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ArtCenter Alumna Designing Shoes for Olympian Allyson Felix’s New Lifestyle Shoe Company

Published on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 | 4:53 am

An ArtCenter College of Design Alumna is the designer behind Olympian Allyson Felix’s new line of women’s athletic shoes, which was just announced last month.

Natalie Candrian graduated from ArtCenter with an industrial design degree in 1989 and now lives in Portland, Oregon.

She has now teamed with Felix’s brand new shoe company, Saysh, where she has already designed the line’s inaugural offering: the Saysh One lifestyle shoe.

“It’s really a brand that is founded and the product itself created by women, and it’s really for women,” Candrian said. “So everything we do at Saysh is really with her in mind and her first, which is something in the sports industry that is not the case.”

“Historically, everything starts with a male perspective and product that is made for men. Then, a lot of times, it’s sized down and recolored for women, especially in footwear,” she said. “The difference here is that we started with her in mind, considering the performance for her and considering the shoe is being made for her.”

In addition to the Saysh One, which was released last week, Candrian also helped design the spikes which Felix is currently using to run.

“We have new products in the works,” she added. “There will be new colors of the existing shoe coming pretty soon this fall. Then, we have more colors coming spring and summer, and we have new design plans for late-spring and summer next year.”

Candrian has previously worked for Adidas and Bike, according to ArtCenter Provost Karen Hofmann.

She is just one ArtCenter graduate who has gone on to make big strides in the footwear industry, Hofmann said. “ I can go on and on with our alumni that have done great things at Adidas or Nike, Under Armour, Vans.”

“What the secret sauce is there is that the process that ArtCenter has in product design is that it’s really built on problem-solving and it’s built on really exploring human-centered options and processes that really do innovate new ways of looking at footwear,” she said.

“It’s not just about how it looks, but it’s how it functions. It’s about the use of materials and ways to manufacture them,” Hofmann added. “So it’s a very in-depth experience that they got during their education at ArtCenter that led them to have these roles or at least the opportunities to enter the industry with strong portfolios in footwear, as an example.”

Candrian said she still calls upon lessons learned at ArtCenter to this day.

“Whenever somebody asks me, “Do you think you can get it done?” it kind of makes me smile, because if you’ve gone through ArtCenter, you get it done,” she said.

“It’s the passion, really, that drives what we do. That’s something that is really fueled by being at ArtCenter; through the school, through the teaching body, as well as our colleagues and students,” Candrian said. “You just keep going until you reach the finish line.”

Another lesson she carries with her from ArtCenter is “holding yourself to the highest standards, and to keep pushing until it’s the best it can be,” she said.

More information on Saysh is available online at

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