Global Footwear Awards (GFA) has begun its global search to identify visionary designers in footwear. The Prelude was awarded the winner of GFA x Sneakers By Women Up-and-Coming Female Brand.
Lifelong sneakerhead Brittney Perry grew up facing a market saturated by sneakers made for and by men. With few options marketed to women at the time, Brittney resorted to buying men’s sneakers, but felt the need for something more inclusive. In 2018, Brittney launched PerryCo shoes with the mission of creating a genderless sneaker that can appeal to all styles and identities. The Prelude is the first sneaker released by PerryCo Shoes, in collaboration with Quintin Williams. Simplicity allows versatility.I aspire to provide pieces you can wear on a daily basis.
GFA talks with Brittney about the winning project:
What was most important for you when working on this project and what were the biggest challenges you faced?
This was my very first sneaker I’ve ever made. With some help from Quintin Williams, he helped design and gave helpful advice on how to get started. Most sneaker companies have teams to help with, materials, color, R&D, but I did everything on my own. Since I didn’t go to school for fashion design, I faced many obstacles trying to figure out all the moving parts of how a sneaker is made. I faced several financial obstacles. It took me a couple of years to save money from my full time job to create this shoe. It was super important for me to make this sneaker (beginning in 2016) and make it unisex so that nobody felt excluded. Inclusivity is a big part of PerryCo’s mission.
Where do you get motivation and inspiration from for your work?
I find motivation to design when I travel to new places. Seeing other cultures style and feeling the energy of new cities gets my brain churning. For example, when traveling to Tokyo, I did a lot of walking and used public transportation 95% of the time I was there. This made me really think about footwear differently and think harder about the different people from all of the world that will wear items in different types of environments. I want to make sure they are comfortable no matter where you are. I also take inspiration from shoes that I used to wear growing up and try to put my own spin on them.
Which designer in the footwear industry do you most admire and why?
There are several designers I admire, but one that stands out the most is Guillaume Philibert. This was one of the first independent brands I saw while I was in college that really inspired me to start my own. I feel we are on similar pathways and to see how big the brand has become is very inspiring.
How do you feel footwear design has evolved over the past years and how do you see it evolving in the future?
Footwear design has evolved extremely fast over the past 5 years. From customization and now easier access for creatives to start their own brands, competition is at it’s peak. I think we will see more independent brands and an audience that is more open minded to other brands besides the larger well known companies. Sustainability will play a large roll in manufacturing especially with generation alpha. 3D printing will also be utilized.
What would be your dream design project?
I have 2 dream projects. The first would be to come out with my own Jordan shoe or SB Blazer. The second would be to create a sneaker with Yoon Ambush and Aleali May with a 100% women team.
What does this award mean to you personally?
This award means a lot to me because it’s my first award as a sneaker designer. What makes it even more special is that it’s in collaboration with Sneakers By Women. It is my goal to inspire other women in the world to get in the footwear industry. I love everything that the award represents.
What kind of questions do you ask before beginning a shoe design? What piece of information is of utmost value?
The main question I ask before designing anything is, what and who is this for? What is the meaning and inspiration behind what you are about to create? With every product, there is usually a story as to why you want this to exist. I believe the storytelling aspect is the most important part of a design. It makes people want to buy the shoe.
What kind of culture or structure needs to exist to foster successful team collaboration?
I am really big on energy and vibes. I like teams that I am apart of to feel like family. What I mean by that is not being afraid to give feedback, being able to communicate and approach each other if you are in need of help and of course pushing each other to be the best versions of ourselves. We can all bring different skillsets and ideas to the table and be open to different opinions. Thats what collaboration is for. We are around our team for most of the day, so having a fun and open minded environment is key.
How do you deal with feedback?
I appreciate when people give me feedback on my products, because it’s potentially advice that could help my products be better. Not to say that I apply every single thing people say because I can’t meet everyones needs, but hearing from different people gives me different perspectives. I take mental notes and keep what I feel would would add benefit to that product.
What would you tell your younger self seeing you winning the awards?
I’d tell myself, growing up the way you did, in this specific environment is what makes you who you are. Look where it got you! Always be yourself, never give up, and you can do anything you set your mind to.
The Global Footwear Design Awards (GFA) is announcing winners for its second edition, showcasing a variety of exceptional creative potential across 20+ categories in all levels; Brands, Independent and Students. The GFA recognizes visionary design talent from around the world with an ambition to provide the highest recognition to footwear designers in all categories including sustainability and social impact.
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