Ariaprene is a highly customizable, eco-friendly neoprene alternative, used by brands like Apple, Nike, Carhartt, and Under Armour - an essential in any designer's toolbox. Kicking off the brand's digital launch, I created a series called Ariaprene Pathfinders, a video and editorial blog highlighting designers and developers, shaping and forging their careers on their own terms. The first Pathfinders highlight was a feature on footwear designer Otto Stefan, who we met through Pensole Footwear Design Academy. Suzette Henry and D'Wayne Edwards were kind enough to ask the kids to design some shoes that would eventually make it into our catalogs, which live in the offices of major footwear companies, and Otto's design made it into our catalogs.
Otto shared a shoe he made that was inspired by the interiors of Taco Bells in the 90's, along with a pair of fully biodegradable shoes made from a kombucha SCOBY, that got him into a Pensole class. We also got the chance to highlight Otto's side hustle, Adventure Oats, a backpacking oatmeal company. Throughout the thread, we talked about materials and ingredients, key themes in the Ariaprene story.