Shoes That Take the Art of Minimalism to a Different Level

Blossoming from a background of over thirty years’ worth of generational experience in the shoe-manufacture business, THEY New York is the brainchild of three Manhattan-based friends who have set out to refine the art of shoemaking. This luxury unisex footwear company has launched their first collection of sneakers, elegantly integrating their shared passion for minimalist design into their work, offsetting monochrome bases with subtle touches of black, white, ivory and blush. Each piece is produced with impeccably high-quality craftsmanship, and with a responsible connoisseur’s attention to material and construction.

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We caught up with Angela Lin, one of the company’s founders: “thanks to the experience of our grandparents, we are familiar with the process and details involved in making a comfortable and beautiful shoe. Considering the amount of detail and attention we spend on each pair, we believe we have taken it one step further – not just treating them as shoes, but as works of art”.

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The shoes are a statement in themselves. Versatile in their simplicity, their restrained geometric patterns and minimal design are fluidly integrated into the silhouette of the shoe, using an unusual and expert technique of hand-alignment to assemble the upper and the rubber sole.

Combining the aesthetics of modern Japanese graphic design and architecture with that of the German Bauhaus movement, the result is “something austerely simple, yet strikingly eye-catching at the same time”. Understatedly stylish, yet practical, we spoke with Angela to find out more about the inspiration and design behind THEY’s upcoming footwear collection.

The Plus: What did you have in mind when putting together this collection?
Angela Lin:
This is our debut season, and we have created a line that we believe will be our signature collection. This core collection represents the kind of aesthetic and style that we are in line with, and is the perfect introduction we want to give to our audience and followers to our brand.

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TP: What do you have in mind when you design a new pair of shoes?
AL:
When we started THEY, we set out to create shoes that would not only fit the minimal aesthetic that we liked, but that were made with quality materials and detailed craftsmanship. We want our products to not only look stylish but also be very comfortable to wear. The colour, the material and designs of our current collection were all designed to set the tone of our brand. Our goal is that when our customers style our sneakers with their outfit, the design doesn’t steal away attention but instead adds an elegant and stylish touch that completes each look.

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TP: To what do you think minimalist style owes its enduring appeal?
AL:
The art of stripping away anything non-essential and enjoying the simplicity that remains will always gain new audiences in those who cherish this aesthetic. The rise of Instagram photographers who focuses on creating beautiful minimalistic photography has definitely broadened this style’s audience.

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TP: Can you walk us a bit through the process behind making a pair of shoes?
AL:
At first glance our shoes may look rather simple, but they are deceivingly difficult to construct.
In order to create a geometric shape that is seamlessly embedded within the shoe’s silhouette, we developed a method of hand-aligning the shoe’s leather’s upper with a custom made bi-colour rubber sole to ensure the fluidity of the design. This process is carried out by hand by our shoe craftsman, and is painstakingly time-consuming. The result, however, is worth the effort.

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TP: What are your main influences?
AL:
Our design is mainly influenced by the German Bauhaus movement, creating something austerely simple yet strikingly eye-catching at the same time. It is practical and beautiful, and we wanted to capture that balance. We are also inspired by Japanese architecture. The sleek and modern lines and construction as well as practicality are all values we find important in creating our products.

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TP: Are you working on any upcoming projects?
AL:
We are currently preparing for our F/W collection and are experimenting with different colourway combinations. We are also trying out different materials, and are developing more sophisticated methods to create a seamless product that is both practical and beautiful.

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