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Kaya Footwear

"Design Thinking may have begun as a western concept, but a reverse flow of concepts is only a matter of time."

– Bruce Nussbaum

Kaya Footwear is described as- Design-for-Development-Reversal" .  This product is imagined as something that might be

designed and manufactured IN an emerging economy FOR a developed one.


DEMOGRAPHIC

GEN Y LOOKING FOR A CAUSE

Tourist markets and “western” consumer markets have always meant big money.  With a rising interest in social entrepreneurship, fair trade, and social justice, progressive youth continue to support authentic products that support people.  These trends make a lucrative entry point for well designed emerging-economy-products which tell a story about its origins. 

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URBAN NOMAD

bRANDON, 22-35, SERVICE INDUSTRY

Frequent traveller

Daily City Commuter

CONNOISSEUR

 

LOOKING FOR

QUALITY BESPOKE

COMFORT OVER BUSINESS

BRANDS THAT TELL STORIES

PART TIME WORLD SAVER

 

 


INSPIRED BY DEVELOPMENT

In emerging economies like Kenya, products often have a rich visual narrative.  Accessibility, economic status, and customization all play a roll in how an object works and communicates.   Local materials often mean big constraints, but also produce creative meaningful narratives.

MATERIALS

In Kenya, everywhere you look there are exotic colors and patterns.  From birds, to plant life, to clothing, there is no shortage of bold beautiful imagery. 

Maize is one of Kenya’s biggest agricultural products.  Its by-product also represents one of the largest agricultural waste industries.  Kaya Footwear explores corn products as a textural matrix reducing urethane compounds.

Return a bottle of Coke and you can get 5 cents back on your purchase, right?  In Kenya, if you buy a goat you can return its skin for a refund on your purchase.  

 

LOCAL PROPORTIONS

Although the final offering may not be worn by rural Kenyans, its shape and size were inspired by their feet.  Kaya Footwear was designed to have a wide toe-box, as-well-as a high toe and heel on the sole to protect the foot.

Wide Toe Box

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High Toe and Heel

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ECOLOGY OF THE SHOE

COMPLEXITY IN PRODUCTION

  • 2 materials
  • 5-10 operations
  • Repairable
  • Low Cost/Tech
 
  • 20 parts
  • 100 operations
  • Unrepairable
  • High Cost/Tech

CONCEPT EXPLORATION

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MAKING AN IMPRESSION

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FINAL DESIGN

OBJECT & ARTIFACT

The subtle material and construction choices are meant to give the owner of this object an entry point to its origins.  The owner may then develop a more meaningful relationship with this- an artifact of resources, people, and place; NOT simply monetary value.


  • THIS PROJECT REPRESENTS THE CULMINATION OF MY GRADUATE STUDIES IN DESIGN AND DRAWS ON SEVERAL MONTHS OF RESEARCH CONDUCTED IN NAIROBI, MOMBASA, & KAYAFUNGO KENYA, AS-WELL-AS SAN FRANCISCO CALIFORNIA.