Ambergris

I designed these 3 shoes for an assignment in Yellowbrick Sneaker Essentials course.

The assignment was to design a low, mid and a high sneaker. I took inspiration from my hometown of New Bedford MA, AKA the Whaling City. I named this shoe the Ambergris- ambergris comes from the digestive tract in some whales and used to be used for oil burning lights and to make perfume. Harvesting ambergris is now illegal in most places. This material is golden brown in color- which is why that color is present throughout each shoe.

The blue/green air bubble is a nod to my hometown being coastal, and is meant to look like a wave with seafoam. The grays seen on each shoe are taken from photos I’ve shot of the cobblestone streets in downtown New Bedford. The logo on the tab of each shoe is meant to be 3 sails on the front of a clipper ship, due to fishing still being the #1 industry in New Bedford.

In the course, a footwear designer suggested creating thumbnail sketches as part of the design process. This gives you freedom to create more, and not be so attached to the idea you need to stay with one silhouette because you’ve already invest x amount of hours into the drawing.

Thumbnail sketches for this project.

While working on this project, I realized how much goes into designing a shoe. I had just spent multiple hours learning about the purpose each piece serves, and had a hard time thinking beyond the purpose of each part. The first couple sketches I did, pictured here, looked exactly like shoes I had seen before. But the more thumbnails I did, the more comfortable I became. After this thumbnail sheet was complete, I picked a few and expanded on them.

This one ended up becoming the Ambergris Low, featured in the final design. See if you can pick out the differences between the 3 versions of this shoe. Oddly, I like the one that I spent the least amount of time on! I definitely want to design more footwear in the future. This project was a great first step.

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