The story of the 46 year old Belgian shoe designer, Nathalie Verlinden, is that of a young soft-eyed teenage girl with large feet (size 9) obsessing about beautiful shoes. She craves for fashion and beauty and dreams of becoming a fashion designer. Soon she discovers that the world of bling is not hers.
Driven by the urge to create and study sculpture Nathalie Verlinden enlists in the Royal Academy of Art in Antwerp. After a couple of years she starts working as an interior designer. And yet the dream of making shoes continues to linger. Determined she decides to pursue her dream and takes classes in artisan shoe making in Brussels and Antwerp. She leaves for Indonesia where with her bare hands in a primitive workshop she creates the beginning of what will become an avant-garde shoe label with a strong fan base in Belgium, the Netherlands, France , the UK, the US, Switzerland, Denmark and Japan.
After these first experiences Nathalie Verlinden finds her muse in the Marche region in Italy, the traditional home of Italian artisan shoemaking. In a house in the mountains with a distant view of the Adriatic she seeks inspiration. It is here that she designs shoes and bags for women and kids that mirror not only her sense of style but also her beliefs. She is fond of nature and wants to respect the environment by using only natural and eco-friendly materials such as leather, wood, pure cotton and cork.
The description of the chosen materials read like a poem. The leather is ‘vegetable’ tanned in wooden barrels without the use of chemicals. The hides are tanned in a bath of trunk and rind, chestnut and mimosa extracts and subsequently impregnated with animal fats. Before the leather is polished with amber stone it hangs out to dry in a natural way. This process makes the leather in her creations perfectly wearable for people with chrome allergy – the label has been granted the German SG label that guarantees the absence of chemicals.
Having created a sustainable, eco-friendly, and beauty driven fashion label Nathalie Verlinden constantly searches for the ideal shoe, which is a shoe that becomes more beautiful over time. Nonetheless, her timeless creations are the perfect accessory for contemporary, active people who love comfort without having to sacrifice the joy of being stylish.
One of the most wonderful characteristics of Nathalie Verlinden’s shoes is that they become one with their owner. They are not merely products. Nathalie’s’ designs inhibit a soul that like in a fairy tale comes alive once fitted. People that try them on, children and women alike, tend to become hooked.
According to the designer shoes have a similar effect as chocolate. If that is the case one may as well compare Nathalie Verlinden’s shoes with Belgium’s finest. When asked about their favorite pair of shoes aficionados will refer to Nathalie Verlinden as their all time favorite.