AE Friends & Family: Meet Andy Sutton, Gola Shoe Head Designer

AE Friends & Family: Meet Andy Sutton, Gola Shoe Head Designer

Andy Sutton is the Head Designer at Gola, a British footwear brand. American Eagle began carrying Gola shoes in July 2011, but Gola has a heritage dating back to 1905. Gola is a great fit for AE because both brands have a strong tradition and style. Read below to learn a little bit more about Andy, who has designed some of the Gola shoes we carry exclusively on AE.com.

Where do you find inspiration?

I am lucky enough to be able to travel quite extensively around the world from Japan and the Far East, to Europe and the US. I try to take inspiration from everything I see rather than just looking at footwear.  We also take influence from keying catwalk looks and emerging high street trends. As always, the internet is a great help in searching out new and exciting ideas.  The Gola back catalogue is also a great source of inspiration and no matter how many times we look at it, you always find something new to take direction from.

Why do you think Gola is a great match for American Eagle?

American Eagle and Gola have many synergies, despite emanating from different sides of the pond! American Eagle offers on trend and affordable apparel, which can be easily teamed with any of Gola’s footwear options to create a great casual look for both men and women.

How did you get into shoe design?

I was studying towards a product design degree in the UK and I needed to find a work placement for a year.  On the off chance, I applied to Gola as I’ve always been a bit of a trainer geek (or should I say a sneaker geek!) and it had the added benefit of being based close to my hometown! Luckily with only one other designer working for the company at the time, they gave me a chance and following the 12 month placement I was offered a job on completion of my degree that I just couldn’t refuse!  I have now worked for the brand for 12 years and the company employs 16 footwear designers that work on a wealth of great brands.

Besides designing shoes for Gola, what are your other passions?

I love snowboarding, so I try to hit the slopes in Europe twice a year.  Last year I also entered my first triathlon race, so as well as continuing with the triathlon training, my next goal is to take on an ‘Iron Man’ event, but the training is tough and with a new baby on the way, I am sure I will have plenty to keep me busy for the next few years.

What is your go-to outfit?

You will find me nearly always wearing jeans & trainers!  The weather in the UK is not so great, so they just work for anything that is thrown at us – usually rain!  Luckily I also have sample size feet, so I tend to get any cast-offs or styles that we decide not to run, so I am always testing out a new Gola style.

What is the coolest place you have ever traveled?

I love going to Japan and find that there is nowhere else quite like Tokyo for shopping and food.  India and the Taj Mahal was a fantastic experience, as was Australia and Ayers Rock. But the “coolest” place was when my wife treated me to a stay in the Ice Hotel for my 30th birthday.  The hotel is made entirely from ice and is on the edge of the Arctic Circle in Sweden, where temperatures regularly drop to -30 in winter.

Get Inspired: Design Team Shopping Trip

Get Inspired: Design Team Shopping Trip

Being a designer for American Eagle Outfitters means that you have to stay ahead of the latest trends and fashion across a spectrum of price points, genres, and brands. From checking out street style, reading fashion blogs and trend reports, to hitting the coolest cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Paris, our designers seek out inspiration in every possible medium. Our design office is in New York City, so it’s easy for our designers to get out of the office and explore the fashion world around them. Connor D., a student at University of Cincinnati, is currently interning in New York City with the American Eagle Outfitters Men’s Knit Design Team.

Design research trips are integral to the product design process. Connor’s mentor, Men’s Cut and Sew Designer Regina M., took him on his first design research trip for new product inspiration in SOHO. Besides checking out all the trend and fashion opportunities SOHO has to offer, Regina and Connor also checked out restaurants and food in the area… you never know where inspiration is going to strike! Regina snapped photos throughout the day with Instagram (you can follow her at @mokface) and Connor described the day to us.

Regina & Connor have breakfast at Mercer Kitchen before shopping.

Regina & Connor have breakfast at Mercer Kitchen before shopping.

Starting the day off right with a bit of small talk and breakfast, Regina (my experienced coworker), explained the process of cramming in a day of research while remaining shopping savvy.

French toast at Mercer Kitchen.

French toast at Mercer Kitchen.

Beginning with the Soho area, she showed me the ins and outs of a New York City shopping trip.  Having specific intentions on what we were to buy, we scoured the streets of Broadway, Greene, and Lafayette just to name a few.

Regina & Connor liked this random black wall in Soho, so they had a mini photo shoot.

Regina & Connor liked this random black wall in Soho, so they had a mini photo shoot.

All the shopping worked up our appetite (again), so after a bite to eat we were back at it!

Regina & Connor stopped for lunch at Café Habana.

Regina & Connor stopped for lunch at Café Habana.

With our sights set on the Upper East Side we continued to seek out interesting finds until the late afternoon when, begrudgingly, we made our way back to the home office to tell the rest of the team about our inspiring day.

