Every time new Wildling Shoes models enter the store, everyone can hardly wait to see the first product photos. New colors, new shapes and designs, close-ups of the materials – it’s so exciting! These images and the stories they tell are part of the very core of Wildling Shoes. To honor that, we plan the shoots with great care and attention to detail. And the Wilding Shoes photo shoots are so much more than a means to an end, more than a way to produce some great footage when all is said and done. They also offer a terrific opportunity to share ideas – for example, about what it truly means to be part of the Re:generation. More than anything, for Wildling Shoes’ self-perception, it means being part of a fantastic Community that is still much, much bigger than the Wildling Shoes Team.The people who stand in front of the camera to showcase the season’s new Wildling Shoes models do not share the common trait of being professional models (yet!). But what they do all have in common is their connection and allegiance to the issues, concerns, and ambitions of Wildling Shoes, and the fact that they are all part of the extended Wilding Shoes Team: friends, family members, co-workers, and acquaintances, on their own or in the company of their favorite people.
We are part of the Re:generation.
This meant that once again, a whole host of fascinating personalities from the Wildling Shoes Community came together for the shoot of the 2022 spring/summer models – with plenty of thoughts, goals, ideas, and hopes surrounding Re:generation. So without further ado, we let the camera roll not just during the shoot, but also behind the scenes, and peppered the models with curious questions about what being part of the Re:generation means to them – and what they think needs to change, in the big picture as well as on a smaller scale.
The answers are thought-provoking, inspiring, funny, self-critical, and full of hope. The very first videos are already available on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook, with more to follow in the coming weeks. And we’ll also be hearing from some of the models here in the Blogazine. Complete with a compelling look behind the scenes.
Tobi from the Wildling Shoes Roots & Relations Team actually wanted to take part in the shoot together with his mother. Unfortunately, at the last minute, he couldn’t make it, but his mother Roswitha joined us anyway. She was happy to have been asked because she really likes the idea of showing more diversity – including in terms of a model’s age. She is proud that her involvement makes her a part of her son’s work, as well as a part of this movement. For her, Re:generation means: “Making things better for the generation that follows us. For my generation, it’s important that we leave a good footprint for our children and grandchildren.”Moon is friends with Jen from Team Visual Arts. A nonbinary femme trans feminist poet, writer, and transdisciplinary artist, Moon lives a life in Berlin that is as authentic as possible. “I try not to flinch from the darkness and to frame beauty as it lines up to the best of my abilities.” For Moon, more than anything else Re:generation means healing. To do so, we must learn to listen more, to listen to people’s experiences: “We are stronger as individuals when we are strong in community.”
Images: Nora Tabel | Wildling Shoes; Roswitha is wearing the Basic model Nebula, Moon is wearing the red Ogon
Simone and Roni discovered Wildling Shoes because Roni, as a surfer in Indonesia, always preferred to go barefoot and couldn’t imagine squeezing into rigid shoes once he was in Germany (Does this story sound familiar to anyone?). Simone recounts, “A friend suggested Wildling shoes to me, and I was totally sold on the founding story, the values, and of course the shoes that leave room for your feet instead of squeezing them into a mold. So when they advertised for a suitable position a few weeks later, I saw it as a twist of fate.” Now working at Wildling Shoes in Team Finance since September 2020, she is currently on parental leave, and the whole family is modeling for Wildling Shoes. It can happen that fast!
Stella joined the shoot by way of her husband Matthias from the People & Culture Team and took part together with her two children and the utterly adorable family dog Lolli. What connects them to Re:generation: our world and our future, liberty, being together, creating something. Being more close to nature, seeing the good things in life more. What they believe is desperately needed? “More politeness, friendship, love, and less selfishness and jealousy.”
Images: Nora Tabel | Wildling Shoes; Stella, Luis, Noemi and dog Lolli, and Simone with her husband Roni and baby Mia
Miriam from the Market Awareness Team spotted Marie on Instagram because of her candid content and her soothing vibe. What would Marie like to change? The awareness of the things that make up everyday life. For example, by continuing to wear her clothes for as long as she can. “I think the most important part is to use the things you have. Every human needs to understand that we are all part of this one world, and we all need to do tiny little things to make this a better place for ourselves and the generations to come.”
Rosemary also joined the shoot through a connection within the Wildling Shoes Team. When she thinks of Re:generation, it means something that doesn’t just happen on its own, but instead requires action. The major problem that she sees in our world: We don’t pay enough attention to the things that don’t directly affect us; we need to pay more attention to others. Her hope for the future: “For everyone to wake up – especially the large corporations – and take better care of the world.”
