2019 Footwear Design Summit Agenda

Studio Arte // 265 W 37th Street, 17th Floor // New York, NY


8:30 am — Registration, Breakfast, Networking, Exhibits

9:10 am — Welcome and Summit Opening

9:30 am — KEYNOTE: Footwear Design: Sustainability Principles and Practices

10:00 am  — Understanding Tariffs From a Design Perspective and How They May Unintentionally Lead To More Sustainable Designs

As the trade war between the United States and China progresses, Chinese manufacturers are becoming more creative in finding ways to evade the tariffs. For instance, by creating modular footwear that is shipped in parts, sometimes even including machinery to assemble those parts locally. At the same time, designers are looking for information on how they can design around duties as well as for ways to create footwear that can be made locally and can be recycled more easily. A customs expert and brands that design and assemble modular footwear in the USA will share experiences and compare notes.

  • John Pellegrini, Customs Counsel, Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America (FDRA)
  • Chris Bellamy, Senior Engineer—Product Development and Manufacturing, Wiivv


11:00 am — The Digital Design Revolution Will Have To Be Organized

Technology is generally not the biggest hurdle in transitioning to a design workflow that is digital end-to-end and (therefore) more sustainable. Instead, the organizational structure and current division of tasks are often the bottlenecks for successful implementation of new design technologies. A panel of several designers and design directors will talk about how they re-organized their design process when they started using digital design technologies, how this benefited them, what the main pitfalls were and what they would still like to improve in the future. Tech firms will also share best practices.

12:00 pm — Will The Designer of the Future Have To Be a Computer Wizard?

An unexpected outlook on the future of design by Nicoline van Enter of The Footwearists. She will explain how she sees the role(s) of footwear designers evolve in the next ten years, how schools should start training the right people now and how companies should prepare for these new roles.

12:45 pm — LUNCH BREAK

1:30 pm — Designing through Prototyping

As the design world goes through a digital transition, it might seem like making shoes by hand will become obsolete. Nothing could be further from the truth! As design shifts from 2D to 3D, we will also start making physical prototypes in 3D again to explore new methods of manufacturing and to be able to brief 3D visualizers in a much more effective way.  This is why so many large (sports) brands have opened maker spaces and sample rooms at their facilities. Anne Marika Verploegh Chassé works on the edge between handcraft and innovation, teaching footwear design and making at renowned academies like RISD and FIT,  making custom footwear and working on footwear innovation projects with new sustainable biotech materials. She will explain how companies can attract and/or train staff that can seemlessly blend the digital and the physical world.

2:15 pm — How Working With Digital Materials Will Improve the Design Workflow

Material expert Joanne Stetson will talk about how digital materials can make the design workflow more efficient, cost effective, sustainable AND creative!

2:45 pm — How to Improve Footwear Design Training

In this exciting panel, several renowned educators—both for footwear professionals and students—will talk about how schools and companies can best train designers on design for manufacturing, sustainability, customization and digital technologies.

  • Anne Marika Verploegh Chassé, Maker of Shoes & Boots, Designer, Artist, Adjunct Faculty, CriticRhode Island School of Design and Fashion Institute of Technology
  • Sarah Mullins, Accessories Design ChairFashion Institute of Technology
  • Tanya James, Founder, Fashion Tech Week NY
  • Caroline de Baere, Footwear Industry Expert, Co-Founder BENDY Shoes, and Teaching Faculty, California College of the Arts


3:45 pm — Future Design: How To Materialize Big Data Into Footwear Design

It is not often that someone gets a PhD in a subject related to the future of footwear design. In our previous Design Summit we gave a sneak preview of Troy Nachtigalls PhD research into creating a fully generative system to design footwear, including a sophisticated subscription-based business model; this time, we can be more in-depth. We find that the biggest hurdles in implementing such a system might not be technological… in this case it looks like the next design revolution will first have to be legalized… 😉

4:15 pm — Gaming Design: Making Money From Non-Existing Shoes

In this final section of the day we look at a design development that is still in its infancy but is expected to grow rapidly: virtual fashion. A small panel of experts and visionaries will talk about how companies could make money with shoes that (initially) only exist in the digital world, for instance by selling them in online games.

5:00 pm — CLOSING

Thanks to our Great Sponsors!

Please contact apolk@fdra.org if you are interested in sponsoring this event.