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Re: Sketch-Fu: Men's Footwear

Postby holtag » February 13th, 2018, 1:46 am

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I think the 'ugly' is good for the market segment, it's shaking things up. Unfortunately, it is less about aesthetics and more about 'influencers' and experimentation. But I'd rather have this explosion of trying things out over slow and stale product development. It allows the whole segment to experiment more.

Re: Sketch-Fu: Men's Footwear

Postby yo » February 13th, 2018, 9:27 am

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To play devil’s advocate though, this exploration seems very superficial. Adding a zip tie and a zipper, or pulling some ugly shoe out of the archives, or putting a pigeon on a tongue, just doesn’t seem that interesting from a design standpoint, nor is it really much of an experiment. I understand how it is being used to manufacture hype in the short term and how that can be necessary.

Re: Sketch-Fu: Men's Footwear

Postby rkuchinsky » February 13th, 2018, 10:26 am

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yo wrote:To play devil’s advocate though, this exploration seems very superficial. Adding a zip tie and a zipper, or pulling some ugly shoe out of the archives, or putting a pigeon on a tongue, just doesn’t seem that interesting from a design standpoint, nor is it really much of an experiment. I understand how it is being used to manufacture hype in the short term and how that can be necessary.


Agree. And the tongue in cheek point with my sketch was that all that "originality" isn't that original if it's the same thing everyone is doing. Perhaps the first oversized midsole was original and different, but if everyone is literally using the same off the shelf Vibram unit, how's that challenging design?

Being different isn't different if everyone is being different in the same way. Being different just for the sake of being different isn't design either.

In my eyes, there's also a definite lack of aesthetic and shoemaking considerations in a lot of the product out recently.

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Re: Sketch-Fu: Men's Footwear

Postby junglebrodda » February 13th, 2018, 6:43 pm

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yo wrote:To play devil’s advocate though, this exploration seems very superficial. Adding a zip tie and a zipper, or pulling some ugly shoe out of the archives, or putting a pigeon on a tongue, just doesn’t seem that interesting from a design standpoint, nor is it really much of an experiment. I understand how it is being used to manufacture hype in the short term and how that can be necessary.


i get what you mean, though i do i think brands themselves would admit that some of those things, while maybe easy to conflate as or with design, they are really just signifiers & ways to 'manufacture hype,' and that does take making some savvy choices...which id kinda design, if maybe not the most ambitious sort?

rkuchinsky wrote:Agree. And the tongue in cheek point with my sketch was that all that "originality" isn't that original if it's the same thing everyone is doing. Perhaps the first oversized midsole was original and different, but if everyone is literally using the same off the shelf Vibram unit, how's that challenging design?

Being different isn't different if everyone is being different in the same way. Being different just for the sake of being different isn't design either.

In my eyes, there's also a definite lack of aesthetic and shoemaking considerations in a lot of the product out recently.

R


the question is do people really want to be different? every brand's goal isn't to 'challenge design' tho and it has long been true that many (footwear) brands almost literally pursue the 'being different just to be different' and 'different but the same' (not to be confused with the 'same but different') strategies...what seems to be different is that the wave(s) comes (and goes) so fast now that it definitely feels like everyone is on, or trying to catch, the same wave at the same time...

in what way(s) do you feel the aesthetic & shoemaking consideration is lacking? might it be that shoemaking is just less reliant on traditional methods?
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Re: Sketch-Fu: Men's Footwear

Postby yo » February 13th, 2018, 11:25 pm

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I remember Mark Parker at Nike used to say to us “don’t bring me new and different, bring me new and better”... I would like to see more emphasis on better.

Re: Sketch-Fu: Men's Footwear

Postby junglebrodda » February 14th, 2018, 7:14 pm

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being concise has never been a strength for me but here's my little devil's advocacy diatribe/rant/soliloquy?

it's not mutually exclusive tho...'fashion' & its peripheral influencers seem to be more of a driver than performance/sport & athletes right now, so maybe things are indeed 'better' but emphasizing that isn't resonating as much as attaching the signifiers of cool/fashion or a 'creative' designer personality or musical artist? even nike/jordan have played into this many times with trotting out tinker out for things presumably because they know it will get a certain audiences attention, though maybe obviously with more bonafides/merit...i feel like most designers approach product from a "how can i improve this" methodology, but that has always appealed to a smaller set of consumers...

i think in some ways the problems newer brands like sketchers & under armour have are like a proxy for the athletic sneaker biz at large, ua doesn't have the heritage of the more established brands so they have to try leveraging other things...kinda like all brands are having to compete with nostalgia, having to sell you on the latest sneaker with maybe not only previous season's/year's model in the same store but also the one from a decade or 3 ago there too! and those older models are maybe just as sufficient for their use & has the added benefit of nostalgia or just being familiar; that brands have made the back catalog's designs such a staple (word to jeff, pun?) part of their business it kinda makes sense that brands have to do more to insert new product into the cultural discourse than be 'new & better' and placed on an amazing athlete...

