Omar Bailey Footwear
Omar Bailey is probably the most international shoe designer in this world! He designs and prototypes custom shoes as well as his own line of high-end sneakers in New York, has them manufactured in Italy and sells them in Dubai. He is also the creative director for Lotto in India and travels throughout Asia, sharing his experiences at @thekicksfactorynyc, one of the most inspiring and informative Instagram pages for footwear designers. Omar will talk about the opportunities and challenges of working as a designer for different markets outside the USA.
Footwear Innovation Advisor, FDRA
Innovation Advisor Tiffany Beers has led global teams and multi-million-dollar projects from concept to the retail floor, including ownership of the manufacturing process. At Nike, Tiffany served as a key partner to one the industry’s most renowned designers bringing amazing new things to life, including the world’s first auto-lacing shoes. She honed her skills at Tesla and Rubbermaid as one of our industry’s leading innovators.
Safir Bellali is by far the best person in the business to show the future potential of digital design for footwear. As senior director of Advanced Digital Creation at VF Cooperation he can explain from experience how digital design can speed up time to market and streamline workflow. He will especially talk about virtual prototyping: creating a photo realistic 3D rendering that could be used to sell a design to internal stakeholders and even directly to the consumer before it has even been produced.
Pensole Footwear Design Academy
D’wayne Edwards needs no introduction, we can not imagine that anyone would not be familiar with the great work he does with PENSOLE, the best sneaker design school in the world that he started in 2011, after being a highly successful designer for brands like Nike for more than twenty years. He trains design talent from all over the world and will share his experience in dealing with different cultures and designing for different markets. He will also emphasize the importance of having a diverse design team.
Sanne van den Dungen
When it comes to green design, it can be very useful to take inspiration from other industries. That is why we invited Sanne van den Dungen, sustainable fashion entrepreneur with her label HNST and scientific project manager for EPEA, the company founded by Michael Braungart and therefore also known as “the cradle of Cradle to Cradle”. She will help us look at the bigger picture, explaining how to effectively redesign our product development systems as such, gradually turning our footprint from a negative one into a positive one and engaging the consumer – and the designer – in that process.
Nicoline van Enter
Nicoline van Enter, founder of international innovation platform The Footwearists, made the program for this conference. She has been guiding, inspiring and training footwear design teams in the areas of fashion, sustainability and technical innovation for more than 20 years. As a true visionary, working around the globe and across the supply chain, from material and machine suppliers, to brands, retailers, tech startups and universities, she knows how to find the people that really make a difference. Many of them work behind the scenes, which is why you will find a lot of new names in the speaker line-up that you have never seen at other conferences. Nicoline will also give her own perspective on the big future developments that will affect and improve footwear design.
Mike Friton is a true sneaker legend: during the 30+ years he was working for Nike as an innovator he was responsible for creating iconic styles such as the Nike Woven and the Presto that would turn out to be the predecessors to the knitted styles we see now. In 2011, Friton left Nike to launch his own footwear prototyping studio in Portland, giving him the flexibility to contract with leading and niche-market footwear companies, and to develop prototypes of his own. He combines a vast knowledge of biomechanics and footwear technology with a passion for sports and craft, which has led him to develop highly effective ways to design sports performance footwear through physical prototyping rather than just sketching. He now also applies his skills to create shoes that can be worn and manufactured in third world countries, yet would also appeal to the first world.
Finding the right manufacturer is always a major issue for designers that want to start their own brand yet have no experience with sourcing. This is why Elias Gröndal, a highly experienced sourcing manager working for large chain stores such as H&M, recently co-founded his own venture: Find Sourcing. With this online platform, he is helping footwear companies find the right sourcing partners. This includes many options for independent designers and start-ups who want to find manufacturers that are willing to make small runs or even individual custom pairs. Find Sourcing provides easy steps to find the right manufacturer and includes a database with manufacturing knowledge, helping anyone new in the industry to find their way.
This man also needs no introduction: Chris Hillyer is a regular speaker at FDRA summits, not just because he is in charge of innovation at Deckers – so they let him travel – but especially because of his involvement in Material Exchange: the digital material platform that makes footwear designer’s lives so much easier. This is the chance to experience first hand how Material Exchange will help to design better shoes and to provide feedback on how to make the system even better!
To Eva Klabalova, design for manufacturing means design for sustainability. Her brand, Cave Footwear is not so much about a specific design style; it evolves around a design process that we now consider very groundbreaking, but should actually be standard practice. She designs her shoes in the factory, using only existing tooling, tweaking the industrial making process and using only leftover materials, either from manufacturing waste or excess stock. The results are stunning, on trend and very cost effective, making footwear brands aware of the question: “Do we really need to keep buying new stuff, to make new stuff?”
With over 15 years under his belt designing apparel, footwear and accessories, Brendon Marczan is one of Foundry’s most experienced Product Designers. Brendon has worked across a number of industries, including fashion, sportswear, military, outdoor adventure, and luggage. He has a passion for developing sustainable sampling and manufacturing processes, and he’s worked with some of the world’s largest brands to introduce 3D visualization into the workflow of traditionally 2D designers.
Jordi Montaner is one of those hidden gems of the footwear industry. As innovation designer for K-Tech in China – one of the most advanced manufacturers for knitted shoe uppers and other knitted products – he is continually pushing the boundaries of knitwear, catching the attention of those who have a real eye for innovation, such as MIT’s Media Lab and many leading footwear brands! Jordi’s creative genius is behind many best selling knitted shoes currently on the market! He will talk about how designers can best create their designs with knitting in mind.
The Sneaker Factory
Even though he has many years of experience, the name Wade Motawi might not immediately ring a bell with all shoe people, until you start talking about the books he publishes with his company Sneaker Factory. These are hands down the most current, thorough and practical books on sneaker manufacturing you could ever find, whether you are a rookie or an old shoe dog. That is why we could not think of a better expert to talk about design for manufacturing than Wade.
Very rarely is footwear innovation the subject of PhD research, yet fashion designer and wearable technology expert Troy Nachtigall will soon be getting his doctorate from the Technical University of Eindhoven in The Netherlands for developing a radically disruptive way to produce ultra-personalized shoes, both in fit and aesthetics. He has created a generative, subscription-based design and manufacturing system that keeps providing the consumer with better shoes based upon their actual behavior.
FDRA Customs Counsel
Having 40+ years in dealing with footwear customs duties, John Pellegrini is considered THE footwear duties expert by many CEOs. Understanding how to design around high duties is not something any designer gets taught in art school, yet more than ever it is a vital skill that could make or break your design. Mark our words: John is able to turn this ‘boring’ subject into something interesting and creatively challenging!