Designing for the future
Where sneakerhead culture and sustainable practice collide you’ll find Sean Wotherspoon, designing for the future.
Soaring to success with several big-brand vegan sneaker collaborations, it’s Wotherspoon’s immersive approach that really sets him apart. Using nature as his ‘shortcut’ to innovation, he shares his unconventional process in a new film created exclusively for The Art of Drive.
Fueling future visions
The Art of Drive is a collaboration between Porsche, Vogue and WIRED. Geared towards inspiration and education, the platform brings together trailblazers across fashion, tech, music, design and culture. The objective is to empower the next generation’s goals via interactive experiences, from documentaries to articles, interviews, events, panel talks and more.
Previous thought-leaders on The Art of Drive include Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, who shared how her unique skill for reinvention informs her success. Plus mentors Sharmadean Reid, Sara Nuru, Hannah Lux Davis, Barbara Sika and Karla Welch, who have distilled their own experiences into tangible advice on how dreams can be made reality.
Next, Sean Wotherspoon takes the baton, bringing his perspective to The Art of Drive.
I love looking at something and asking, how can I change this slightly to give it a different look, to keep the heritage of what I'm working with, but also elevate it to the next level?
Shortcut to innovation
The short film allows us to explore Wotherspoon’s world, a desert dreamscape filled with natural materials, from kelp to cacti.
Through this lens, we’re encouraged to approach what we see every day with newfound creativity and to innovate with what already exists.
"That's my personal challenge, whether it's designing a sneaker, designing a car, designing a new process for a warehouse on how to become sustainable, or creating a new material. That’s what drives me. Even talking about it, I get excited. There's so much to be done," Wotherspoon explains.
As the film unfolds, he elaborates on this mission, sharing how to craft ideas that are spectacularly different. For Wotherspoon, it’s details that could easily be overlooked that spark his imagination. “I found this dead cactus, completely dried out, and I realised the inside is like a honeycomb, it's like straight up mesh,” he says. “So, I'm going to take a great high-res photo of that cactus, I'm going to bring it to our production team and we're going to make a really cool four-layer mesh out of it. I almost hate sharing it, it's such a great idea.”
“There's a different cactus over here,” he continues, with compelling enthusiasm. “Its skeleton looks like it was printed on a 3D printer, but these things have been around for hundreds of years – the world is so ahead and we're so behind it. This is all we need to do, just take in what nature has to offer us and boom, shortcut.”
And it’s not just materials that Wotherspoon seeks to innovate. “We’re defining the way,” he says, on his drive to overhaul tired approaches within industry, essentially using the hype machine as a force for good. “It would really make me happy if my legacy was to be remembered as someone who questioned things that weren’t typically questioned,” he says.
His advice for those looking to take their aspirations to the next level? “Be consistent, show people that this is something that you love and care about through consistency,” he says. “One of my favourite opportunities right now is to tell everyone who we truly are. You can create that. You're in full control of that narrative.”
The next generation visionaries
Building on Wotherspoon’s story are a new series of mentors, who will in turn share their expertise with the Art of Drive’s audience. Their aim? To inspire a new way of seeing, turning standard approaches and traditional outlooks on their head, in order to take the next generation’s success to new heights.
There’s Grace Ladoja MBE, a British-Nigerian music executive and curator of arts and culture. Manager of artists’ Skepta and Sarz, she’s a champion of creativity, shaping global trends and experiences as she strives to build economical independence in the Black community.
Elsewhere German-Iranian fashion designer Leyla Piedayesh, founder of the Lala Berlin label, began her career in journalism before making the leap to design. She’s an ambassador for cultural diversity, drawing from her Iranian roots and Berlin's multicultural scene to redefine the fashion landscape.
Then there’s Janeya Griffin, the powerhouse businesswoman advocating for tech, entrepreneurship, inclusive innovation and social justice within underserved communities. She mentors, educates and inspires, encouraging everyone that they have the ability to change the world.
From Sean Wotherspoon to Grace Ladoja, Leyla Piedayesh, Janeya Griffin and the platform’s wider community of innovators, The Art of Drive continues to build an in-depth resource of inspiration. We’ll be watching this space for the next generation of creatives it's set to empower.