given that there seems to be an oversized emphasis on delivering product as close/fast to market as possible, is delivering 'new & better' product at the speed of trend(s) realistic? even if it were, would it be motivating for many consumers, who mostly aren't pushing to those limits of the product(if using it as it was intended at all), to have incrementally 'better' product, faster? what does a term as nebulous & potentially subjective as 'better' even mean? companies like nike may have some defined metric by which better is determined seasonally or generationally beyond pricepoint (what exactly makes a $175 shoe 'better' than one thats $125 or $60?), materials, and/or labor/time put it in, but nike's metric for 'better' prolly isn't even the same as nike sportswear's, and likely less similar to puma's or a brand like vans. maybe for some brands just being able to charge more, is 'better?' maybe what qualifies as 'better' is that some one high enough on the importance ladder thinks it looks 'better?' or that a collab w/designer of the moment gets more attention?

most of those are questions i was starting to ask all the time (#maybethatswhyiamunemployednow), it was frustrating sometimes to always be trying to judge how much to pay attention to all the differing and changing opinions, or even who the target consumer was...i was constantly second (and 3rd, 4th, & 5th) guessing everything

something that stands out to me was once at my last job, i had to attend a random presentation by one of those trend services, where a new manager, that had recently come from a more executive role, was lamenting how our brand needed to be better about being on trend and asked the presenter why they were pitching us color palettes & trends that some brands were using a season or more ago and the presenter didn't hesitate to say "those brands tend to be more aggressive and open to more risk so they usually are willing to be more different & forward looking, that's not where we see your brand" it highlighted how misaligned the aims of the brand were & with their position at the time...

yearly like clockwork some exec would triumphantly stroll in to interrupt a team meeting, after our preliminary retailers meetings, and say something like "this is the best received our product has ever been, we're really excited about how much better the product is!" without feedback about what was actually better to the point it became a sort of an expected platitude, only to have somber meetings weeks later after orders were in or after sell through numbers were known, about 'challenging design' to "do better" or with no real definition to what better meant, that similarly felt empty...everything was externally defined, what retailers thought, what did or did not sell, which is maybe is the business but it was hard to really gauge what anyone was actually proud of...

...all that to say i think there is a lot going on now that brands have to pay attention to and there is always the distinction to be made about how product is conceived, developed, & made and how it is marketed...and with that i kinda think is becoming much harder, and indeed probably not optimal, for brands to speak to consumers in the ways that perhaps we're used to?
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Re: Sketch-Fu: Men's Footwear

Postby yo » February 17th, 2018, 8:49 pm

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I disagree. There have been plenty of new brands like Allbirds and Native who are doing fresh takes on things without resorting to the hype machine. I think it is just easier to acquire credibility by buying a collab with an influencer doing some minor mods on an existing silhouette.... but we are digressing. Beck to some sketch fu.

I've been in Portland this week, so it got me thinking about some boots to weather the rain in.



Re: Sketch-Fu: Men's Footwear

Postby AndyMc » February 19th, 2018, 9:14 pm

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My boots are worn out and have holes in them, which inspired this leather chukka with a free run style rubber sole

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Re: Sketch-Fu: Men's Footwear

Postby rkuchinsky » February 21st, 2018, 12:46 pm

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Pretty wet around here lately...

Some rubber boots to mix it up with alternative opening features.

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Re: Sketch-Fu: Men's Footwear

Postby yo » February 21st, 2018, 1:15 pm

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I always wanted to design a 100% molded footwear product!

Re: Sketch-Fu: Men's Footwear

Postby junglebrodda » February 22nd, 2018, 11:43 pm

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yo wrote:I disagree. There have been plenty of new brands like Allbirds and Native who are doing fresh takes on things without resorting to the hype machine. I think it is just easier to acquire credibility by buying a collab with an influencer doing some minor mods on an existing silhouette....


taking nothing away from those those brands, but they aren't in the performance conversation at all...even the lifestyle product of performance brands are aimed at a different consumer; using the hype machine is just a tactic that is mostly unrelated to/not exclusive of doing fresh things.
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Re: Sketch-Fu: Men's Footwear

Postby jacob fleisher » February 23rd, 2018, 1:00 am


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@rkuchinsky:

nice sketch for the wets - same going on here in the PNW lately (no surprise)
I don't know much about footwear design: what do the dashed lines represent?
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Re: Sketch-Fu: Men's Footwear

Postby rkuchinsky » February 23rd, 2018, 12:26 pm

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jacob fleisher wrote:@rkuchinsky:

nice sketch for the wets - same going on here in the PNW lately (no surprise)
I don't know much about footwear design: what do the dashed lines represent?


Dashes were more for visual interest on the sketch, really. Something like indication of water level, perhaps. This was just a doodle, so not that much thought into it, to be honest ;)

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Re: Sketch-Fu: Men's Footwear

Postby Jboogie941 » February 23rd, 2018, 1:14 pm


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On the subject of boots I really like what Dachstein did with the Superlegra model.
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Re: Sketch-Fu: Men's Footwear

Postby jacob fleisher » February 24th, 2018, 3:12 pm


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Thanks, R!
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