Courtesy Art U Sports Information
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The Aug. 23, 2012, announcement of the winners of Pensole's Future of Footwear competition was literally a fitting end to a determined effort by former Academy of Art University track & field student-athlete Aric Armon.
With a shoe design that earned a victory in the
“Athletic” category, one with which Armon is quite
familiar, the young artist now has a chance to see his creation
produced and sold for a brand called Drive Nation that is owned by
current NBA veteran Jermaine O'Neal.
"This is an amazing thing and speaks to the value in the education that we are providing our students here," Head Coach Charles Ryan said. "I am so proud of Aric and how he is so quickly making the transition from student to profession is his desired field. What an fantastic opportunity, and what a great example of what an artist-athlete can accomplish coming here to get an education."
Under the tutelage of a staff of footwear industry veterans led by Pensole founder D'Wayne Edwards, a former design director at Nike's Jordan Brand, Armon and the other students began their journey three weeks ago and have been anticipating a spot to be on display at the FN Platform trade show, North America's largest footwear trade show, that ran Aug. 21-23. Armon was in a unique position as one of two semi-finalists who made the trip to Las Vegas representing the “Athletic” product category.
“I am beyond excited,” Armon said, almost in disbelief. “To have D'wayne Edwards believe in me enough to give me this opportunity to create something that comes directly from my brain and actually bring it into the real world is an honor that I can barely put into words.”
For the competition, Pensole selected 20 designers — out of a field of more than 1,000 applicants — who, over a four-week process, were given the assignment to conceive of futuristic footwear concepts in five different categories: athletic, dress, kids, lifestyle, and skateboarding.
“We're excited to have some outstanding and diverse young designers from all corners of the world for this unique competition,” Edwards said in a news release. “This is the first time FN PLATFORM at MAGIC – the largest footwear trade show in North America – has showcased future talent like this, and to have your work on display for the entire industry to judge is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that very few designers ever experience.”
Having diligently pursued his love for design as an industrial design major at Academy of Art University, and after excelling on the track for two years as an Urban Knight, Armon had ample preparation for this moment.
“I was extremely blessed to be able to receive a scholarship to run at Academy of Art University,” Armon said. “Without that, there would have been no way for me to attend and follow my true passion of design. I had run for many years and to have that hard work pay off and get me the education I needed to turn back around to design shoes that help athletes perform better is truly a fully realized dream come true. I could have never foreseen the blessings that people have given me throughout the last couple years. A lot of people have helped me along the way; my instructors, my coaches, the athletic department. They have helped me reach my goals.”
When asked about the inspiration for his shoe design in this particular competition, Armon stepped back into an equally determined childhood for his answer.
“As a kid, I always made stuff and was very active,” Armon explained. “Athletics and design have been to paths in my life that have run parallel to each other. In high school, I remember getting made fun of because I had on some cheap shoes so I went home and painted them; if I couldn't afford new ones I was going to at least make them my own. That always stuck with me so I grew fond of shoes and would notice things about them that I liked and worked and things that I didn't like and I could improve upon.”
Check out more info on Armon's quest and design at the following link: Future of Footwear - Aric Armon