Post 4: Opposite Upcycle Aesthetic – Sophie Berry

The opposite of my upcycling project would be maximalism because it is an aesthetic of excess. Since I am doing minimalism for my upcycling design project, if we were hypothetically to think of a design opposite to my upcycled shoe project that would be of a decadent superfluous design. Perhaps with many colors and patterns to cover the design. It might add features to the shoe that are only for looks. Perhaps like a charm that dangles down the side or laces that are solely decorative with flashy colors.

I think if I was to redesign the shoe through the lens of maximalism the form of the shoe would change as well. Instead of a close to ground design where the wearer can feel the ground using the muscles in their foot, a maximal design would take the approach of beauty and extravagance. This could even mean to the point of little to no mobility in the shoe because that would not be the point of wearing the shoe. They would become more like an ornament to be admired and looked at instead of functional.

If I had to change my design to the opposite aesthetic of minimalism using the same materials and functions that I already have I would be forced to use patterns to make it extravagant because I settled on a mostly monochromatic color scheme. To fit my design into maximalism I would design the shoe to be higher off the gound either by adding a heel or raise the whole shoe up so it was more like a platform shoe. If I were switching my design aesthetic I also might try and embroider the fabric top of the shoe with images like stars or a moon because the fabric is black. This would draw the attention around the shoe so the whole piece could be admired. Additionally if I was feeling very bold and had the time to make the design more maximalism like I could add a color changing ombre effect. As the stars and moon swirled around the shoe it would shift subtly in gradients. It also would be interesting to try and cover part of the top of the shoe for a place to attach more ornamentation. 

These are a few sketches that I made that could demonstrate how my design might have differed in form and look if I had decided to chose maximalism as my design aesthetic.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________Post 4 Prompt: What is the opposite of your Upcycle project aesthetic? Sketch and describe what this would look like. How might you enact this with the overall function and materials that you already have, or have planned?

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Jace Aschbrenner
    February 18, 2024 1:22 pm

    Hi Sophie! It’s really cool that you’re using your project to design a shoe! I’ve been in the running world for a while, and the number of companies that use the maximalist aesthetic is numbing. From neon colors to huge midsoles, nothing is minimalist about modern trending running shoes. I’ve also seen Vans shoes that actually use the starry night pattern, similar to what you discussed! My one question would be – how do you think minimalism and maximalism apply to function, rather than form? Take Hoka shoes versus Xero shoes for example.

    • Hmmm, that is an interesting question. Starting with minimalism I think perhaps a minimalistic approach to function would be something along that lines of letting the foot function the way it would if we didn’t wear shoes at all (which in itself might be the most minimal “shoe” of all or on the extreme end at least something that stuck to the bottom of the foot to give it a bit more protection from sharper objects).

      I think the most minimalistic shoe I have actually seen on the market are chain mail shoes!

      I have linked the website where it seems you can actually buy them it here:
      They are kind of oddly intriguing and I wonder what they are like and how long they last?

      As for a maximalism approach to function for a shoe I imagine might be something that one could put on but impossible to walk in. I don’t mean high heels but something so ostentatious that the wearer could only sit and wear them. Possibly because they are so delicate, ornate, or nonfunctional that they would not be used for walking.

      Thanks for the question and I hope you get a chance to look at the chain mail shoes!


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