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EP 227: Alphonso Rawls: Design for the culture

This week we talk to Alphonso Rawls — former pro skater and a leader in skate shoe design.

While he was riding for brands like Airwalk, Etnies, Droors, Duff's, among others, he began designing shoes for many of those companies, and others, before becoming head of footwear design for DC. There he designed the Court model, which has been DC's biggest-selling shoe to this day.

More recently, Alf launched his own lines:

Everybody Skates: A skate / streetwear brand that borrows heavily from pop culture (

Savale: A luxury sneaker brand making limited-edition skate shoes that you can actually skate in if you have money like that (

We get a little deep on the details of sneaker design. Geek out on that if you're interested, and there are a couple of BIG lessons for everyone building a brand or a career:

1. Make sure you know why people are buying your product. It can be the best in the world but if it doesn't meet the emotional and functional needs of your customer, it isn't going to work.

2. Hear how Alf is involving his audience in the creative process. That kind of transparency and engagement is exactly what consumers are coming to expect from their brands.

Go buy some fits and kicks while you listen to this episode.


If you liked this one, check out our interviews with Persue.

Mix Engineer: James Soriano




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