Zuzana Serbak is a talented young designer whose work excites and surprises. She is known for her bold use of color, innovative forms and use of high tech materials. Here, we get up close and personal with Serbak to learn more about her creative process. See Serbak’s stand-out work in person in Killer Heels: The Art of The High-Heeled Shoe on view through May 15, 2016 at the Currier Museum of Art.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
I studied textiles in high school (High School of Applied Arts, Bratislava, Slovakia) and when applying for University (AAAD, Prague, Czech Republic), I was interested in trying Design Studies. I loved designing bags, clothing, small textile furniture, home accessories—anything within the realm of textiles. Then, at the University I created works made of leather and I made shoes. That shaped my decision. During my University years I came to the point where I decided that I would love to be a shoe designer.
Where does inspiration for your studio practice come from?
My inspiration comes from everything, from everyday life situations, architecture, clothing history, visual moments. I also like to be led by the material itself—to explore how a particular leather or other material works and shapes. How does it behave when cut, stitched or stretched? It’s also interesting and inspiring to talk with end customers about shoes.
How does technology influence your work?
Since my final years studying at university, I have been interested in new materials and technologies not commonly used for shoes. After showing my graduation project called Composites, which employed high-tech materials such as carbon fiber for heels and silicone topped directly onto a leather surface, I felt challenged to continue this way and move from experimental handmade prototypes to high-tech production of wearable pieces.
I had so many positive reactions and feedback on my Composites collection, press coverage and interest mostly from magazines, stylists and end customers. But I did not find producers interested in developing and producing my collection.
Shortly after school, I started to work as a shoe designer in Italy for a high-end company. My approach to design, construction of shoes, technology and materials developed a lot there. Thanks to new technologies we can introduce a beautiful, precise and pure products with excellent properties.
Who would you enjoy collaborating with on future projects and how do you see your work evolving?
I don’t have particular artists in mind that I want to collaborate with, but the fact is that I love to collaborate with fashion designers and each of my past collaborations taught me something important. What I enjoy now are collaborations with different shoe manufacturers or producers and working on small projects and limited editions.
Do you think fashion art belongs in art museums? If so, why or why not?
Yes, I think fashion art is worth displaying in museums as it is part of our culture, our thinking and can also tell a message, inspire, enchant.
What is your favorite part of being in the traveling exhibition of Killer Heels?
The fact that my shoes had been selected for the Killer Heels exhibition from among so many excellent designs gives me the feeling that my work is good and what I’m doing is on the right path. Because the exhibition is traveling, it speaks to a big audience and that’s nice.
To learn more about Zuzana Serbak and follow her upcoming projects follow her on the web here.