Depending on the industry, everyone approaches sustainability from a different angle. Whether that’s minimizing pollution or improving workers conditions, it ultimately boils down to improving the quality of human life and creating a better relationship with planet Earth.
Within the youth-oriented sneaker industry, it makes sense to create spaces where young people can share their priorities and conversations can be had in hopes of planting seeds to spark change. Adidas and Incorp[HER]ated led the charge with a workshop held at the Adidas Brooklyn Creator Farm on November 17, 2018 that included 30 Brooklyn and Long Island high school students, who gathered for a robust introduction on creating products that address issues related to sustainability among other concerns.
The event was hosted by Incorp[HER]ated, a women-led diversity network that promotes community within music, tech, sneaker and fashion industries. Titled “Straight to Feet,” the workshop challenged five teams of young women to redesign a pair of Stan Smith sneakers that “sustains relevance in a digital culture that is constantly in flux while incorporating an environmentally friendly aspect into the design.” Layering onto the concept of sustainability, the various teams also addressed themes spotlighting gun violence, homelessness, environmental awareness and increasing diversity.
“When we first started ‘Straight to Feet,’ we had a vision for how it would go,” says Incorp[HER]ated co-founder Khiana Lowe. “The first year was great but there were parts of our vision that we thought we might need to put on hold for a few years like working with a major brand and having it in an actual studio. A few years turned into one. We‘re excited to dream even bigger and figure out how we can make it an even more impactful next year and level up the experience for the students and everyone involved.”
Each of the five teams worked with female mentors, including Jilleen Liao, founder of Onto NYC and designer Anum Malk, who’s worked on notable sneakers including Nike and Travis Scott’s Air Force 1. The process included selecting a theme, expressing the concept through material and design choices and developing a marketing strategy.
Participants were given three hours to create a meaningful sneaker and later, present their model to a panel including Miss Info, Kenji Summers, founder of Future Current Agency, Rana Sidahmed, creative director at Avery Dennison and Joy Yoon, studio manager for Adidas Brooklyn Creator Farm.
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Check out some of the action below.