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How a wild design is created

In Portugal the Wildlings are on the starting blocks for the journey to their spring and summer quarters. Now that our warehouse has moved, we’ve set up an even nicer place for them to dwell. But it's not likely that any Wildling will be able to spend much time there. Shoes as lovely as these are bound to find a new home before long.

Coming up with ideas

This time there are a few new features, both optical and functional.

To show how a real Wildling design is created, we're once again opening the door of our workshop, having a look at a few designs and showing a typical Wildling design process.

“Let's design a pattern ourselves”.

The ideas bubble and fizz. Our creative whizzes have gathered in the fox's den to plan the collection and are examining fabric swatches and colour samples.

Up to now most Wildlings have had a single colour, the wildest design being the striped lining. For this collection the plan is to create something of our own - a design that's fashionable and yet somehow timeless. There's no end to the brainstorming:

“Can it be a bit wilder?”

“Perhaps a leopard print? Zebra pattern?”

“Nooo, perhaps not quite that wild.

"Something Japanese-inspired?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, our shoes are inspired by Japanese jika tabi boots. And our washi comes from Japan.”

“And now we’re going to do a cherry blossom pattern?”

“Yes, why not?”

“No, that won't work...”

“Oh, have you heard of kintsugi? That comes from Japan. It's a technique for filling cracks in pottery, for example with gold varnish, so they're highlighted rather than hidden. To symbolise an appreciation of things that are not perfect but are still well loved.

“Hm, nice idea...”

It could go on forever! And to take the brainstorming a step further, some of the ideas are collected on a mood board. It’s the responsibility of our product designer, Sabine, to sort and test all the ideas for feasibility and Wildling-suitability.

Because when we create something new, it doesn't just need to look right.


The design needs to be more than just “attractive”. For Wildling there are various requirements that have to be fulfilled.

The design has to look good on shoes of all sizes (with sizes from 18 to 46 that’s a real challenge), it should be unisex and fashionable, but not so trendy that it's already past it the following year. Some patterns and designs look good on large surfaces but not when you only see part of them, for example on a shoe. In our case the design also needs to work with a range of colours. And since you look at shoes from various angles, it has to look good from all sides.

Sabine defines and keeps track of all the requirements. Then come the first designs.

Implementation - repeat and design

You’ll be familiar with it from patterned wallpaper, tiles or fabric: A pattern that looked good on the roll or on a single tile in the shop is way too much when it’s on your wall at home or on the dress you're making. When a pattern recurs continuously after a certain distance, it's known as a “repeat”. For the pattern to look good on the end product, the distance between the repetitions must be just right.

One of the first designs...

Normally Sabine creates initial designs on the computer using image-editing software. That way she can easily change the size of the various repeats. But after the first dozen designs landed in the digital waste paper basket, she tried it the old-school way.

She took some paper and a pencil, and the design that got the loudest cheers in the fox’s den flowed from Sabine’s mind through her hands and then into print. You can find the design in every Wildling of the new collection, and on the upper fabric of one very special model.

We can't wait to see how you like it!

Run wild and creatively, Anna, Ran & Team Wildling

Foto by wildundwunderbar


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