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.

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