Birkenstock has captured the essence of the future in its latest collaborative educational initiative, seeing the brand work alongside four of Central Saint Martins‘ finest MA Fashion course students. In a collaboration that truly spotlights the next generation of designers, 2020’s most talked-about footwear brand has tapped Alex Wolfe, Alecsander Rothschild, Saskia Lenaerts and Dingyun Zhang to recreate their idea of the Birkenstock sandal we all know and love.

The four were chosen out of a total of 10 finalists, in which a jury led by Birkenstock CEO Oliver Reichert, MA Fashion Course director Fabio Piras, and Sarah Mower MBE, landed on the chosen collaborators with 12 other jury members. Speaking on the collaboration, Reichert said, “Investing in and connecting with future talents is working with free spirits. A priority for forward-thinking brands, especially a democratic brand that embraces all like Birkenstock. The students showed a genuine understanding of design and delivered a convincing end result.”

As a result, Wolfe, Rothschild, Lenaerts and Zhang have produced four respective takes on the Birkenstock. For the South-East London native Wolfe, his Birkenstock explores masculinity and the concept of Britishness with a conceptual take on the sandal, adding notions of the brand’s orthopedic history into the design with a protective shin brace and other motocross-inspired elements.

Rothschild, who is of Mugler alumni, has taken inspiration from the world of sculpting, most notably Constantin Brâncuși who is a Romanian artist who pioneered the modernism movement. The outcome is a Birkenstock that looks more like a gladiator sandal, finished in white with straps and metallic silver fastenings on it to bring an edge of modernity to the pair.

For Lenaerts’ pair, the young designer has put the focus on celebrating the sandals’ iconic latex and cork footbed. This idea is translated into the upper, which is cushioned and is said to “reveal the effortless beauty of the space left behind from a footprint in the sand.”

Lastly, ex-YEEZY designer Zhang has thought about sustainability with comfort, materials, and functionality at the forefront of his design. Served on a black footbed, the pair is contrasted with a padded white strappy ensemble that is beautifully minimal and destined to be a future classic.

Take a look at the Walter Pfeiffer-shot campaign imagery above, and shop the collection at select stores worldwide and on from February 14.

In other news, Palace has just unveiled its collaboration with adidas Originals, this time around taking on the Stan Smith.
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