Interview with Yinghua Lu From the United States

bOcA Studio Designers | MUSE Design Awards
Interview with the Designers of bOcA Studio | United States
July 4, 2024
Studio Taila | MUSE Design Awards
Interview with Studio Taila | Thailand
July 4, 2024

Yinghua Lu

Yinghua Lu is a footwear designer with exceptional skills due to a solid foundation in product design from ArtCenter. She has had experience contributing to projects for globally recognized sports brands like ANTA and ADIDAS.

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your design background.
Hello, I'm Yinghua Lu, and I'm thrilled to be here as a footwear designer. My journey started with a solid foundation in product design from ArtCenter, where I honed my skills in the intricate process of footwear creation. Throughout my career, I've had the experience of contributing to projects for globally recognized sports brands like ANTA and ADIDAS. My passion for footwear runs deep, and I'm dedicated to pushing boundaries and crafting captivating, innovative projects within this dynamic industry.
2What made you become/why did you choose to become a designer/artist?
I became a product designer driven by my deep passion for footwear. Since childhood, I've been fascinated by shoes, constantly observing the latest trends and styles around me. Eventually, I had an epiphany: why not turn this passion into a career in footwear design? This realization prompted me to relocate to Los Angeles and begin my journey at ArtCenter.
3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.

As a footwear designer, my main task is to conceptualize and actualize designs for shoes. Every day, I immerse myself in observing prevailing fashion trends, industry advancements, and street styles to anticipate the next major trend.

The challenge lies in finding the right equilibrium between creativity and commercial feasibility. It's crucial to infuse each design with creativity while ensuring it resonates with consumers and can be manufactured efficiently. Ultimately, the success of any design concept depends on its practicality for production, no matter how innovative it may be.

4What does “design” mean to you?

To me, design is the journey of translating abstract ideas and visions into practical and tangible solutions that enrich the lives of individuals. Design embodies a seamless fusion of creativity, utility, and viability, with the overarching aim of delivering profound and meaningful experiences to users.

As a footwear designer, it extends beyond crafting visually appealing shoes; it encompasses comprehending the wants and needs of consumers, interpreting evolving fashion trends, and innovating to develop products that excel in both form and function, resonating deeply with the market.

5What’s your favorite kind of design and why?

My favorite kind of design is definitely footwear design. What draws me to it is the perfect blend of fashion, functionality, and innovation that footwear embodies. It's incredibly fulfilling to channel my creativity into tangible products that people wear daily.

I thrive on the challenge of anticipating and setting trends, infusing each design with captivating storytelling elements, and striking the delicate balance between creativity and commercial success. Additionally, the fast-paced nature of the footwear industry keeps me constantly engaged and inspired.

6To you, what makes a “good” design?
To me, a "good" design goes beyond mere functionality and aesthetics; it cultivates a deep emotional bond with its users. Footwear, in particular, possesses this enchanting quality.
7Describe your design style and its main characteristics.
My design style embodies a harmonious fusion of aesthetics and functionality, with a penchant for understated elegance and meticulous attention to detail.
8Tell us about your design process.
My design process is adaptable, and tailored to each unique project, yet it consistently follows a logical sequence: observation, research, ideation, and prototyping. Through observation, I immerse myself in the subject matter, gaining a profound understanding of its intricacies. Thorough research from the outset enables me to unearth insights and identify optimal solutions.
9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?
As a Chinese, I am influenced by the subtle and reserved nature of Chinese culture. Just like kung fu, which uses softness to overcome hardness. My cultural background leads me to pay attention to details while focusing on engaging content. This aspect greatly aids me in storytelling because captivating narratives are often filled with intricate details that invite careful examination.
10Congratulations! As the winner of the 2024 MUSE Design Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?
Winning the 2024 MUSE Design Awards is an immense honor for me, especially considering the stiff competition from seasoned professionals and prominent companies. This accolade represents not only wider acknowledgment of my work but also validation of my design capabilities within the industry's competitive arena. It underscores our dedication to innovation, creativity, and design excellence. Moreover, it highlights my ability to deliver outstanding design solutions that resonate with both consumers and industry peers.
11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2024 MUSE Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

Certainly! HYPEX represents a groundbreaking creek shoe design that seamlessly blends outdoor functionality with hypebeast style. What sets HYPEX apart is its pioneering incorporation of safety belt-inspired elements, ensuring a secure foot lockdown for optimal stability, even in challenging terrains. Users have the flexibility to customize their fit by adjusting the metal pieces, providing varying levels of elasticity with a simple pull or push motion.

