City of Miami Gardens resident, Precious Hannah a student at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit Michigan, recently tried her skills and luck and entered a the “PinSoul” design contest sponsored by Nike Corporation via mesh01.com and won the opportunity to travel to Washington County, Oregon to participate in the company’s two week design program that afforded a select group of students to work hands on in the company’s creative and intense work culture that symbolizes “Just Do It.”.
She entered the contest and submitted her designs earlier this year and within days of her submission she received a call from the company’s Director of Footwear Design at brand Jordan, Dwayne Edwards, letting her know that he was impressed with her designs and he wanted to see more.
Once Hannah and the other students arrived, they realized that they were not going to be designing tennis shoes, but sandals for the Victoria Secret Pink Collection. Hannah said Edwards knew that she could design tennis shoes; he wanted to see what else she was capable of. “I was shocked when I received the assignment. I don’t wear or design sandals,” stated Hannah, but she knew she had to flexible, because Edwards wanted to see what else she could do and if she could meet the organizations challenge. Hannah’s drive and determination would not let her throw in the towel, but rise to the challenge.
“I was in Victoria Secret for 3 hours looking at the Bio Fit bra for research for my shoe design.”
Hannah decided to base her shoe after the Victoria Secret Bio- Fit bra which can be worn seven ways and designed a shoe that could do the same.
“I took the bra strap mechanism so you could hook it [the bra] anyway you want to.”
The shoes could be adjusted to many styles to be worn for different occasions. She also designed them with different strap sizes to fit a consumer’s preference.
The inspiration for her Victoria Secret Pink shoe design was the sting ray and the feel beach sand. She liked how sting rays flowed in water and how they become one with things. Hannah liked how beach sand hugged the foot when you step on it and wanted her shoe sole to have that same feel. In her shoe design she has a mechanism that could filter out the sand that gets trapped in shoes. The main materials she used to create this shoe were memory foam and plastic.
“I hate walking on the beach and all that sand gets into my shoe, so I thought it would be cool to have something that removed it automatically for you.”
Hannah is always mindful of how people will be able to use the products that she creates and how practical and beneficial they will be to whoever purchases it.
Hannah says the program did not end when the two week trip was up. They still have to be in communication with the program director and keep improving on their designs until they reach a final product.
The competition for a job at Nike is stiff and few black women have worked for the company. But Hannah just sees this as motivation to keep pushing towards her dreams to be a Nike designer.
“You’re more likely to get drafted into the NBA, than to work for Nike. That makes me work harder.”
Hannah said that the company looks for drive and ambition more that someone who can draw footwear. The Nike Company also looks for applicants that have good grades as well. To even enter the summer program Hannah had to have at least a 3.3 grade point average.
She wanted to make a good impression and show her directors that she wanted this. She arrived to the work at 7am and left every night at 10pm; they were only required to be there from 9am to 8pm.
“I was the first one there and the last to leave. I made sure that he [Dwayne Edwards] saw me.”
The summer program has started the necessary relationship Hannah needs in order to be considered for an internship and later a job.
Hannah was 15 years old when she starting designing shoes. She was already studying design at Design and Architecture Senior High, located in the Design District of Miami, so to switch her focus to shoe design was not a problem.After learning of a friend’s internship with the Nike Corporation; she realized that a career as shoe designer was something she wanted to do.
“I didn’t know that females were designing shoes. I started drawing shoes every chance that I could get.” said Hannah.
“I began to draw so many shoes that my art teacher said that if I drew anymore that she would fail me.” Hannah said laughing.
The inspiration for most of Hannah’s shoe designs is nature. She draws ideas from the “River Monsters”show, which airs on the Discovery Channel, for a creative boost. The show’s host explores exotic places for rare creatures and this exploration sometimes causes him to be in dangerous predicaments. Hannah likes his brave and adventurous ways and enjoys seeing the exotic creatures he discovers.
“I like his daringness… I think to myself, how can I incorporate this into a shoe design.”
Hannah’s father past away when she was 2003 and her brother, Earl Hannah, has stepped in as the father figure for his little sister. He provides for her anything that she needs and is never too busy to help her with any problem she may have. There close relationship was evident as they often time finished each other’s sentences.
“She will be the first in our family to graduate from college. I’m so proud of her.” said Earl Hannah.
“It’s amazing to see all the things she comes up with. She’s so creative!”
Hannah has also designed products other than tennis shoes that are very innovative, such as a futuristic clock and trendy card holder.
“I basically see problems and think of ways to solve them.”
Hannah marches to the beat of her own drum and is an excellent example of originality. She is what Miami Gardens’ students are: ordinary people doing extraordinary things.