Design to Tell a Story


The world’s top three makers of sports footwear are Nike, Adidas, and do you know what comes next? It’s Puma, though I thought it was New Balance. I like sneakers and buy at least one pair every season, but I’m getting tired of the above four makers, to be honest. “To want to be unique is a cliché, and that way of thinking itself is not unique.” This is what I knowingly wrote in the past article, but I have to admit I might like to have something different from others, subconsciously. This tendency seems to be especially true in Generation Z (people born after the late 90’s or early 2000’s). Sneakers now popular among them are “Dad sneakers.”

You can see how they look like by googling by the above words. They look very comfortable and more like walking shoes preferred by people who don’t pay attention to the appearance of shoes. OK, let me say straight out. They look ugly from my perspective, as their names suggest. Generation Z may just show their resistance to traditional values or emphasize function (comfortability in this case) above all. In case of the former, it can be interpreted they try to turn the existing definition of good design upside down. In case for the latter, they appear to ignore the value of design.

This tendency can’t be dismissed just as the rashness of youth because it is said that even Millennials (people in one generation older than Generation Z) give the most importance to sustainability or eco-friendliness in their purchasing decisions. Now that there’s no big difference in the price, quality, and design of various products in the market, this may be a natural consequence. We’ve tried hard to develop furniture with good design, but we should stop and think about what good design is. I believe the raison d’etre of our company expressed by the words “Making furniture by forest” meets the needs of the times like sustainability and eco-friendliness. We should focus more on how we can express our mission in design, rather than merely whether the design of our products looks good or not.


Shungo Ijima

He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.


Photo Credit: https://www.businessinsider.com/balenciaga-releases-new-shoe-zen-collection-inspired-by-athletes-2020-1


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