Day 18: Materials Lecture

June 16, 2011 by – materials lecture — There is no shame in losing.- It is not a shame to be knocked down by other people. The important thing is to ask when you’re being knocked down, “Why am I being knocked down?” If a person can reflect in this way, then there is hope for this person. – Bruce Lee

Today Suzette Henri came in to explain the materials side of the shoe market. I was quite inspired by what she had to say and her story of her first encounter with Michael Jordan. It was a slippery situation. The introduction included the different techniques and approaches, in material concept, to achieve the full look, as well as functionality of the final product. Two processes that intrigued me were the release paper method and the roller range method. It kind of opened my eyes to the fact that, something as simple as the texture of an elephants’ skin, can be reproduced to become a cult classic in the athletic footwear world.

Another interesting point was the fact that in order for a concept of a shoe to be produced, the performance level and the material need, have to meet equally. Any compromise between either sides may and can jeopardize the functionality of the final product. The success of the the flywire technology is an example of this marriage; the need of reinforcement in support—without sacrificing performance.

A friend of mine had mentioned that when wearing his Kobe 6’s, the polymer applied as the reptilian detail makes him feel more secure and agile in his movements. That may be one single personal user experience, but it does tell us that functional design can be worked into aesthetical appeal.

To expand on aesthetical appeal, Suzette also dropped some knowledge on the ” trend forecasting” world; how there are people who collect information in order to predict the next buzz. In that same respect, I feel that these same “trend forecasters” can be used as a tool for what NOT to do. In the end of the day, you’re role of a designer is to break the mold, and make better—what is the usual.