We are proud to announce that the 2013 MESH01 Designer of the Year is none other than Trev. In 2013 3Design led the pack finishing 1st in 2 different projects, 2nd on 3 occasions, and 3rd once. I had the chance to catch up with him again to learn more about his background in design.
How did you learn about MESH01?
Rebooting my footwear design career in 2011 after a hiatus, I randomly discovered Mesh01 as I was doing various footwear searches but did not enter. A year later, a footwear design recruiter found my new portfolio on Coroflot and suggested that I enter some Mesh01 competitions to help revitalize my skills.
Had you participated in a design competition before?
Not in footwear, but for portrait drawing.
Can you tell us about your path towards becoming an Industrial designer?
I was born with it, always drawing and designing spaceships, jets, medieval fantasy characters, bmx bikes, game consoles and even whole computer systems. As teenagers in a spacious rural village with access to construction materials and tools, we built everything from go-carts to bow and arrows to mini camps, complete with a working wood stove, insulated walls, water-tight roofs, sleeping bunks and even lights powered by a (cough) stolen car battery. For a high school wood-working project, I designed and built my own drawing/ computer desk.
It wasn’t until I discovered shoes at about age thirteen that began to dream about being a designer. I had no clue how to do that, so I created some concepts and mailed them off to Nike, my hero brand at the time. They personally replied, telling me that most of their designers have Industrial Design degrees. So I went to school for ID and got a job as a Junior Designer job with the Power brand in Toronto, Ontario.
Three years later I was on my own freelancing for the same brand, but I got creatively frustrated with the medium market limitations; shoe design went from a passion to grueling work. I had the creative fire of a volcano but didn’t yet learn how to channel it like a flame thrower to properly serve the brand and market, so I went dormant instead.
Moving on from the shoe industry altogether and bouncing around regular jobs to pay the bills but brought little satisfaction, I started experimenting with art, portraits and the like, but these turned out to be only hobby-level passions.
Later, I was blessed with a government office job that I surprisingly enjoyed for over 3 years, but that joy was unexpectedly overshadowed during a mundane corporate meeting concerning such well-known issues as dress codes and bathroom etiquette: to pass the long hours ahead, I starting sketching shoes which I hadn’t done for several years. Like a blast of warm air on cold, grey coals, the forgotten fire was suddenly rekindled. Realizing that I was missing my call, I began the process of rebooting my career a year later.
Through Mesh01, I’ve been able to take the next step of reintegration by being able to design footwear for several brands and categories, getting some fresh experience and credibility.
What are some of the highlights of your career to date?
That’s a tough one. I’ve had a lot of good experiences in footwear design and appreciate the unexpected success so far, but I don’t think I’ve hit any highlights yet since I feel there’s so much more that’s unexplored.
What do you feel makes your designs and style different/unique from others?
Though I appreciate and respect the creative diversity in footwear, most of the shoes on the market don’t appeal to me so it’s natural for me want to do something different. Understanding and being part of the market is important to a point – there has to be an arcing emotional and technical relevance to attract the consumer, but I resist following the micro-trends simply if it’s what we’re “supposed” to do and everybody expects it. If it’s fresh, inspiring and technically sound than sure I may jump on board, but I have to step out somewhere and do my own thing to keep the creative juices flowing.
My motto is “push it” so my designs can be polarizing because of the excess either of stylistic expression and/ or detailing, especially in this minimalist age.
Who are some of the designers / artists that you pull your inspiration from?
For some unexplained reason, I’ve never been a follower of particular designers, though I certainly acknowledge and respect the Earl Tupper’s and Tinker Hatfield’s of the industry. Ironically, when I stepped away from shoes and got a little into art, drawing portraits and photography, it was these artists who later influenced my thinking about footwear design:
- JMW Turner for his ability to mix the realism of precision drawings with fantastical color pallets and expressionism – like shoe design.
- John Singer Sargent for his minimalist approach: In some paintings it’s as if he’s wielding the brush like a two-edged sword as he slashes the canvas to and fro, yet he still captures the soft, subtle sensibilities of his subjects.
- Claude Monet and other impressionists because they are artistically the opposite of what I am – a realist. I tend to over-design and be very logical and literal, even with integrated graphic details. Good design is quite often beautifully simple and I strive for that.
- Ansel Adams’ black and white view of the world. He helped me to appreciate not the color of design, but what design is in the absence of it.
It was art/ photography that taught me about the importance of composition, texture, color, balance, tone and subject matter, which I later translated to footwear. Before that I just wanted to do “cool” shoes. Designing shoes now, sometimes I even like to try and lead the viewer’s eye around the shoe, like a painting.
Trev, Thank you for your time, can you offer any words of advice to the other designers out there in the MESH01 community?
1. Do what you love and love what you do. Money and the material possessions of life will never replace the satisfaction of doing what you’re made to do.
2. You never know what abilities and talents you have until you try. If you’re afraid to step out, do it afraid.
“A man can find no greater satisfaction than in his work”
- Solomon, Ecclesiastes 2:24
Be sure to check out Trev’s portfolio here: