Catherine Willems combines her work as designer, lecturer and researcher. She teaches Footwear Design at the Fashion Department of the School of Arts Gent, KASK, in Belgium. With an educational background in Comparative Cultural Sciences at Ghent University, Belgium, and Footwear Design at Ars Sutoria in Milan, Italy, Willems graduated with a PhD in the Arts, in which she combined biomechanics, anthropology and design sciences.
Willems explores the relation between materials, skills and design methods in various communities, questioning the conventional thinking on design, production and creativity. Inspired by the convergence of traditional wisdom and modern technology, Willems has now embarked on a follow up study, Future Footwear 2.0, which aims to bring sustainable production and individual needs closer together through 3D printing. In early 2017, she founded the Future Footwear Foundation to scale up global activities and sustain the convergence beyond term-limited research. The foundation stands for creating footwear that is sustainable for both body and environment, while fostering collaborations between artisans, students, and synergistic units in academia and private sectors around the world.