Designing Escadrille

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Jordan Humble, founder of Escadrille, talks about the company’s product design process and 3 figures that have inspired him.

Design is at the heart of everything that we craft. It’s an expression of who we are. Purposeful and intentional design drive the aesthetic and functional properties of everything we do. From product to pictures, the plan starts with a purpose.

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There are three people that I have looked to for design inspiration – Dieter Rams, Steve Jobs, and Yvon Chouinard.

Dieter Rams is know for creating the Ten Principles of Good Design. It is all about sustainable design, “honest” products, innovation, and simplicity – less, but better. At first I would keep a list of these principles in the front of my “Let My People Go Surfing” book as a constant reminder of what I am trying to do. After awhile I memorized the principles and it became habit. I would suggest than anyone in the design field look into Dieter Rams. In the end everything we do as an impact on the world around us, so our work better be worth it.

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Yvon Chouinard’s “Let My People Go Surfing” has been a brand bible for me, of sorts. In college I would carry it around with me everywhere. When I had a break, I would read the same chapters over and over again. I contemplated what I wanted Escadrille to be for 2 years before I ever started designing. Yvon talks about the whole picture – social and environmental sustainability – and he has changed how the outdoor industry makes product. I think that the cycling apparel market is dragging behind when it comes to sustainability though. There seems to be so much waste in the apparel market. Stores and discounters filled with clothes. More than we could ever want. We are overwhelmed with options. I want to create as few products as possible that have the most impact. If a jersey is only good in one kind of terrain or climate, then I think that takes away from it’s value. Why have 2 jerseys when one will do the trick? Why have 5 cheap jerseys for a season when you could have one high quality piece that will last a lifetime and get better with age?

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Lastly, Steve Jobs has inspired me by his constant innovative and vision. It seemed as if Mr. Jobs lived in a world that was a decade ahead of most of us. He saw what he was trying to do before he even had the ability to do it. Before we knew what he was talking about. I love to see innovation that shakes up an industry – and changes it forever. The sportswear apparel market is the next frontier. Smart technology is going to change what we wear in changes that we can’t even imagine.

These men have taught me several things. I think that so many people just focus on the product and that’s it. In the end, those products don’t seem very special. The key is to focus on what you are trying to create – making sure that everything it touches is good in every way. The iphone was the result of what Steve Jobs was trying to create. The “best” products are truly a result of everything else coming together.

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