airbender

a pair of roller-skates and four accessories inspired by bubble wrap

Sponsored by Detroit Skate Factory, the "airbender" collection is a set of five pieces designed for the Detroit Derby Girls. The collection includes a pair of roller-skate shoes, an elbow pad, a utility case, an accessory bag, and a rollerskate bag.

Incorporating air as a material, this collection draws inspiration from bubble wrap and its protective nature, also referencing the Avatar anime character's air-bending superpower. The result is a feminine silhouette that is both protective and empowering.

Inspired by traditional bell-making techniques, I created a system to manipulate leather to form "bubble leather." Additionally, I designed the cup soles to emphasize the aerial silhouette of the shoes. The soles were cast from transparent silicone using a custom mold. I challenged the construction and clich├ęd of the traditional sneaker patterns by merging components and wrapping the leather around the foot asymmetrically. The pattern is shaped organically and smoothly like a stream winds through bubbles, emphasizing the sensuality of form and leather.

The multidisciplinary undertaking in this project encompasses design, engineering, material technology, sports technology, and fine craftsmanship.

impact
The "airbender" roller skate has been recognized for its innovative design and honored by being added to a permanent College for Creative Studies collection.

credit
Leona Flowers - Photographer
Alice Sadler - Model

year
2017


other projects