Interview with sneaker guru Tuan Le
He is one of the most highly sought after sneaker designers worldwide and counts And1, Ecco, Keen, Merrell, Mizuno, Reebok and Jack & Jones Footwear among his customers. For the Danish label Tuan Le recently designed the limited edition ‘Fusion’ sneaker with a striking, futuristic-looking sole and extended tongue. In a short interview with GDS online the designer based in Portland, Oregon sheds light on sneaker trends of the future and reveals to us why he owns a thousand pairs of sneakers himself.
What sneaker trends do you see for Autumn/Winter 2017/18 in terms of material, shape and colour?
I continue to feel that the blending or blurring of the old definitions of sports and dress shoes is still very compelling. At least, I refused to follow them anyway. Another popular topic currently is manufacturing to be closer to the market place. Making our products in Portugal for European consumers still makes the most sense.
Recycled materials are being used more and more. Adidas recently presented its Futurecraft Biosteel sneaker which is made from biodegradable fabric upper that replicates natural silk. What do you think about this? Do you plan to create sustainable sneakers as well?
Interesting that you brought up the environmentally friendly products, I've stumbled upon a very cool product made completely from plant-based extracts which I'm planning to introduce to the Jack & Jones team as soon as we start work on the next range. I'm sorry I can't say any more than that without unofficially disclosing confidential information.
What does the process of development of the collaboration looks like?
There is never an actual process to do this and we never followed any particular trends either. For example, Kirsten (Jack & Jones design manager, editor's note) and I spent a day together recently in the Napa Valley (California) drinking the most amazing wines and talked about life, food, cars, travels...and little bit about shoes and out came the next Collaboration Collection!
Where do you find inspirations for the sneakers you create?
By now, you have probably guessed that I'm not a conventional shoe designer. I found inspiration from all walks of life and types of people surrounding me. I travel internationally going on 8-10 trips per year, so perhaps that's what influenced my perspective the most.
Which ten sneakers you must own before you die?
I really am not a sneaker head and I'm not into collecting shoes either. I must admit that I do have a thousand pairs of shoes in my house due to the fact that I'm a shoe designer!
Thank you for talking to us.