Designing the Footwear of Tomorrow in Classic Shoes from Five Years Before she was Born

Thea Lassen’s favourite shoes right now is a classic pair of white leather shoes, designed five years before she was born in 1986. – I love them; the workmanship is exquisite, and my colleagues think I’m really lucky to own them, because you cannot buy them in stores anymore, she says.

The shoes are the ones called “ECCO TIME,” and Thea found them in an outlet store. – They represent much of ECCO’s DNA, and I think it’s fun to walk around in these classic shoes while working with what may become classics for those who are children today, she says.

Thea Lassen is employed as a material & colour designer at ECCO’s Concept Lab, on the material and colour team. This team develops the colour combinations and material concepts from which they select the final look and collection together with the shoe designers.

Right now she focusses on developing new footwear materials, primarily knitwear and weave. What materials can be combined? What can the material do? Can you mix wool and polyester, so you get the delicious sensation of wool without the short wool fibres becoming a problem, while also maintaining the quality requirements? The answer to the latter is yes. The designers in the department have succeeded in making a material that has passed ECCO’s high quality testing requirements.

– Shoes must be able to endure a lot of wear and tear. They must be able to walk thousands of kilometres and withstand everything from water and snow to high and low temperatures. The new textiles can do that, says Thea Lassen.

She thinks it’s brave of ECCO to work with textiles in a new way, and since it is possible to tailor textiles for each individual shoe in a completely different fashion – something you cannot do with leather – many new opportunities present themselves.

Thea designs not only fabrics, but also prints or a pattern that is specific to the shaft of a particular shoe. – For example we have made a high-heeled shoe with a tailor-made pattern and a knit boot, she explains.

She believes she is helping to transcend boundaries. The materials are much more 3D than ordinary textiles and more outrageous. – I am especially excited about one of them and am eager to see how people will receive it, she says.

The material and the design should fit ECCO’s DNA as well as the customers, and at the same time it’s an advantage if it surprises people a little, she says. – We are always in search of the ECCO look. Suddenly we feel it’s there. It just fits in, and then we move fast to get materials developed and used in the shoes. That makes me happy.

Why Design School Kolding?
Creativity has always been a large part of my life and I “see with my hands.” Design School Kolding has given me professional tools to create through processes. It was a natural choice to take a Master’s degree in textile design, as it created a greater understanding of working professionally with design and design processes; at the same time I have been able to dive deeper into the textiles.