I was amazed at the type of design inspiration we gathered from building architecture, interior design at cafes and stores, as well as colors we saw people on the street wearing. Overall, this experience helped me gain a better understanding of where we pull ideas for product designs and colors as well as aspirations for American Eagle Outfitters.

AE Vintage Collegiate Collection: University of Pittsburgh

AE Vintage Collegiate Collection: University of Pittsburgh

We have College graduates from all over the country at American Eagle and want to showcase their style and love for their Alma Mater. Each week we will be featuring an AE employee modeling their favorite pieces from the AE Vintage Collegiate Collection. This week we have Tara M., International Marketing Coordinator and a graduate of University of Pittsburgh, sporting the Pitt Vintage V-Neck T. She shared one of her favorite memories with us from her college days.

“I’d say my favorite memory was finally completing graduate school and receiving my MBA!”

Get your Pitt gear now or shop the rest of the AE Collegiate Collection.

AE Friends and Family: Hillary, Fragrance Bottle Desginer

AE Friends and Family: Hillary, Fragrance Bottle Desginer

Hillary is the wife of Aaron, one of our Back to School 2012 cast members, and designed the fragrance bottles for AE. We talked with her about work, life, inspiration and what it was like to be included in the Back to School photo shoot alongside Aaron.

What is your background?

I was born and raised in beautiful and sunny San Luis Obispo, California. I have a BFA in Graphic Design from Cal Poly State University, also located in San Luis Obispo. I am currently a freelance artist & designer and run my own branding studio, SeaChange Studio.

How did you decide to open your own design studio, SeaChange Studio?

I started Seachange Studio to be able to work on projects that have always inspired me as a designer and to have freedom in my life. I love what I do. Working as a freelance artist and designer has allowed me to branch out and grow in so many incredible ways. I am amazed everyday by the opportunities I have, the people I meet, and the projects I am honored to be a part of.

What have been your favorite design products you have worked on?

The American Eagle men’s and women’s fragrance line by far has been my favorite. The AE team is so incredible to collaborate with. I was honored to be a part of the development. There is so much that goes into the design of a package and the real satisfaction comes when you see people using, enjoying, and interacting with the product. Anything that puts a smile on someone’s face, or has a positive impact on them in some way – that’s the true feeling of success as a designer. If I had to choose a second favorite project, it would be my collaboration with Hansens beverages on designing and illustrating their Admiral Iced Tea Line. And of course I love designing all the products and packaging for my honeybee company – TheraBee (see more about that below!).

From TheraBeeHoney.com.

From TheraBeeHoney.com.

What goes into designing packaging?

The process starts out with research, planning, inspiration, copy writing, sketching and drawing. This initial step includes developing and determining options for shape, color, texture and materials to be used.  Then there’s design, branding, logo development and type treatments. There is a ton of collaboration between people on any given project. There’s the business team, the production team and the creative team all working together as one unit. It’s a diverse group of individuals joining forces together to transform an idea into a real product that is beautiful, functional and useful.  The entire process is always inspiring and rewarding for me.

What was it like being a part of the AE Back to School shoot with Aaron? We loved the American Gothic picture of you two!

It was a blast. We were shooting at our home so it was very comfortable and laid back. Everyone at AE is so down to earth and fun to be around, so it was like having a bunch of friends over, just hanging outside and playing in the dirt and on the tractor like country kids.  I really loved watching Aaron in front of the cameras. He is such a natural. He did such a great job. An then of course out of the blue, I was asked to be a part of the campaign – which I was thankful for and am even more excited our photo is part of the campaign. The campaign truly turned out beautiful.

Hillary and Aaron during the Live Your Life shoot.

Hillary and Aaron during the Live Your Life shoot.

What is the coolest place you’ve ever traveled?

Definitely would be Southeast Asia – Thailand/Vietnam/Laos. I spent 4 months there Studying Abroad in college.  The experiences, people, children, and culture drastically changed me in a way that is forever a part of my heart.  I am so inspired by everything there, the food, the way of living, the smiles, the art, architecture, and history blows me away.

Hillary in Southeast Asia.

Hillary in Nicaragua on her recent honeymoon.

Do you have any cool hobbies or interests?

I am Co-owner and Creative Director of Therabee. We are trying to save the world one bee at a time. I live in an old 1920‘s farmhouse on a ranch that Aaron and I just bought and we are currently working on fixing it up. We’ve got a compost pile and garden and we like supporting the local farms nearby. I have a strong interest in the way we think about the food we eat and our current healthcare and monetary systems.

Hillary and Aaron beekeeping on their property.

Hillary and Aaron beekeeping on their property.

Besides Therabee, my artwork has and is being featured in shows and galleries throughout the US. I am also an avid surfer, snowboarder and adventure travel seeker!

