Day 5 of Brent James‘ exclusive PENSOLE experience recap begins with a Portland road trip. Introduced to us is another PENSOLE student, Jacob Bevis, a current designer for Ascent Footwear based out of Brisbane, Australia. We follow along as Jacob and Brent acquire research and some inspiration to help guide their assigned footwear design projects along at the half way mark of PENSOLE. Continue reading PENSOLE Day 5: ROAD TRIP!!! (By Brent James & Jacob Bevis)…
Today I have decided to do something a little different. A buddy of mine, Jacob, and I headed out for an inspiration trip to the places which inspire our projects. Luckily both destinations are located close to each other, just outside of downtown Portland on the Max (the city’s local rail train system) Airport Line. Jacob’s project is based around a local company called Leatherman. They specialize in multifunctional tools and cater to the outdoor market. I have given Jacob the opportunity to present his experience in his own words…
“My name is Jacob Bevis and I’m from the Gold Coast, Australia. I work for Ascent Footwear, a small company based out of Brisbane, and I was extremely fortunate to be offered a scholarship to attend Pensole. I have been given the task of designing a boot around the concept of the ‘Leatherman’, a multi-function handtool. The trick though is not to come up with the ‘Inspector Gadget’ boot of the shoe world, but rather a boot that would compliment their tool and brand.
On Day 5 I woke up feeling excited to go out and visit the Leatherman factory and IKEA with Brent. A 25min train ride, 30min walk, not knowing exactly where to go (huge thanks to the UPS guy for telling us the way, but where was the offer for a ride?) and standing directly under the flight path of 3 fighter jets coming in to land, we had made it to Leatherman!
I had the great pleasure of meeting Gail in the retail shop who was extremely informative and gave me some insight into the company. From this meeting I was able to find out the materials used, the processes to making the product and how long it takes from design to seeing it on the shelf. All invaluable pieces of information when you have a specific concept that you are trying to work from.
As we started the 30min trek back in the direction of IKEA, Brent and I knew we had made some bad choices. His was to wear jeans (it felt about 90 degrees outside) and mine was to not wear socks (blisters around the size of Quarters are now on the back of my heels, no lie). My day of meeting people and walking wasn’t quite done, once we left school at 8PM it was off to REI (another 30min walk) to find out as much info as I could from the perspective retailer point of view. The exciting thing about walking the streets of Portland though is it is never dull. You don’t have to go far to come across some extremely interesting people, they are definitely doing their part to “Keep Portland Weird”, everyone needs to experience this city at least once in their life.
I would not trade this experience at all. I look at these blisters like trophies, I know that I have been doing what it takes to get out and meet the right people to come up with a great concept and design for our final presentation. I would like to say a huge thank you to D’Wayne and Matt for this opportunity and to all of my fellow students for helping me improve everyday whist we are here, I am extremely grateful to all of you.”
We were both pleasantly surprised by the success of our journey. Sometimes it does not go quite as smoothly, just ask Jacob about his trip to REI. Fortunately Anne, a bubbly IKEA employee, was a great help to me in giving me insights into how the brand would like to be seen, as well as what the customers are looking for from IKEA. She helped me narrow the target down to those people who are establishing themselves in a new place/situation. She also gave me insight into the most popular product, the Poang Chair. These two things will give great influence to the final design. So approaching the end of the day I final sit down to get back to sketching, re-energized by our road trip.
Here are the key points I intend on focusing on as a result of this trip:
- Assembly of the shoe
- Instruction Manual
- Presentation in the home and in the store
- Adding value to the existing product(s)
In the coming days, I will post more of my design process. Stay tuned for more updates from Pensole.
I would like to thank Jacob Bevis for sharing his story today and I believe you will hear more voices in the posts to come.
-Written by Brent James
READ PENSOLE DAY 6: DESIGN EXPLOSION
Check out the complete “PENSOLE: By Brent James” series:
> PENSOLE Day 1: Sizing Up The Competition
> PENSOLE Day 2: Are You Ready For Some Footwear?
> PENSOLE Day 3: Get Your Feet Dirty
> PENSOLE Day 4: Time To Get Busy
> PENSOLE Day 5: Road Trip!!!
> PENSOLE Day 6: Design Explosion
> PENSOLE Day 7/8: The Weekend
> PENSOLE: Day 9: Design Is How It Works
> PENSOLE Day 10: Life In Technicolor
> PENSOLE Day 11: The Final Push
> PENSOLE Day 12: Taking It All In
> PENSOLE Day 13: It Doesn’t End Here
Brent James will be exclusively penning for CounterKicks a daily recap of his experience in the PENSOLE Footwear Design School being held June 21-July 2, 2010, at the University of Oregon, instructed by D’Wayne Edwards (Design Director at Jordan Brand) and Matt Rhoades (Former Creative Director at Nike). Follow CK on Twitter and Facebook for breaking sneaker news and exclusive info.