On Tuesday, June 28, the opening of the new Schoenenkwartier (Shoe Quarter) take place in the national monument Kropholler complex on the Raadhuisplein in Waalwijk. The ambitious concept of the Schoenenkwartier targets 35,000 visitors per year and rests on three pillars: Museum, Making Labs and Knowledge Center.
In addition to a permanent collection, the Museum presents a changing exhibition twice a year. The three-part opening exhibition is an immediate hit. Under the title Put On Your Red Shoes. Idol-Icon-Influencer, this exhibition explores the relationship between shoes and music. Part 1 focuses on idols such as David Bowie, Elvis Presley, Madonna, Freddie Mercury and Lady Gaga, their clothing and lifestyle. Part 2 zooms in on brands associated with musical movements or musicians that achieved iconic status, such as Dr. Martens, Timberlands and Clarks’ Wallabees. Part 3 illustrates how today’s pop stars are profiling themselves as influencers: how they are skillfully responding to fans’ need to approach their idol with their own brands. The exhibition also shows the connection between major international stars and Dutch designers. Eye-catchers include the red sandals of David Bowie aka Ziggy Stardust, the Chopines by Jan Taminiau for Beyonce, and the white boots of both Agnetha and Björn from ABBA. In the coming years, there will be exhibitions on leather jackets, René van den Berg, the “moon shoe” and innovative materials, the future of the sneaker, and much more.
Maaklabs (Make Labs)
In the Maaklabs on the first floor, designers, shoemakers, leatherworkers, artists and vocational students engage in design and experimentation. In this publicly accessible space, which also houses the café and the museum store, visitors can simply watch and get to work in various workshops. For companies there is the possibility to join educational projects in which students gain experience. Testing, trying, failing and starting over: that is the playing field in the Maaklabs.
The Knowledge Center on the second floor has a library, educational area, archives, an auditorium and a materials cabinet where you can feel, smell and research different leathers and leather alternatives. You will find transparent leather, various types of artificial leather and leather made from, for example, flattened cow stomachs. Furthermore, there is information on sustainability, craft tools, conscious use of materials, life extension, reuse and upcycling.
Photos exhibition: Leonne Cuppen
Photo museum: Pulles & Pulles, Jeroen Pulles