Former Converse design director, Frog Design Creative Director & current Chief Design Officer at DEI Holdings, Michael DiTullo certainly has had his fingers in many pies. Michael’s been a huge influence for myself over the years, and is responsible for some of the nicest sneaks to have come out of the Nike/Converse camp. A super creative designer, we managed to catch up with him to see what he’s up to, how he got started, and what he’s working on with Alon Karpman over at Brooklyn Workshop. Check out the in-depth interview below.
[highlight] CK – Can you tell us a little about yourself? [/highlight]
MD – I grew up in upstate New York, about two hours North of New York City in the 80’s and 90’s. It was an interesting place to be. Kind of country, but I could feel the gravitational pull of this amazing place close by and I knew the world had a lot to offer. As a kid growing up in that time period there was a tremendous explosion in youth culture, from hip hop to grunge, basketball to skateboarding, graffiti to garage bands. I think growing up in a pretty x-urban environment, I became accustomed to being a student of all of these cultural swells and waves. I’ve spent a lot of my career observing what is going on out there and trying to play with it, push and pull it, and hopefully add something positive back to it.
[highlight] CK – How did you first get into footwear design? [/highlight]
[highlight] CK – Whats the next step for Brooklyn Workshop? [/highlight]
AK – The Skatecycle was the the product that launched the brand and it really brought a lot of attention to us. Our company tagline is “Forged from Imagination,” and I believe that we are able to push the boundaries of the markets with our products. I hope people continue to enjoy what we create. I don’t do market research when designing and producing a product, and I don’t believe you can please everyone. So we just work on ideas that we crave to see in reality. I’ve been riding my longboard for about 7 years now and use it to get to work and for fun. The shoe idea came from my own desire to have something I can wear on my commutes that also has a classic look you can wear anytime. I believe we will see this segment of the skate market grow exponentially, as people start to realize how riding a longboard differs form riding a Short board. I don’t think many people think of a longboard when you say “Skateboard.” The shoe will evolve over time and we hope to introduce new lines that serve even smaller niches like downhill speed boarding. The longboard itself should be introduced sometime this year.
A big thanks to Michael & Alon for the interview, don’t forget to check out the Brooklyn Workshop website for more info, and you can pick up a pair of the shoes on Gilt.com at the end of July, they’ll also be available at boutiques like Unknown in Miami.
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