Additionally, the infusion of gorpcore style elements elevates both comfort and support, setting a new benchmark for urban river tracing enthusiasts. By integrating speed-dry materials, ergonomic design principles, and cutting-edge outdoor footwear trends, HYPEX guarantees unmatched performance and aesthetics.

I chose to enter this concept into the competition to introduce a truly distinctive product to the footwear industry. I aim to showcase a design that resonates with trend-conscious individuals while emphasizing its suitability for outdoor activities. Through HYPEX, I hope to capture attention and inspire more people to embrace this innovative and stylish option for their outdoor adventures.

12What was the biggest challenge with this project?
One of the biggest challenges I faced was striking the right balance between aesthetics and functionality. While designing for trendy individuals, I also had to ensure the shoe met the performance demands of water tracing activities. This required careful consideration to seamlessly integrate fashionable elements with practical features, ultimately delivering a product that not only looks stylish but also performs exceptionally well in outdoor environments.
13How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?
Winning the 2024 MUSE Design Awards has been a pivotal moment in my career and professional development. It has propelled my practice to new heights, signifying a remarkable achievement amid fierce competition from established professionals and industry giants. This accolade not only signifies broader recognition of my work but also serves as a validation of my design acumen within the highly competitive industry. It reaffirms my commitment to innovation, creativity, and excellence in design, while also showcasing my ability to deliver exceptional solutions that resonate with both consumers and industry peers.
14What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?

My top three favorite aspects of the industry would have to be:

1) The ongoing innovation and evolution.

2) The opportunity to actively contribute to the creative process and potentially serve as the creator behind the scenes.

3) The fulfillment derived from identifying and resolving unmet needs to enhance people's lives.

The dynamic nature of our field ensures that each day is filled with new challenges and opportunities, which keeps my mind engaged and invigorated.

15What makes your country specifically, unique in the design industry?
What distinguishes my country in the design industry is its exceptional efficiency and swift responsiveness within the supply chain. This agility empowers us to accomplish feats that may seem insurmountable and consistently surpass expectations with our timely and effective solutions.
16Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?
I foresee the footwear design industry evolving over the next 5-10 years towards a paradigm where shoes are not just individual products people buy, but rather integral pieces that complement and enhance their outfits. Each shoe will be imbued with its own unique story, becoming a statement piece that adds depth and personality to the wearer's ensemble.
17If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Design Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?
For aspiring students entering the industry or those considering submitting to the MUSE Design Awards my advice would be to focus on effectively communicating your story to the viewer. Pay attention to the details and thoroughly understand the motivation behind your design decisions. Ultimately, it's all about effectively communicating your ideas and the story behind your design.
18Who has inspired you in your life and why?
I've been fortunate to draw inspiration from many individuals in my life. My father has always sparked my imagination since I was young, while my mother's unwavering encouragement has been a constant source of inspiration. Additionally, as I've entered this industry, numerous designers I've had conversations with have provided me with courage and guidance. Their insights and wisdom inspire me every day, expanding my knowledge and pushing me to new heights in my career.
19What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
Passion always wins.
20Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?
In closing, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to my parents, friends, the designers I've met in the industry, and all those who have supported and guided me along the way. Their unwavering assistance and encouragement have been indispensable on my journey, and I am deeply grateful for their contributions to my success. I could not have made it this far without them.

Winning Entry

HYPEX | MUSE Design Awards

HYPEX is a creek shoe design that seamlessly blends outdoor functionality with hypebeast style. What sets HYPEX apart is its innovative incorporation of safety belt-inspired elements for secure foot... (read more here.)

Yinghua Lu

Yinghua Lu is a footwear designer with exceptional skills due to a solid foundation in product design from ArtCenter. She has had experience contributing to projects for globally recognized sports brands like ANTA and ADIDAS.

Read more about the interview with the Designers of bOcA Studio here.