ARTEFACT FOOTWEAR, FUTURES (#LCFAFF) showcases work from MA Fashion ArtefactFootwear and Fashion Futures grads as part of London Design Festival at The Vinyl Factory, Soho. The aim is to challenge the notion of how products change and influence the world we live in. The work being shown is a combination of traditional craft with new technologies, the exhibition presents provocative and conceptual work in response to contemporary culture and serves as a reflection of our social behaviour.

Graduates from three design courses at London College of Fashion will be showcasing their degree work at London Design Festival between 22 – 24 September. We speak to MA Footwear graduate Lu Dai ahead of the festival.

London Design Festival x LCF with MA Footwear graduate Lu Dai.

London Design Festival x LCF with MA Footwear graduate Lu Dai.

Can you tell us about the London Design Festival showcase and how you got involved?

The whole project aims to challenge the concept of fast fashion and consumption through exploring the idea of slow fashion in the form of growing footwear in order to inspire and arouse peoples awareness of environmental protection. I wanted to question the effects of fast fashion, and how that is leading to speculative designs. This will be achieved through exploring an alternative natural material, mushroom spawn, to realise a collection of bio-shoes and an installation of an imaginary future shoe factory to show the process as well as the final designs.

London Design Festival x LCF with MA Footwear graduate Lu Dai.

London Design Festival x LCF with MA Footwear graduate Lu Dai.

Did you create anything new or are you showing your final work?

All of the material for this collection is organic, and I created a new making system for the sole. This method could be used on everything from product design to the art pieces, and many more. The potential use of this new method is very broad and universal.

London Design Festival x LCF with MA Footwear graduate Lu Dai.

London Design Festival x LCF with MA Footwear graduate Lu Dai.

Could you tell us about your work and techniques you used to craft the pieces?

Throughout the collection I tried multiple traditional handmade shoes techniques as well as the making of biological materials. The upper and insole, are made with traditional shoemaking craft, but the manufacturing of the sole is relatively complicated. First, the vacuum-forming machine makes the mold, and then through disinfection, the biomaterial fills in the mold and allows it to grow to any specific shape in the green house.

How does it feel having your work shown at LDF?

I feel very lucky to have such an opportunity that allows me to share my story and work to other people, and I also appreciate this opportunity to hear feedback from industry professionals.

London Design Festival x LCF with MA Footwear graduate Lu Dai.

London Design Festival x LCF with MA Footwear graduate Lu Dai.

What makes Footwear a good fit for LDF?

I think our work and ideas are like the fresh blood of the industry, and we are eager to communicate with each other and get the feedback at LDF.

What outcomes are you hoping from having your work shown?

I want more people to know me, and also I look forward to more cooperation with other designers in the future.

London Design Festival x LCF with MA Footwear graduate Lu Dai.

London Design Festival x LCF with MA Footwear graduate Lu Dai.

Life after graduation, what you been doing since your MA?

After graduation, I spent a few months traveling around the world to get some new ideas for my next project, and also prepare myself for another challenge.

Anything we should keep an eye out for in the future involving you and your work?

At the moment, I’m working with some clothing brands and artists, and I hope to be able to share new works with you soon.

London Design Festival x LCF with MA Footwear graduate Lu Dai.

London Design Festival x LCF with MA Footwear graduate Lu Dai.

Alumni can connect with LCF in the following ways: