As you wrap up your Future of Footwear submissions, we bring you the final installment in our 5-week series. This week we catch up with Chris Dixon, 2012 Future of Footwear Dress winner.
Did you have any footwear background prior to the Future of Footwear class?
Prior to Future of footwear I studied graphic design at Harding University. I always sketched sneaker ideas but never really knew the correct process of designing footwear. I had my first big opportunity with footwear design when I competed and won Futuresole in 2010 (mentored by Benjamin Nethongkome). Attending Pensole Prep (Spring 12′) helped me gain more knowledge with the industry way of designing footwear. I can say my design journey has been a bit different than others.
Tell us about your experience in the Future of Footwear class.
Being Coached, mentored and taught by D’Wayne Edwards and Suzette Henry was priceless. From day one I knew it was going to be a tough challenge because of the talent level that was in my category.
Even though it was a competition, everyone in the Pensole studio was willing to help each other out in anyway possible which was weird but hey we were in Portland. We worked long hours as individuals and in teams. I was teamed up with Matthew DeAlmeida, Jared Fiorovich, Jan-Maarten Lubberts and Johnning.(3 of us won in our categories) I admired Matt’s sketching ability and Jared’s hands on skills so I sat close to those guys. We had a lot of guest from Nike and Jordan that came to share advice and critique our projects. Seeing everyone work and enjoy what they were doing made the atmosphere just exciting. This was simply the best time I have had while competing for a life changing experience.
As part of the class, you where selected to attend the Platform tradeshow in Las Vegas, what was that like?
Making it to the show was very exciting because it was the first time we got a chance to hold our 3d models and samples. Seeing the world of footwear in one room was pretty daunting at first. As time went by it became fun to tell everyone about our different projects and Pensole Design Academy. Since this was the first time a school was in the show we got a great deal of attention. The live voting made people want to get involved and support there favorite project. I would say the coolest thing that happened at the booth was a lot of different buyers were approaching me to place orders for my design. That made me feel like a winner before they announced the winners.
You where selected as the winner of the Future of Footwear in the Dress shoe category. Can you tell us about your design?
My challenge was to make a shoe for a woman that would make www.highsnobiety.com. My brief was to design a high heel for the fashion forward business woman. I wanted to focus on a very successful business women feeling and looking her best throughout her busy day. Her surroundings throughout her day became my inspiration as well as the design story. It came together nicely because I created a particular high class lifestyle I called the diamond lifestyle which started Diamond Lifestyle Collection .
At the Platform tradeshow, you where presented with a pullover of your design. What was it like to see a pullover of your design for the first time?
That was crazy. I was the last to make it to Vegas so everyone was waiting to see my design. I was extremely excited to see it because of the complexity of the heel. When DE pulled it out the box it made me think about all the sleep I missed and the headaches of finding the design was well worth it. It is a feeling that never gets old.
What have you been up to over the last 8 months, since I saw you in Las Vegas for the FoF 2012?
For the Last 8 months I have been working on my first collection including this design. I had a chance to work with Suzette Henry in Italy at the Lineapelle materials show, which was incredible. She helped me with shopping the show and basically finding the best materials. Other than that it has been just the beautiful struggle of finding factories and making progress as an independent designer.
What advice do you have for designers looking to be apart of the Future of Footwear class of 2013?
Future of Footwear will give you the experience that you just will not get any where else. I will advice you to try to earn a spot!
Great advice! You can submit your designs to earn a spot HERE