I recently wrote an entry about the importance of material design, and how it can inform the innovation and technical aspects of your design. I experienced this fairly recently with a project I completed for the MAGIC FN|Footwear Platform in Las Vegas, NV. I had never worked on a project solely from a material design standpoint before. My assignment was to develop an updated story for the women’s Original Desert Dawn boot for Clark’s. You do not have to do much research to know that Clark’s is known for their comfortable designs, perfect for walking- with focus on fashion and lifestyle. After securing the research and hashing out the details of my story with lots of help from D’wayne, I delved into the material design with Suzette.
Backed with plenty of research, I geared the new line for a 28-year-old travel journalist named Gabrielle Breton. Her concern was not only the walkability of the boot, but also the versatility in terms of fashion and trend as she traveled from country to country. Designed as a testament to her travels, every color and material swatch I selected alluded to special memories and characteristics of specific destinations.
I was able to realize this vision with help from Suzette. It is always exciting to see her in action, but this time was especially fruitful. We spent hours creating piles of material and color swatches, honing in on the story and discussing trend and fashion. The sessions were helpful in unexpected ways too; Suzette shared stories about her personal experiences traveling abroad giving me further insight into what Gabrielle might look for in her shoe. Eventually our hard work led to a beautiful selection of materials and colorways to fit the lifestyle of a young, fashionable, jet setting consumer.
The quality of the materials were chosen to keep the original concept of comfort and walkability behind the Desert Sand boot alive. Gabrielle’s story came to life with the application of premium Sadesa leathers (thanks to the kindness of Paul Pellati). As I began laying out the material boards and working on the renderings, it was amazing to see the night/day transformation of how the boot was perceived. The right materials and application of specific trends rendered the story complete and made the shoe appropriate for a younger consumer.
The FN|Platform was, in short, a whirlwind. Amongst all of the activity, I had the pleasure of presenting the project to Jim Salzano, President of Clarks N.A, who kindly found the time to stop by our booth! His enthusiasm and excitement for the project was as surprising as it was gratifying. We were lucky enough to be invited out to Boston to present the project to the board of Clark’s N.A. We are incredibly thankful and excited for this opportunity!