Ashley Comeaux never intentionally set her sights on the fashion industry. However, her path in life led her to become the vice president of product design for the sustainable footwear company, Allbirds.
“My journey in design began simply with my affinity for art and creativity, and bridging that passion with my innate ability to problem solve and desire to make things better. While harmonising problem-solving, creativity, and innovation together has been incredible for me as a professional over the last decade,” she said.
Comeaux began her journey at the Design and Architecture Senior High School in Miami, Florida and from there, she flourished within the design world. Through school, she gained valuable skills from her design class instructor, who taught her all about industrial design, at the same time instilling confidence in her and empowering her to own her voice and point of view in a field primarily dominated by men.
Her introduction into the footwear industry started with internships at Reebok and Converse during college before landing a full-time gig at Nike, where she spent over ten years designing in various categories. In 2021, she began to lead an incredible design team across all footwear and apparel with Allbirds.
The design process for Allbirds always begins with research. From there, Comeraux and her team can begin to understand the market landscape and why there is a need for a product to exist. Then from there, the rest of the design process can start. Their material selection process is especially unique because, unlike many other companies, sustainability is at the forefront of their minds.
Their newest design, The Riser, is their most unique and expressive style to date. This street-style staple with an unexpected edge has been brought together by an organic cotton canvas, eucalyptus tree fibre, and ZQ-certified merino wool, using strategic seaming to maximise pattern and material efficiency. The Riser delivers comfort, designed with a unisex approach to maximise the opportunity for all genders to enjoy. The most significant difference in this product to their others is the use of multi-material upper while bringing the best of Allbirds materials and uniting them into a unique design for both aesthetics and functionality.
Comeaux’s biggest inspiration is her parents, Honduran immigrants who immigrated from Honduras to the United States, along with her two beautiful daughters.
“My parents have been the most supportive figures in my life, and my kids inspire me every day with their curiosity, fuelling not only how I approach my professional work but also within everyday life,” she explained.
What Comeaux values the most within her work is the ability to provide customers with a thoughtful and responsible approach to design that delivers products that look and feel amazing. At the same time, bringing to life products that complement and punctuate various styles, so their customers can express themselves in the best way while being natural and sustainable.