Dempsey Pauwels

A Conversation on the 2022 Emerging Designer of the Year | Dempsey Pauwels

May 4, 2023

Global Footwear Awards (GFA) Category winner Dempsey Pauwels discusses his Vision for the  VOLT Collection.


Dempsey Pauwels is a multi-talented professional with a passion for both design and Law & Economics. Born in 1998 in Ghent, Pauwels began his journey by studying Business Management. In the meantime, during his final year, he decided to pursue his passion for shoes and enrolled in a four-year course at the Academy of Fine Arts in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium for footwear design.

Pauwels excelled in their studies and graduated as a skilled shoe designer. In parallel, he continued his education by pursuing a master’s degree in Law. The two fields complemented each other, with Pauwels specializing in Fashion Law to further their expertise in the fashion industry.

In their penultimate year of Law school, Pauwels successfully completed his shoe design degree. He went on to further refine their techniques and deepen their knowledge of shoe design by studying for an additional two specialization years at the academy. During this time, he also decided to start his own footwear brand for men, together with Marlou and Evelien, called L’EDGE.

After completing his Law degree, Pauwels fully committed himself to his shoe design brand and took on the role of both designer and managing partner. The combination of his skills in design and law made him an asset to the brand, as he is able to navigate the legal and economical complexities of the fashion industry while creating unique and high-quality shoe designs.

Dempsey Pauwels is an accomplished shoe designer and legal expert. The brand L’EDGE has gained a reputation for its innovative and stylish designs, and Pauwels has become a well-respected figure in the fashion industry. This is thanks to the credibility built up by winning design competitions and famous people wearing the shoes. With his combined knowledge of design and law, he continues to make significant contributions to the world of fashion and beyond.

How did you come up with the vision for the VOLT Collection? How did cable management and nightclub interiors come together as sources of inspiration?

As a defence against covid isolation, I chose nightclub interiors as my colour inspiration. Neon lights and vibrant colours take centre stage. This in combination with cable management which represent the order source of inspiration


Is there a philosophy, a vision, or a special process that influences how you approach design? Would you say that you apply it to your life as well?

I always choose as a source of inspiration a method that ensures efficiency and order. They give me peace of mind and originate in my basic law studies.


What kind of feedback have you received and how do you deal with it?

The feedback was constructive and forward-looking. I will continue to follow my own path and take the feedback with me.


What did you find most challenging while working on the collection and what did you enjoy the most?

The hardest part of the collection was measuring the lines in the correct way, drawing them out and translating them from 2d to 3d and then assembling the shoe so that all the lines came out perfectly. The most fun part of making the collection is playing with colour and seeing all the colours come together into a whole.


Which designers do you admire the most? Do you take inspiration from their work when diving into a new project?

I admire safa sahin as a designer, what he is doing with balmain’s sneakers and his designs are really in the future.


What does winning the GFA Award mean to you in terms of validation and recognition of your work in the footwear design industry?

It indicates that we are walking the right path and will continue to work hard in this way.


Are you currently working on something new that you can tell us about?

All my designs currently go directly to my men’s shoe brand L’EDGE. I am currently building this brand further.


How do you want people to feel when wearing your designs?

I want to convey the feeling of exclusivity and statement. There is still so much possible in the niche of men’s shoes. I want to make them feel like they are wearing something that has not yet been seen.


Do you find sustainable design important when developing your pieces?

I try to take it into account as much as possible.


How do you see your work evolving in the future, and what new sources of inspiration do you hope to explore?

I hope that my work evokes through the shoe brand L’EDGE. that we can scale this brand and make it better known to the public in order to send more designs into the market. New sources of inspiration will always link with subjects that I find aesthetically pleasing and provide peace of mind and efficiency.


What advice would you offer to aspiring designers who dream of creating meaningful designs such as yours?

Be guided by your vision and not by what is going on at the moment. work towards where you want to get to and include everyone in your thoughts. sail the ship yourself.