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Susan Ryder Design

Making Paper Magic

Susan Ryder is the artistic talent behind Susan Ryder Design. Sue’s gallery works and museum pieces seamlessly transform paper into exquisite, sublime creations unique to her vision. Her artistic signature is in combining the beauty of cut and layered paper, engineered to engage us psychologically through multi-dimensional art that brings common scenes to life. Trained as an industrial designer, a passion for form and structure guides her, offset by an ornate whimsy that drives the visual depth of her work. To create her designs, Sue manipulates high-quality paper by folding, gluing, cutting, and stitching them together, one sheet at a time, to create elegant and structurally exceptional art that defies fragility, demonstrating architectural quality integrity. When looking at her work, it is not at first glance or even a third that the depth and dimension of each minute detail can be identified. Indeed, it beckons a deeper visual dive with its mesmerizing intricacies.

With a passion for industrial design informing her work, Sue’s career also includes extensive shoe design and construction consulting, from athleticwear to high fashion. Her journey in the footwear space began at Nike. Nike was the industry’s first to apply industrial design to performance athletic footwear. Importantly, her work has helped drive Scarlett Chase’s exacting focus on a ‘sneaker inside’ construction that is made for movement.

What do transformational, cut paper fine art and orthotic quality, high fashion footwear have in common? The industrial design process, which provides a specific methodology designed to deliver the best product construction including research, problem definition, conceptualization, prototyping, testing, and evaluation. When it comes to footwear, Sue’s design expertise has assisted Scarlett Chase in creating shoes that are not only beautifully crafted but intelligently designed in form and function applying this very process.

“Every detail – how the pieces fit together, how smooth the edges are, the beautiful lines across the foot of a shoe, all without compromising function. This is what makes the whole and what makes this type of exquisite footwear such an art.” notes Sue. Her analogous process when creating pieces of art, “the details of the cut and folding are very much the same as the consumer products development process.” When one looks at the 3D dimensionality and robust construction of each layer, each angle of a finished piece, the detail is incredible. The layers and intricacies of each tiny section of a Sue Ryder Design paper art piece, and similarly of each shoe design she has labored over, demonstrate exceptional attention to structure and construction, to beauty and grace.

“We’ve created an innovative solution to an age-old problem…Scarlett Chase has found the balance of comfort, style, biomechanically correct design, materials, beauty, elegance, and sculpture on your foot that actually feels good.”

When asked about her artistic process, Sue explains “I start with a feeling and ask the question, how do I want it to feel when you look at it? From there I slowly pull together little details and create. Every seemingly little detail makes the whole... I love things that are intricate, that take a long time to do, just the more detailed the better. Most of my art comes from my life, the things I love, books I’ve read, gifts I’ve been given, my backyard, etc. Also, costume design, which is so innovative in terms of the materials, texture, and exquisite fabrics”. This is the sole behind Susan Ryder Design.

About the Scarlett Chase Design Ideal

Having worked at Nike, Aetrex, and many other brands, Sue Ryder was engaged by Scarlett Chase to assist in the implementation of the Founder’s design direction, aiding in the technical structure, drawings, and aspects of the footwear line’s materials and patterns. Collaborating with the Scarlett Chase team, including work with Scarlett Chase’s biomechanics advisor and other orthotic, orthopedic, and performance design specialists connected to Scarlett Chase, and applying these principles to luxury fashion was a new challenge and not the norm. Sue notes, “Fashion had been the same old for so long, and now, spurred on by consumer demand and material innovation, biomechanics and performance athletics principals had begun moving towards fashion, which has always been my passion. However, not until Scarlett Chase have I had the opportunity to assist in creating the perfect union between biomechanics and performance, high fashion and luxury materials to bring women such a needed invention.” 

Having a very comfortable high-heel pump that supports the natural alignment of the foot is a very difficult thing to do. Susan has done all kinds of footwear but in her opinion, working with Scarlett Chase on the creation of the “perfect pump” has been the most difficult. “It’s a challenge that Scarlett Chase has willingly taken on and no other luxury shoe brand is doing that. These shoes are made for women and with women’s needs at the forefront….With these shoes, women don’t have to think about how much torture they can stand and what a relief that is.” 

View Susan's collections and latest installations.

What's Your Sole Story?

Scarlett Chase is 100% women owned and operated. As such, we are dedicated to elevating the voices of women around the world and the causes they believe in. Tell us your best heel story and enter to win a free pair of Scarlett Chase shoes.