‘Makerszoon’ is the brand name of René van den Berg’s private label of sustainable mens’ shoes. Inspired by Earth Overshoot Day* 2013, René made himself a pair of shoes, using nothing else than vegetable tanned leather and some hand tools. As his new shoes turned out to be so comfortable, he decided to start producing them for a wider range of customers. What followed was an intense process of designing, material research and the development and testing of several prototypes which resulted in a new brand of sturdy, unusual shoes.
Specializing in designing and manufacturing tailor-made shoes, René van den Berg carries on a family tradition of shoemaking which dates back to 1902. His father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all cobblers who repaired shoes, while René is the first shoe designer of the family. He started his workshop for tailor-made shoes in 1992.
René combines his creativity and designer skills with extensive knowledge on feet, materials and shoemaking techniques. Among others René collaborates with famous haute couture and fashion designers. His creations have reached superstars like, Lady GaGa, Alicia Keys, Fergie and Beyoncé. René also works as a teacher in traditional shoemaking at the Dutch Shoe Academy.
In 2013 René founded A SHOE CAN BE… in collaboration with Karin Janssen to explore new frontiers in shoemaking. Sculptures like Coral, Spider and Heliotrope are the result of this quest.
* Earth Overshoot Day, is the (claimed) approximate calendar date on which humanity’s resource consumption for the year exceeds Earth’s capacity to regenerate those resources that year. [source: Wikipedia].
Photo 1 – Fergie (Black Eyed Peas), in collaboration with Anouk Wipprecht
Photo 2 – photography: Willem van Walderveen
Photo 3 – photography: Esther van der Wallen
Photo 4 – Detail Heliotrope, A SHOE CAN BE