Global Footwear Awards (GFA) has begun its global search to identify visionary designers in footwear. ARCapsule was awarded Best Overall Sports performance.
ARCapsule has been reimagined as an update for the current Adidas Adios Pro2 series.It features an adjustable carbon fibre plate inspired from Paralympics runner blades which the user can adjust for core running or for a simple warmup just before running.3D printed mesh upper for customized fit for each user.It houses an advance inflatable boost capsule system on the foot arc area which can be set to different arch support needed by different users based on their requirement and their running patterns.This arc system will benefit many flatfoot runners as well to accomplish their daily run.
GFA talks with Parthasarathee about the winning project
What do you see as the strengths of your winning project?
My design paints the vision for performance footwear 2030, with focus on generative personalized upper details, adjustable arch support and unique CMF,which were the main success pillars of this winning project.
What does this award mean to you personally?
This award is a symbol of respect especially in my final year of University. This is definitely going to boost my self esteem,pride and confidence. Winning this award means that I have an obligation to continue doing the good work throughout my career and sharing it globally as I Hope one day this would change the lives of the society or at-least for some people for the greater good.
What was most important for you when working on this project and what were the biggest challenges you faced?
Since this project was envisioned as a concept for 2030 I wanted this footwear to have a futuristic functional look and in order to achieve that “design follows function” form was my biggest challenge.
What is your guiding design principle?
When I start working on a project I always make sure the problem to be solved is well defined at the beginning in order to offer the best solution/outcome/experience.
Where do you get motivation and inspiration from for your work?
I have a huge passion for Sports,Fitness and the Automotive industry. My inspiration comes from my everyday life whether I am running, or watching my favorite DJ perform live in a concert, it’s the minute details which catches my attention and that’s what inspires me to do crazy stuff.
How/when did you discover that you wanted to work in design?
When I was younger, although I didn’t know at that time, it was lifestyle design that I was after, at a very early age I was inclined towards things like sports, automobiles and the fashion industry overall.
How do you think your own culture and environment has shaped your personal and professional creative vision?
As a travel enthusiast ,before the global lockdown I took trips to fashion shows & trade fairs in Paris,Milan,Dubai & Berlin almost every year.I seek inspiration everywhere I go. “I love to experience new places and cultures—every experience is meaningful. I am mostly inspired by photography, digital art, the automotive industry or people near me. Anything that captures my eye and provokes an emotion.
Tell us about a project which has been your greatest achievement?
After bachelors, I started working for a company that launched an e-commerce footwear line with my design direction.I think that was my biggest achievement till date, though I am very positive that the biggest-best achievement is yet to come.
Which designer in the footwear industry do you most admire and why?
Virgil Abloh,it was with the founding of OFF-white in 2013 that he caught my attention. His streetwear-focused collections – rich in screen-printed sweatshirts, long-line hoodies and bold yellow tab sneakers caught my attention right away.
How do you feel footwear design has evolved over the past years and how do you see it evolving in the future?
From leather shoes to 3D printed ones we have come a long way.
I believe the consumer today demands exclusive products and with advanced tech in place I see customization & personalization of footwear to an individual’s need is evolving.
What do you think are the biggest challenges and opportunities in your career and the industry now?
This Pandemic has taught me one thing, nothing is permanent nor predictable. But this has also opened new doors for me in terms of my career path as now I have more time than before to learn a new skill and handle multiple projects online.
What would be your dream design project?
Collaborating with a major fashion house or working on futuristic products for global sports companies.
What’s your think about the different creative processes and softwares and how they play a role in design today?
My creative approach is very unconventional at times, though I try not to limit myself just to one approach.I try multiple 3D softwares to generate various outcomes before deciding on the final one. I believe in building mockups parallelly to my 3d models just to be sure of the ergonomics .With 3d printer in place, life has become easy when It comes to prototyping your designs at home.
What kind of questions do you ask before beginning a shoe design? What piece of information is of utmost value?
At the beginning of the task I try to analyse the problem at hand by prioritizing the consumer’s needs above all else.I try to look at problems from many different perspectives.
What kind of culture or structure needs to exist to foster successful team collaboration?
A diverse workforce, sharing goals and encouraging innovation thought- process needs to co-exists in a successful team collaboration.
How do you deal with feedback?
Constructive Criticism helps, that’s what I believe in .The more eyes you have on your project ,the more opinions you get before actually launching the product, hence it helps in building a successful product in the end.
What are you working on now, what is in the pipeline for you?
Right now I am focusing on learning new parametric softwares like grasshopper and solidworks which I can integrate with my other 3D modelling programs . I have also started using gravity sketch which is an awesome VR tool for digital sketching & generating ideas in a very simple yet effective manner.
How has the pandemic affected your work and design process?
As of right now, my life doesn’t seem too terribly different in terms of the flow of my work, but I’m anxious about the uncertainty in the future. Because as footwear designers, designers need to have some kind of contact with people/teams for collaborations— whether it’s during factory visits, on sampling sites, or in client meetings to review materials or the actual sample in person. It will be interesting to see how the design and production processes adapt to account for social distancing, or even more restrictive measures.
How do you feel about the topic of sustainability and social impact in regards to footwear design in general?
Sustainability in the footwear industry is all about reduction in consumption and waste.We as designers should be able to adapt to more digital working methods into our workflow which will lead to eliminating the initial prototype making process which is a small step towards sustainability.
What would you tell your younger self seeing you winning the awards?
Oh so many things…focus on learning new skills, Be innovative, willing to pivot and think outside the box and most importantly.. Trust your intuition.
What is your design mantra you live by?
Stop making sense. Logic is predictable. Think differently – Paul smith.
With so many designs coming out daily, how do you keep pushing boundaries in footwear design?
Evolution of design workflow is necessary for one to succeed,I believe being Persistence is important in you have to survive in there design industry.
Where do you start when tackling innovative design solutions?
I would look at problems at hand which need to be solved and also benchmark them with existing design solutions before proposing an innovative solution.
What advice would you give to future aspiring footwear designers?
Learn from your mistakes and pay attention to trends.
What do you think will keep pushing the footwear industries forward?
As robots, automation and artificial intelligence perform more tasks ,I think these new technologies will help us create more efficient sustainable products and enhance our product quality.
What do you wish to see more of in the footwear industries?
I believe in the “Less is More” mantra, while also looking into a sustainable future I think we should focus on creating smart innovative products which provide multiple functions to the user.
How do you handle pressure in design?
With time I have learned how to prioritize my work and meet deadlines though I always give my 1000% into my projects, be it big or small.I pay a lot of attention to detail which helps me sail through my project from start till end with ease.
How do you feel about the impact of new technology towards footwear design and the industry as a whole?
I definitely am excited about the new technologies in footwear design especially the 3D print technology where printed parts are being used directly into footwear making and the new VR platform sketching/modelling abilities in the VR world which gives the designer early access to visualize their dreams within minutes of ideation.
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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