Pensole x Future of Footwear: Jonning Chng
We gave you a look at some of the finalists for Pensole X Future of Footwear, now we give you an exclusive look at the winners announced at Magic's FN PLatform in Las Vegas. Broke up into five different categories (athletic, dress, casual, skate, and kids) Conceptkicks got the chance to talk to the designers about the experiance and whats next.
For this segment we'll focus on the winner of the casual category, Jonning Chng. Coming all the way from Singapore, Jonning worked his way to Portland and then Vegas to bring back the win. Jonning exudes a very modern style and it really poured through with his contemporary twist on the classic Adidas ZX series in collaboration with Woody from Sneaker Freaker. Be sure to check out his winning project from Pensole x Future of Footwear's casual category below!
CK: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I'm just a regular guy from Singapore that happens to be passionate about design and shoes.
CK: Coming all the way from Singapore, how did you first find out about the Pensole x Future of Footwear program?
Well, I've been lurking around Mesh01.com for awhile now, and that is where I found out about the Future of Footwear program. Having said that, I wanna give a shout out to the team behind Mesh01, without them international kids like me wouldn't have a chance to be part of such an amazing experience - and I truly appreciate that.
CK: What were some of the things you were looking to get out of the class?
Essentially I want to master the craft of footwear design by immersing myself among like minded people, learning from everyone else around me. The level of creative energy we have in the class was just amazing. Also most importantly making new friends - everyone in the Future of Footwear class now has a friend in Singapore.
CK: Being surrounded by a class of so many talented designers along with D'wayne and the constant flow of industry talent, what is one thing you feel you were able to give back to the class?
When I design, I like to challenge the norm - I will question why and think about how things could be done differently to solve any identified problems. I'm a 'Form-follows-Function' kinda guy, so aesthetics tend to be secondary in my creative process. So I guess if theres a problem to be solved, I could offer a different perspective and hopefully a solution as well.
CK: Anybody who has been to Pensole or have been in the industry long enough know it isn't about the shoes. What motivates you to be a footwear designer?
I just want to make things better, for a better tomorrow. Right now, I'm choosing footwear design as my medium. Being a designer, and someone that love shoes, I figured if I can marry these 2 things I'm passionate about and make a career out of it, that will be best. When you like what you do, you never feel like it is work.
CK: How did it feel to have your design in your hands?
Well, I won't deny that it is an awesome feeling. Even though I have had samples made before, this time around it felt different. My past projects just involved application of colors and materials, whereas this time every part of the shoe was designed by me - every line and detail on the shoe were translated from my sketches that I drew on paper. This sample feels heavy in my hands, it is the weight of 4 weeks of non-stop hard work.
CK: Can you walk us through the thought behind your concept and shed some light on the journey it took to make it to Vegas?
I'm in the Lifestyle category and I'm designing a spring/summer lifestyle shoe for Sneaker Freaker. The design is to be inspired by the adidas ZX running range. One of the first things I did was get in touch with Woody, the founder of Sneaker Freaker. His all time favourite ZX model was the ZX8000 that was a 90s classic. The fact that Woody liked everything about the original design was quite a challenge for me - I didn't want to be seen as the one to spoil such a classic design. So I decided that I want to retain the classic running shoe aesthetics, while exploring into using high performance and 'futuristic' materials and finishings.
I drew aesthetic hints inspired from iconic architectural structures in Melbourne, Australia (where Sneaker Freaker is based at). The design tells a story of high breathability with mesh webbing on the vamp and quarter panels - suitable for those warm summer days. Overlaying the mesh is Bone White 3M reflective leather. The reflective treatment on the upper gives the shoe a 'surprising' glow when light shines on them - transforming a classic looking shoe into a head turner. Underlaying the quarter mesh is a midfoot lockdown system that is inspired by the Webb Bridge structure. The glossy white TPU heel counter is a throw back to the original design and seeks design styling from the Plymouth Roadrunner 1972 - Woody's favourite car. The toe cap and heel panel flows continuously overlaying the midsole, revealing the centre die-cut detail. The die-cut midsole reduces material used and allows you to see-thru from the sides, highlighting the essence of airflow and light weightness. 'Icy' translucent treatment on the outsole gives the shoe a 'cool' vibe. Finally subtle hits of grenadine red accents on the shoe pays tribute to the Sneaker Freaker brand. I call this shoe CHEECH, the name of Woody's pet beagle - which is the main inspiration of my colour story.
CK: Are there any plans for this to hit the shelves anytime soon?
Keeping my fingers cross on this. I believe D'wayne is trying his best to make this happen? I sure hope they do, becuase I am curious to see where my designs stands with the consumer market.
CK: With this experience coming to a close and a whole lot more opportunities opening up, what is next for you?
I guess my next immediate thing will be to land myself a job in the footwear industry. I hope this invaluable experience with the Future of Footwear program will aid me in my pursuit.
CK: Any last thoughts you would like to add?
Well, I wanna thank D'wayne and the class for an amazing experience - also not forgetting all those that came thru to critic. I appreciate all the feedback sessions, my designs have definitely benefited from them. Finally to my fellow futurists of the first Future of Footwear program, keep at it - don't stop. The future is now.