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JD Green and Erika Tompkins
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Collaborative project wins CFDA Kenneth Cole Footwear Innovation Award

Posted on June 15, 2017

We are proud to share that CE friend Erika Tompkins, a recent graduate of the Academy of Art University, has been awarded the 2017 CFDA Kenneth Cole Footwear Innovation Award for a project she did in collaboration with CE artist Joseph “JD” Green.

Erika and JD first met when Erika visited the studio and was interested in some of JD’s artwork. “JD’s monotype prints on paper brought me back to my childhood, which made me want to know more about him and his work,” Tomkins says. When she visited his artist profile on CE’s website, she discovered that he has co-curated a shoe-themed exhibition in 2014 and wondered if he would be interested in working with her on shoe designs for submission to CFDA.

 “I wanted this project to be more about just shoes and sort of take on an activist role like Kenneth Cole does,” Tompkins says. She and JD worked with Piñatex, a branded sustainable textile made from pineapple leaf fibers. “My project became about creating shoes with a handmade and sustainable element. . . It was also about bringing awareness to artists with disabilities who do amazing work.”

As for their collaborative process, Tompkins says, “JD and I worked very well together. I asked him his opinions on the styles of shoes I would sketch before I came in and wanted him to be involved more than just the prints.” Green explains further, “We put the paint on a kind of glass to press it on the fabric, and then I used a pencil, a knife, or a comb, to scratch faces and abstract stuff into it.”

“It still does not feel real.” Tompkins reflects. “With winning came the opportunity to attend the CFDA Awards this year which were amazing. It was an unforgettable night. And next is the opportunity to work for Kenneth Cole come September with a one-year fellowship program in New York. I will forever be grateful for the friendship JD and I created throughout the journey and will always admire his work.”

Asked whether he has any plans to do more fashion design, Green says, “Winning was really cool, but I’m not really into fashion design, just the art part.”

Click here to see a short video about the project.

Erika Tompkins with Kenneth Cole
Erika Tompkins at the 2017 CFDA Awards

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