Monday, 5 December 2011


Shoelaces have always allowed for creativity. As I previously touched on in an earlier post, it’s a culture of customization unto itself. Since the mid to late 90's the art of the lace has been increasingly overlooked. With sneakers being produced in industrial quantities and in all manner of shapes, sizes and colours, the lace has become somewhat accustomed to a more functional than decorative role. However, it would seem high time to bring a renewed focus back onto laces in a bout of updated nostalgia.

Reminiscing aside, it's accepted that any shoestring can give additional flavor to the shoe but those that bring out the sneaker as a whole have historically been both wider and fatter. Recreating such a look has its throwback qualities but it's limited in its expression of something new. What we have learnt since the 80's is that the fatter the laces are, the better they are. If issues of size are still of relevance, then it should be expanded to their logical and practical conclusion. From the simple fat lace came the medium fat lace, which quickly evolved into the super fat lace. From this point on there were no further developments. The shoelace was at a dead end and ready to begin its steady decline within sneaker culture. It was unable to be salvaged even by the fancy lacing systems of the 90's. It would seem that there simply wasn't a shoe large enough to accommodate the next size up. But what if the shoe was ditched altogether?  

The shoelace's departure from the shoe altogether makes for an interesting transformation. The bare boned architectural setting is unfamiliar but rightly doesn’t detract from the main spectacle that is the laces. Their size and setting is designed to return the balance between function and decoration back in favour of the latter. But what actually arises emphatically challenges this notion. Though the original sub structure of the shoe has gone, its perceived function is presented as exactly the same. After all, in the images above the pair of laces are being tied in exactly the same fashion as found on the vast majority of footwear. Whether intentionally or not the architectural setting of the descending staircase mirrors the exact same silhouette of a sneaker. The spectacle is therefore grounded in the stimulating of our imagination to still see this installation within the constructs of a normal sneaker example. The shoelaces are therefore simply unable to transcend their functional purpose to upset the balance between function and decoration. 

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