How would you describe your personal style? 

I would describe my style as relaxed, random, comfortable, an eclectic mix and vintage beachy. You can usually find anything in my car that’s needed to switch up a beach look to an afternoon look, to an evening out. My wardrobe is a traveling wardrobe, so I can mix it up wherever and whenever needed.

Hillary's personal style.

Hillary’s personal style.

What is your dream job?

What I am doing right now is the dream I have written about and dreamed about my entire life. The people I’m meeting, the adventures I’m taking, and the freedom I have is something I wouldn’t trade for the world. I’m pinching myself everyday just to make sure it’s all real.  I feel like I have the world’s open arms to me everyday that I wake up and open my eyes and that feeling is just unbelievable. I’m so happy and glad to be where I am.

Where do you find your inspiration?

My musings are completely random. I find inspiration in day to day incidences, people, traveling, music, the wide open road, the mysteries of the sea, our absolutely breathtaking natural environment and through positive thinking. Thank you for inspiring me everyday, people and world!

AE Vintage Collegiate Collection: USC

AE Vintage Collegiate Collection: USC

We have College graduates from all over the country at American Eagle and want to showcase their style and love for their Alma Mater. Each week we will be featuring an AE employee modeling their favorite pieces from the AE Vintage Collegiate Collection. This week we have Elizabeth N., AE Women’s Sweaters Assistant Buyer Teammate and a graduate of University of Southern California, sporting the USC Vintage Raglan Popover. She shared one of her favorite memories with us from her college days.

“It is a senior tradition at USC that on the last Thursday of classes, all the seniors attempt to run through all 30+ fountains spread throughout campus. It’s a victory lap with all your friends to celebrate all the good times, the hard times, the loves, the heart breaks, the wins, the losses, and what’s to come. Fight on!”

Get your USC gear now or shop the rest of the AE Collegiate Collection.

How to Wear It: Fall Scarves

We always love all the cool ways we see scarves styled, so we asked the American Eagle Accessories Design Team to show us some fun ways to style and tie our different Fall scarves.

Erica, Sr. Designer – Soft Accessories, transitions her summer hi-lo skirt with the AE Denim Jacket and the AEO Ikat Loop Scarf.

Erica, Sr Designer - Soft Accessories, wears her scarf with lots of layers.

Erica, Sr Designer – Soft Accessories, wears her scarf with lots of layers.

Darby, Sr. Designer – Bags, shows how to tie the European Loop with the AEO Feather Scarf.

Step one: Start with your favorite non-loop scarf.

Step one: Start with your favorite non-loop scarf.

Step two: Fold scarf in half, then put around your neck with the hoop on one side of the shoulder.

Step two: Fold scarf in half, then put around your neck with the hoop on one side of the shoulder.

Step two: Fold scarf in half, then put around your neck with the hoop on one side of the shoulder.

Step two: Fold scarf in half, then put around your neck with the hoop on one side of the shoulder.

The finished product!

The finished product!

 

Jazz up your basics with the AEO Paisley Loop Scarf to add print to your look like Amy – Sr Designer, Women’s Accessories.

Amy – Sr Designer, Women’s Accessories, adds print to her look with the AEO Paisley Loop Scarf.

Amy – Sr Designer, Women’s Accessories, adds print to her look with the AEO Paisley Loop Scarf.

 

Wish your favorite printed scarf was a loop scarf? Carla, Sr. CAD Designer, shows you how with the AEO Flying Birds Scarf.

Step One: Hold your scarf length-wise.

Step One: Hold your scarf length-wise.

Step Two: Tie the ends of the scarf in a knot.

Step Two: Tie the ends of the scarf in a knot.

Step Three: Wrap the scarf circle around your neck.

Step Three: Wrap the scarf circle around your neck.

 

We’re loving ikat again for Fall. Ikat is a timeless print that never really goes out of fashion. Add it to your look with the AEO Ikat Scarf, modeled here by Roberta, Sr Designer – Women’s  Shoes.

Roberta, Sr. Designer - Women's shoes, adds some color with the AEO Ikat Loop Scarf.

Roberta, Sr. Designer – Women’s shoes, adds some color with the AEO Ikat Loop Scarf.

Feel like tying your scarf the classic way? Melissa, Associate Designer – Women’s Accessories, adds some color with the AEO Printed Scarf.

Step one: Choose the perfect scarf for your look and hold lengthwise.

Step one: Choose the perfect scarf for your look and hold lengthwise.

Step Two: Take one side of your scarf and wrap around your neck until the opposite sides are on each end.

Step Two: Take one side of your scarf and wrap around your neck until the opposite sides are on each end.

Step Three: Show off your classic scarf look!

Step Three: Show off your classic scarf look!

What’s your favorite way to wear a scarf? Let us know below in the comments.

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