abcense shoe designers

Abcense is a footwear brand based in Taipei and created by the designer duo Jhuosan Wang and Yoyo Pan, respectively Product and Fashion Designer. The philosophy behind the brand, is inspired by Oriental culture, the concept of “blank-leaving”, a technique used in Oriental poetry & art. Hosted in Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Italian and British Vogue, Abcense had been part of London Fashion Week SS15 and now we are honored to be able to talk with them.

Interview by Kristel Liakou

#1. Could you tell us, a bit about your background and what inspired you to start designing shoes?
Yoyo: I did my bachelor of fashion design at RMIT University in Melbourne, and worked as a product developer in the ready-to-wear industry. It all happened quite naturally: It was 2007, had really hard time with finding shoes I like on the market, so I started making some random sketches of my ideal shoes in mind, and it becomes my unique visual diary. One day I woke up in a pile of sketches, it was everywhere scattered on the floor which makes me hardly walk in the room, and I somehow know that it’s about time to make a decision to either tidy up my room or start my footwear design career, certainly the second option sounds much easier.
Jhuosan: The first time I came across shoe design is in a design studio, the history of how shoes changed through time and the culture behind it really got my attention. I realized that all types of shoes come with some interesting stories and reasons, about the relationship between time, space, and the wearer. People tend to choose accessories to express themselves, interestingly, their choices are often related those stories.

#2. What makes Abcense Shoes “unordinary”?
The strong yet elegant silhouette and the sculpture heel that matches all type of looks, from contemporary to classical, the structure of the shoes is carefully elaborated using the finest materials in order to create real works of art which perfectly adapt to the movement of the feet.

#3. How do you describe your collection three, ss15?
Our latest collection is inspired by things that existing without being seen, touched, or been heard, which explores the connection between unseen and the sense of existence. Silhouette and color is softer then previous design, but delicate details remains to be found. An unexpected cutout encounters sudden pop-up, whilst leather being overlapped, crossed or folded. It’s a playful and rule-breaking collection, an experiment of vision and sense.

#4. What criteria do you use when you design new shoes?
We started with some random sketches. We tried to collect everything we’ve seen, touched and tasted, and express feeling though forms and shape, to honestly record how we felt and what was happening around us, and it becomes the core of the collection. We also use our buyer/customer preferences as our basic of the design criteria when comes to fitting and sample altering. Our shoe combines the delicate hand-made skills with molding process, and we enjoy so much experimenting each step with people from different field to think outside of their box and communicate with others.

5. What do you consider your biggest achievement?
We are lucky to have 16 stockists worldwide since our second collection, and been selected as one of the talent designers by Italian VOGUE is also an major event for us, most importantly, having a stable relationship with our buyers, agents and suppliers are the biggest achievement so far.

#6. What kind of feedback did you get after your participation in London Fashion Week?
We get lots of positive feedback from international press and stylist; they are impressed with the sculptured heels, elaborated structure shoe upper that play with revealing and concealing, and the macron hues of the spring collection.

#7. How do you balance commercial with creativity?
Customer and buyer’s feedback is important to us; we set 40% of the collection to adapt wearer’s need of comfort and aesthetic into our basic shoe structure. 30% of seasonal highlight allow us to experiment with original ideas, and the rest 30% will be the combination of above.

#8. What materials do you use and are there any you want to explore more?
We use all type of leather, ABS plastic, PU forming, rubber and metal to balance the feeling of nature and man-made.This season we used lots of semi transparent heel and injected filler underneath leather upper to create a unique embossed effect.

#9. Who would you like to wear your shoes?
I would like to see Marina Abramovic wearing a pair of black shoebill, the shoe itself is out of the ordinary shape, which reminds me the way she challenged the limit of her body and the possibilities of her mind.

#10. What are your personal thoughts on comfort and support vs style?
We thought comfy is as important as style, and we don’t see the reason why we have to compromise either of them.
We have a fitting procedure that designers must walk in their new styles for days to make sure they are comfortable and supportive when it comes to the final stages of sampling.

#11. What do you hope to have achieved in the industry in  5 years from now?
We hope abcense can grow steadily, develop men shoes and accessory line in the next few seasons, and people we admire would enjoy wearing our design.

Abcense is a footwear brand based in Taipei and created by the designer duo Jhuosan Wang and Yoyo Pan, respectively Product and Fashion Designer. The philosophy behind the brand, is inspired by Oriental culture, the concept of “blank-leaving”, a technique used in Oriental poetry & art. Hosted in Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Italian and British Vogue, Abcense had been part of London Fashion Week SS15 and now we are honored to be able to talk with them.