The big homie, Tinker Hatfield always stresses the importance of having a story behind your product. I 100% agree, though I tend to think the real story isn’t told enough. For me, the REAL story, in this current climate of outsourced development and a lot of copied footwear designs, is the actual shoe itself. Let me explain.
When Tinker says there should be a story behind your design, I believe he’s generally speaking from a standpoint of designing for an athlete (say for a guy called, Michael Jordan or something). For example, there’s a shoe with a ton of different sketches of mini icons that represent different aspects of Jordan’s life that has been printed as a pattern on one of his shoes to create a unique aesthetic. This is of course, super creative. Jordan’s story, literally creating an aesthetic.
This story telling is still prevalent in today’s athlete/sneaker collabs, though generally in perhaps a little less creative and more obvious ways (writing the athletes favourite quote on the shoe, or making a colour-way of the athletes favourite cartoon character, etc). These are all cool, but to me it’s not a valid, real story behind the aesthetic. It can at times be little gimmicky IMO. But of-course we live in a world where marketing is king, and really we’re just trying to give bloggers something to write about so they post our shit.
For me the real stories start when the shoe isn’t necessarily made FOR someone specifically, but rather for a specific function or a basic aesthetic pulled from an inspiration that hasn’t yet been culminated into a shoe. Even better yet, the true, REAL story is the sketches, the renderings and development of that shoe. Who designed the shoe? Where were they made? Who made them and from what materials were they made? Why are you putting another shoe on the shelf? THESE are the stories that need to be told more often, and in all truth, right now they’re the only ones that really matter. Everything else is just a pretty marketing strategy.
If we really want people to understand the importance of well made and well designed products, it’s starts with us, the designers and developers, and the stories we decide to tell through our products.
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