A sneak-peek behind the manufacturing process of Taeger, and a conversation with Lead Designer, Rense Hekstra, on sustainability, technology, and his methodology on design.
“We love footwear, and we love the world we live in, but we felt that there was a lack of options in the market for high-end sustainable sneakers,” posits Rense Hekstra, lead designer and product developer for Taeger. From this premise, the entire identity of Taeger was created. Marrying streetwear aesthetics, luxury sensibilities, and sustainable practicality, Taeger seeks to examine what is possible in footwear.
Examining the very basis of what it means to be a footwear brand in the 21st century, Rense approaches design with a forensic level of detail.
“During the creative process there are a thousand choices to be made, which type of shoe, which lines for the upper, which construction, which outsoles, which materials, which colours, which packaging.”
Taeger understands that in this day and age, sustainability should almost be inferred by default. There has been huge talks as of late about the input of the fashion industry on climate change, and what can be done to remedy it. Taking this into account, Taeger constantly liaises with their manufacturers, ensuring they select “the most sustainable option.”
“If we want to make a leather sneaker, we will use the most sustainable leather we can find.”
Achieving this level of sustainability is no small task, but Taeger has refined the manufacturing process utilising innovative technologies. The phrase "Wet white" is used a lot in reference to the shoes; but what does it mean? It is in reference to the color of the hides after tanning; these hides have been tanned in an innovative and environmentally friendly chrome free tanning process using a mix of vegetable and synthetic tanning components. This results in a light colored leather, free of the hazardous elements often found in the more common ‘chrome tanning’ process. With someone as serious about environmentalism as Rense is, ecological fashion is not some fever dream.
Summarising Taeger succinctly is near impossible, but Rense said it best, “at Taeger... we start from the aesthetics and then strive for the lowest environmental cost per use.”