Entrepreneur Tackles A Fashion Problem, LIZ HULL
With An Engineering Solution:
Towering stilettos may be the height of fashion – but coping with the pain and discomfort they cause can be a tall order, as millions of women will testify.
Now, though, one entrepreneur claims she has finally found the formula for high heels that are as comfortable as trainers.
Dolly Singh, a former executive with a US space transport company, called on experts including a rocket scientist, an astronaut and an orthopaedic surgeon to help her create the ultimate comfy heels using hi-tech plastics. She managed to convince the scientists to tackle it as a ‘serious engineering problem’ and their first pair of stilettoes is due to go on sale in a few months’ time.
Unlike traditional stilettoes, which are based on a metal foot plate and rod for a heel, the Thesis Couture shoes are made of high-tech plastics and polymers. Designed to distribute the wearer’s body weight from heel to toe, aerospace-grade foams in the sole reduce the impact of each step on the foot by up to 50 per cent.
But such functional fashion does come at a price – up to £600 a pair, to be precise.
The first shoes, with heels around three inches high, are expected to go on sale in the autumn.
Dolly admits they will not have exactly the same feeling as ‘tennis shoes’, but believes women will find them dramatically more comfortable. She said: ‘It’s really important for comfortable and sexy to work together.’
Dolly Singh formed Thesis Couture after convincing scientists to treat the ‘fluffy’ subject as a ‘serious engineering problem’.
‘The key was to make it an interesting problem in their language,’ she said. ‘Asking them to design a high heel isn’t interesting. But asking them to design a structure that supports a secondary structure, which is dynamic and has a 180-degree range of motion and happens to be a human body? That’s interesting. I had to make them see it not as a fluffy problem, but as a serious engineering problem.’
Her team included British orthopaedic surgeon Andy Goldberg, a virtual reality firm and a ‘fashion technologist’.
The shoe’s structure will be made in Singapore, with its exterior crafted in Italy and Brazil.
‘I've loved high heels ever since I was young, but as I got older I began to love them less. I found myself in a position where I had two choices: I could either downgrade my shoes and have uglier shoes, or I could keep wearing my really pretty shoes and I would end up with ugly, deformed feet.
'It got to a point that this became an important enough problem in my life where I thought don’t complain, do something. Millions of women for hundreds of years have been wearing the same crappy internal architecture for a long time, so it takes an outside force to prioritise and say actually consumers will reward this and will think it’s important if we create it.’
The skeleton of the shoes are due to be manufactured in Singapore and the fashionable outer skin made in Italy and Brazil.
Initially, 1,500 limited edition pairs will be sold in the autumn for £610, with each numbered and signed by a guest fashion designer. A few dozen pairs will also be sent to celebrities and VIPs.
Following the launch, the shoes will be marketed at professional women and pairs will cost between £200 and £600 each.
Her ultimate goal is to license the company’s technology to other brands.
‘Five years from now I want every high heel on the face of the Earth to be made the way we make them,’ Dolly said.
[Courtesy: Daily Mail. Edited for sikhchic.com]
May 5, 2015