The Community Team recently sat down with Ariat footwear designers Hollin and Jose. Hollin and Jose design a variety of boot lines for Ariat including Western, New West, Rugged West, Lifestyle and English.
What does craftsmanship means to you?
H: I worked as an artist prior to becoming a designer and have always been obsessed with making things. I love working with my hands – whether it’s drawing, or constructing sculptural elements. Designing footwear uses some of the same processes, but with different materials. At work, I’m focused on leather, shape, texture, embroidery, and color.
J: I’m the same way artistically – craftsmanship for me embodies the impulse to create and to make things. Craftsmanship as it applies to designing footwear has more parameters, and one needs to use a very raw, abstract way of thinking to be successful.
How does Ariat embody that philosophy of craftsmanship?
J: Footwear design is a challenge to use materials that are available, in combination with shape. At Ariat, we handpick our materials, develop the shape, and then execute to the detail whether it’s texture, color or pattern.
H: Leather and shape are the most important elements. After that, we look to details such as stitch patterns for Western, or zippers or lace applications for English.
What inspires your designs?
J: Sometimes we use an abstract way of thinking to start our design process that may involve looking outside our heritage categories. Further down the process, we will blend those inspirations to our categories at Ariat. For example a few seasons ago, we looked to the Jutti, a traditional shoe from India, to influence our design for a fashion boot.
H: Every season seems to have a different story. We look at a broad array of topics that pertain to the category we are working on. For example, for the Western boots, we may explore Americana, motorcycles, cars, sunsets in the Southwest, and living off the land. It’s really a combination of internal and external stimulation.
Last question - what are you wearing today?
H: A new, dressy round toe that is in development. It’s called the Bandera.
J – I’m wearing the Bodie.