Modern Moto Magazine ISSUE No. 6 - January 2018 - Page 22

Laura Montandon Wolverine Worldwide’s Designer for Harley-Davidson® Footwear Designing for motorcycle riders and for a brand that has such a dedicated fan base such as Harley-Davidson has a unique set of challenges. My family’s apprecia on of the culture has allowed me to be er connect with the core customer to understand what moves them. That, coupled with industry and trend research, has helped me to understand the market be er and enhance my design work. Harley-Davidson® has encouraged women to ride for a very long me, and one of the ways the company currently encourages women to ride is by providing a wide selec on of fashion-forward, comfortable and protec ve boots. Modern Moto recently caught up with Laura Montandon, the designer for Harley's boot licensee, Wolverine. Here is her story: I N S P I R AT I O N What led you to specialize in motorcycle boots? I always hoped to have a career in design and fashion, even from an early age. I began my career working in trend, color and materials for the footwear brand, Cushe, before taking the leap into design within Wolverine Worldwide for the Harley-Davidson® Footwear product line. I have a family with an affi nity for riding and the motorcycle culture, and when an opportunity arose to blend my love of motorcycles with my passion for design, I jumped feet fi rst. What educa on/training have you had? My original degree is in tex le design; however, once I knew I wanted to be a designer, I enrolled and completed a course at Arsutoria School of shoe and handbag design based in Milan. From there, I began working on projects within Wolverine Worldwide before fully transi oning into a design role. What life experiences have been the most valuable as prepara on for your design work? 22 Where do you get ideas for boots? Are there places where you go to see what people are wearing? Do you look for specifi c types of people when you look to see what people are wearing? Do you look at motorcycle people, or non-motorcycle people or both? At Harley-Davidson Footwear, we have two dis nct lines of footwear: casual and performance. From a design and trend perspec ve, I look at diff erent consumers, follow infl uencers and content creators online and pay a en on to catwalk trends. I take this informa on and then look at it through the Harley lens to see how the trends can translate in a way that resonates with our customers. When it comes to riding footwear, safety and performance features are very important. I always strive to be er understand the needs of the rider. I con nually connect with suppliers to seek out what new innova ons are in the market and how they can fi t into our performance footwear. There’s also a famous biker bar in London called The Bike Shed, which I frequent to people watch for inspira on. If you are ge ng cues off of a motorcycle, such as a new model Harley has unveiled, what do you look for? I’m in a unique posi on in that I have the exper se and background of such a great footwear manufacturer as Wolverine Worldwide to combine with the iconic history of Harley-Davidson. This pairing allows for some really dynamic designs and performance footwear. Harley- Davidson Motor Company (HDMC) truly gives us the freedom to design and create footwear without a lot of restric ons. Because our development schedule diff ers from HDMC’s, design is less about a specifi c motorcycle launch and more about connec ng with the consumer