Eleonore ended up at the shoot because there was still a call for children to join and her friend Gina from Team People & Culture immediately thought of her and her endearingly charming son Dion. Eleonore’s husband has been a devoted barefoot shoe wearer for quite some time – as has she herself, at least since the shoot. Not only because she loves the feeling of roots and stones under her feet as she walks, but also because she is a firm believer in the Wildling Shoes values. That made her all the more excited about the Wildling shoes that she and Dion wore at the shoot, which of course were theirs to keep afterwards.
Images: Nora Tabel | Wildling Shoes; Rosemary is wearing Kul, Eleonore sports Tanuki Niji, and Dion shows off a pair of Tanuki Kokoro.
Siblings Emma, Max, and Wilhelmine took part in the shoot as a threesome. Their family is friends with Katharina from Team Brand Awareness, who simply asked if the three would like to model for Wildling Shoes. Emma is 10 years old and for her one thing is certain: “Adults need to finally start listening to us and making decisions with us, not always about us. We need to think about and plan for a future together. It’s going to be our world, so our opinion needs to matter, too.”
Her 13-year-old brother Max has a few more very specific thoughts about what needs to change: Fly less, switch to e-cars, bike and walk more, eat less meat, look for organic quality. “We need to invest a lot more in the environment, I think.”
Vivian and her son Emmanuel ended up at the shoot thanks to Pia from the Webshop Team. When we asked her what changes she’d like to see, Vivian replied: “I would like to consume less. Take more time to think about what I'm consuming. Reconnecting. Being more responsible so that future generations can live more freely. We should support each other, work together, find purpose.“ And what does Emmanuel think the world needs to be a better place? He ponders for a moment before quite succinctly getting to the heart of this highly complex issue: “Food?!”
Image: Nora Tabel | Wildling Shoes, Vivian, Emmanuel (in the back) and siblings Max, Emma, and Wilhelmine definitely had plenty of fun together.
Was Emmanuel thinking about scarce resources and social injustice – or was he thinking about the vegan buffet that was set up for the weekend of the shoot to shore up everyone’s strength and spirit? Could be either one. After all, having proper sustenance is important because a photo shoot like this is a pretty big deal for everyone involved. Not just for the models, but particularly for the Visual Arts Team, who prepare the concept of the shoot months in advance, scouting locations, selecting and reaching out to the models, and planning, planning, planning. As you can imagine, that’s extra tricky during a pandemic. So this shoot, too, had to weather its share of setbacks, cancellations, delays, and changes to the plan; the shooting process dragged on for several months, demanding an abundance of flexibility. Nonetheless: challenge accepted – and mastered with flying colors!
Beautiful commotion, high-spirited vibe
From Friday to Sunday there was a lovely flurry of activity at the Reduta Acting and Drama School in Kreuzberg, where the shoot took place. And with that many people on location for the shoot, how could it be otherwise? Photographers and videographers spring to mind right off the bat. And the models – along with a lot of parents, with that many children on set. And then there’s a need for people who handle the lighting and the art direction. The catering and the logistics. The health safety plan, the preparation, and all those minor organizational tasks that have to be done on site. The make-up and the fit of the clothes and shoes. And what about the shoes, anyway? On the day of the shoot, practically everyone there is seeing and holding them for the very first time. As you would expect, the day is every bit as exciting for the models – some of whom are appearing in front of the camera for the first time – as it is for the entire Wildling Shoes Team. It’s also particularly riveting to see how well each Wildling shoe will fit the model who is supposed to wear it (and whether all the models will actually be able to show up – which is not a given, especially in times of a pandemic). If not, it can mean that people who were originally there for completely different reasons are now suddenly standing in front of the camera – because they happen to have the right shoe size. Like Katharina, who was actually responsible for something completely different, or Ekatherina, who was in charge of hair and make-up on set, or Zak, a friend of photographer Nora, who was called in spontaneously and luckily was able to step in.
Image: Nora Tabel | Wildling Shoes; Marie uses chalk to record her thoughts on Re:generation.
And naturally there’s also a fair amount of frolicking and horseplay on a Wildling Shoes shoot – after all, Wildling shoes are all about movement. So turning up the tunes now and then and getting everyone fired up is just part of the fun. At the same time, the Visual Arts Team – which is responsible for photography, videos, and art direction at the shoot – has to put their full concentration on the job. One room was used mostly for shooting videos and taking close-ups. There everything had to be just right. And in the second room there was a kind of stage as well as the chalk, which was the big highlight of the shoot. Here, the models also had the chance to put down in writing what Re:generation is all about. And of course, everyone was encouraged to let their artistic talents flow to their heart’s content. The result was a magnificent body of work. Plus: loads of amazing pictures and videos, inspiring conversations and engaging encounters that fill our hearts and offer a hopeful glimpse into the future.
Keep your eyes peeled: In the coming weeks, you’ll find more videos and thoughts on the topic of Re:generation on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. Without giving too much away, let’s just say: goose bumps are guaranteed.
Cover image: Nora Tabel | Wildling Shoes