Ahead of the release of the Converse Chuck 70 De Luxe Squared, UrlfreezeShops sits down for an in-depth discussion with the luminary, London-based designer Feben.

It’s easy to get lost in the physical presence of Feben’s work. There’s an enthralling sense of tangibility and depth to the garments created by the London-based designer, where texture, shape and details are used to create something surreal and immersive. “My zodiac sign is cancer, so I feel a lot. It's important that you feel things when you look at my work, whether it be by touch or eyes — stay curious”, said Feben, when discussing texture and physicality with her work. It’s this unique creative approach that’s helped to ignite Feben’s meteoric rise in the fashion world since graduating from Central Saint Martins, rightfully leading her to work alongside a plethora of A-list celebrities; both Erykah Badu and Beyoncé, to name just a few, are fans of Feben’s work.

But beyond the enveloping presence of Feben’s garments are deeper, more abstract messages, where topics like identity and social change are woven throughout her work. The milieu of Feben’s younger years has served as a springboard for her creative work, where she often looks to reclaim feelings of displacement through her own multinational upbringing; Feben was born in Korea to Ethiopian parents and grew up in Sweden, before eventually moving to Sydney and then finally settling in London.

Naturally, this creative approach underpinned Feben’s campaign with Converse, where the designer looked to the work of Dorian Corey and her exploration of class systems in Paris is Burning. “Corey’s ethos had a big influence on how I questioned the state of the industry — it was something I could really relate to. Questioning the narrative and who’s in power is the way forward for me. I actually made a look inspired by Dorian Corey whilst on my MA that was shot by Liz Johnson Artur. I thought it would be fun to reference this again, but with myself as the subject navigating the industry”. When speaking about the sneaker itself, Feben recognised further connective fibres to her creative concept — “I think the shoe fit the concept of the shoot because of the square toe, it gave almost a surreal feeling of an office shoe”.

“It takes a village to create something beautiful. It also gives you an opportunity to learn new things through sharing your vision with others”

Another pillar of Feben is the community spirit that reverberates throughout her work, with projects often representing a harmonic unity of different people she admires and respects. When asked about why community is so important to her, Feben responded “It takes a village to create something beautiful. It also gives you an opportunity to learn new things through sharing your vision with others”. Projects for Feben become more of a celebration of artistry, craft and creativity in its many different forms; take her ongoing work with local artisans in Accra or Ghana, for instance, where their beautiful, intricate, upcycled beading adorns materials like PVC or digital printed satin. Or take her latest work with Converse, where the project represented “a new suit for a new era, painted on by Bea Sweet and shot by friend and collaborator Joyce Ng”. On forming these strong relationships and building her community, it’s often an organic process for Feben: “I met most of my friends on the dancefloor and it’s beautiful to see how we’ve grown into working together as long-standing collaborators”.