foot-bed. Alecsander Rothchild was inspired by Brancusi to create his startlingly sculptural shapes. Alex Wolfe came up with an impressive motocross gladiator sandal and Ding Yun Zhang’s oversized quilted Cosy sandals have cult appeal. In fact, all the designs are set to become collector’s items. You’ve been told.

Photography by Walter Pfeiffer. You can shop the Central Saint Martins’ 1774 Birkenstock collection here.  

1774.com

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