Friday Five with Aaron Childress of Woollier

You don’t have to be a sneakerhead to love and appreciate a well-designed pair of kicks and with sneakers becoming permanently embedded in high-fashion, it’s nice to see a brand doing it well, like Los Angeles-based Woollier. Aaron Childress, the founder and creative director of the luxe sneaker brand, designs and creates each pair to resemble fine art, with each gold embossed with its own run number and the total quantity made. Inspired by a mix of 80s and 90s basketball pop culture, Muhammad Ali, and mother nature, each sleek pair of sneakers are handmade in Italy using the finest calf or nubuck leathers and finished off with gold detailing. What began as a word of mouth business which involved fitting clients in their homes has now grown to outfitting some of the most prominent athletes of today (and more). This Friday Five checks in with the sneaker aficionado to see what keeps him happy and his creativity piqued.

Photo by Lance Webel via Flickr

1. Juxtaposition. Some of the most interesting artistic outcomes are created through contrast. Themes of humility and greatness, power and elegance, opulence and class are ever present and prominent in the human experience; these ideas inspired my first collection. Moreover, I believe that juxtaposition creates a tension that is resolved through good design. Simple Distinction is the underlying contrast principle that guides my creative direction. It supports an aesthetic that is nostalgic yet relevant.

Still of Nicolas Cage in The Weather Man (2005)

2. Writing. Studying screenwriting – essentially, how to develop story – has been cathartic for me. I discovered my interest in it during a challenging time in my life when my dad was battling cancer and I recently reengaged with the process. It has taught me that a problem can be solved, but a dilemma must be resolved through a change in perspective. In life, most circumstances that we view as problems are really dilemmas – they cannot be solved, but rather they require introspection to overcome. Understanding this nuance has not only helped me with storytelling, but also with my personal growth. A great example is one of my favorite movies, “The Weather Man”. In it, the protagonist struggles with the eventuality that the numerous possibilities of who he might become have whittled down as he has grown older. Ultimately, he must find a way to be happy with the man that he has become “in this shit life”.

Photo courtesy of Aaron Lacy

3. Aaron Lacy. He’s an amazing photographer in Los Angeles. I love his “milk” series – it’s the height of juxtaposition. Many of the pieces capture the milk splash in a way that makes the fluid appear as a solid sculpture. His process and technique of creating oversized, hyper-detailed prints is unique.

Photo courtesy of Earth Trekkers

4. Florence. Florence is my favorite city in Italy. Some of the finest leathers come from Florence, the energy of the city is electric, and there is so much history there – it was at the center of the Renaissance. It’s a quick drive from the city to the countryside and riding a scooter through town is a great way to experience the city.

5. Los Angeles. I love LA. It has the hustler spirit of New York mixed with a laid back element that takes the edge off – it fits my personality perfectly. Plus, I’m really big on weather. The startup community is growing quickly as well. Particularly in fashion, there’s so much emerging talent coming out that is shaping the culture. I think the aesthetic coming out of LA is driving menswear right now. I’m really motivated by the success I’m seeing all around me.

Caroline Williamson is Editorial Director of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.