Here's my mood board and brand narrative.
A few years ago I started learning Japanese. At first I noticed the asymmetry of the Japanese alphabets and kanji, but before long I started noticing that this Japanese aesthetic extends across basically all Japanese design. It's driven by imperfection and asymmetry the same way western aesthetics are driven by perfection and symmetry. Later I learnt this aesthetic (roughy) is called wabi-sabi. The basic idea being that harmony comes with age.
I think this is a pretty accurate description of understated elegance, and this is the thinking I'm hoping to apply to my sneaker to achieve a simple elegance. I'm interested in textures and materials that change and evolve with use … for example, waxed leather bags accrue minor imperfections through wear and tear but still look great after years of use, and stainless steel takes on a slightly more matte surface as tiny scratches add up over time, which again adds to the appeal.
I think this idea could be applied in the context of sneaker design, as after the first time a pair of sneakers are worn, they're no longer perfect. So I want to explore a classic design that can embrace a little wear and tear, while retaining a classic elegance in the spirit that ""nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect"".
I'm thinking the target audience would be anyone with more classic taste … given that comes generally with age (it did for me) my target audience is style conscious 30-somethings.
Still broad and I'm pulling inspiration from a lot of different places.