The Man Who’s Making Nike More Sustainable

by MR Magazine Staff

Arthur Huang, CEO of design group Miniwiz, is a designer and trained architect. He’s been working with Nike for the better part of a decade, helping the company create NikeLab spaces and making its processes and products more sustainable. But here’s the thing: He doesn’t really like design. And there’s a reason. “When you first get inspired to study design or architecture or engineering, you think you’re trying to change the world for the better,” Huang says. “Unfortunately, you see your colleagues, you see your professors, you see how things are being designed and manufactured, and you get quite sick. There’s a lot of waste.” Everyone wants to create something new, to make an impact on the design world with their unique shapes and special materials. But as Huang describes it, that misses the point of what great design should be. Great design should solve problems, not create them, and in 2017 the biggest issue facing the world is the health of our environment. And using brand-new materials isn’t helping. Yes, it perpetuates an intellectual conversation, but it ignores the needs of the world—needs design should be searching to meet. In fact, Huang doesn’t even like to use the word “sustainable,” because it’s not quite accurate. Instead he prefers “anti-disposable.” This idea of anti-disposability is at the heart of what he does and why he’s such a great partner for Nike. Huang normally does his work with Nike behind the scenes, but just recently the Swoosh put him front and center after it invited him to create an Air Max 1 for Air Max Month in March. He made sure to get recycled materials into the EVA midsole and use Flyknit that incorporates recycled materials in the knit, but Huang created more than just the shoe. 40 percent of a product’s carbon footprint comes from shipping it, so no matter how much we minimize what goes into a pair of shoes, brands need to rethink how they bring it to customers. Read more at Esquire.