MAKER OF THINGS
SR. FOOTWEAR DESIGNER ADIDAS BASEBALL
Profession / Business / Title: Artist / Maker of Things / Sr. footwear Designer Adidas Baseball
How long have you been in your profession? 15 years in Footwear with gaps in between creating other projects.
Brands worked for: Adidas, Asics, Unfold, Chocolåtl, Food Architecture & my own company MRARANDIA
Real talk- PRO’s vs CONS in your profession?
PROS/// PEOPLE. The riches I have received have been in the mentors, friendships and in some cases the extended family I have made. Meeting these different people has enriched my perspective on work and more importantly life and has changed me in the best possible way.
Travel was another Blessing . Through work I lived in Europe for 12 years. 5 years in Nuremburg, Germany and 7 years in Amsterdam, Netherlands. I also worked with Asics while in Amsterdam for about 4 years which allowed me work in Japan extensively . Professionally and personally it was hugely enriching to be exposed and taken in by different cultures. I am fortunate to call Amsterdam a second home and I have extended family all over the world now.
CONS/// I would say EGO’s, politics, and abuse of power. These are a terrible combination together and unfortunately are a part of life in general and the root of some of the problems we see in many industries today. I think we are starting to see some baby steps of change but time will tell if its treated with the attention and action it consistently deserves. I will say some experiences have taught me the type of person I do not want to be. My hope is that it has made me a better person in the process.
As you go through your career I think you have to be mindful to keep yourself in check and never forget where you came or how you treat others.
Best moment in your career? Hmmmm there are a couple honestly but I’ll try to limit it to two but to me they are connected.
The first was being given the opportunity to live and work abroad . Adidas HQ Germany was where my life in Europe started and a world of new experiences would begin. I can’t Imagine my life without those experiences , good and bad, and all the family I acquired along the way. I never got into this for titles or positions but to do good work and later on in my career to leave a positive mark in the people around me. I am grateful for the opportunity I had to share my skills and learn from a great number of people better than me. As my career progressed I have been lucky enough to create positive change and progress with different teams I have had the privilege of working with.
The second is admittedly a bit selfish but one that made me happy. When I was living in Amsterdam I had the opportunity to represent Asics/ Onitsuka on a Hypebeast feature called Pen & Paper. I got to work with some great people like Joy Yoon who was executive producer of the piece and helped me through the process. I was always a fan of the Pen & Paper series so to be a part of it was such a huge honor.
Most challenging moment in your career? My most challenging moment is also two things. The first was taking the chance to move to Europe. I had been asked three times before I said yes on the third. It was scary decision because I was new to the business, young and filled with allot uncertainty but it was a great decision.
On the same token it was equally challenging to resign from Adidas when I did. I chose to leave and continue my adventure in Amsterdam to do things on my own. Again, a challenging moment in my career but equally one of the best decisions I have ever made.
“If I wasn’t doing______ I would be doing___________.” If I wasn’t a designing footwear I would most definitely be painting. I have always painted and created art in my spare time. No matter what my day job is it is something I always spend time doing. Painting is the therapy my soul needs and the outlet that needs fulfilling that my job can never fill.
What advice can you offer potential designers? I’ll offer a coupe pieces of advice……
Don’t be afraid to fail and be open to opportunities that were not part of your plan.
Learn to collaborate
I am not perfect and have failed in many things but and I always try to remind myself to not let that stop me from trying again. The most meaningful lessons in my life have come from my mistakes. I have always just tried to focus on learning quickly from them moving on and not making the same mistake twice.
Own your ideas but be ready to share it with other trusted people around you to make it better. Any big idea you have will not be done alone so the sooner and better you get at collaborating with fellow designers, marketing, whoever -the better you and your idea will be.
Your thoughts on diversity and/or inclusivity in the design industry? In a field where a majority of the consumers are people of color and female to not see a better reflection of that in the design industry is sad. There is no simple answer to this. It’s complicated to fix first because in order to fix it you have to see it as problem. I don’t think it is truly accepted as a problem but hopefully eyes are starting to open more.
We can’t just get stuck on the problem. What I have come to realize is that every problem is an opportunity for you to offer a solution or steps toward a solution. I see this with what D’wayne Edwards has done with Pensole as well as with what you have done (Angela Medlin) in partnering and creating FAAS. I am trying to find ways to talk to younger kids about design and art. I think each of us have to be active participants in creating small bits of change. Kids need to see people similar to their color, gender, background, doing work they never imagined. This exposes them to new dreams and opportunities hopefully changing the makeup of our industry in the future.
Favorite inspirational quote? “Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.” – Chuck Close
I feel that quote is applicable to life itself . It reminds me to get out and do and not wait for the feeling of everything being perfectly aligned.