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Scott Johnston Interview

Pro skater to full time footwear designer, Scott Johnston, is the man behind Lakai designs. We took the opportunity to ask Scott Johnston a few questions about his job and in particular on the Echelon Line.


Let’s start with the important questions: what shoes are you wearing right now and why?                         Right now at this moment I just got done skating the park out back of the office. I was skating in the new MJ and I’m switching now to my fresh new pair of MJ’s that eventually I will skate it.


You underwent a transition from being a pro skater to a full time footwear designer. What were the biggest challenges related to that transition?                                                                                                                       I really didn’t have an challenges while making the transition. I was very much looking forward to a more structured day. A year later though, thats when I realized what freedom I once had and how that won’t  be coming back for a long time.


What’s the most valuable lesson you learnt as a footwear designer over the years?                                         I would say give everything a chance. At first you might be given a project that sounds just horrible. But you can also take on the challenge.


What are your biggest influences besides skateboarding, what inspires you?                                               Really its my friends and the people around me. I love to people watch and see what their doing gear wise.


If you could design a shoe for any other „sport“ than skateboarding, which would it be and why?               Probably it would be a soccer shoe.  For one I love soccer even though I can’t really play. The whole personal style when it comes to the players. The second reason I’d like to design a soccer shoe is because you can skate in soccer shoes. So I’d like to make the best for both all in one.


Lakai had already in the past shoes that were not primarily designed for skating. What sets the Echelon line apart?                                                                                                                                                                 It’s encapsulating its own look as far as branding and overall feel.  In the past Lakai has only been focused towards hard core skaters. As the brand matured I felt we needed create a separate category for the guys that once skated and now work a young professional job. Also for the guys that never skated and just want an alternative to the big brands.  Echelon stands on its own. It relies on quality and classic styling with an original twist. Branding takes a back seat to good seasonal colors and textures.


A design process usually includes killing some of your „darlings“. Are there any Echelon samples that you liked but that didn’t make the cut?                                                                                                                     Oh for sure but thats always been a apart of the process. Who knows maybe one day they’ll make the light of day. Either way those projects always help getting us to where we want to go.


Besides the tendency to more mature and sophisticated skate shoe styles as resembled in the Echelon line, which new influences will we see in 2015 an beyond in your opinion?                                                         We’ve established a headline project for each season to set the mood of the whole collection. I’m very happy with the catalogs as they’ve become something worth collecting. The catalog itself is as important to me as the product.


Are there any particular projects with Lakai that you are looking forward to in the next months?                     Next thing to come out is a Chocolate 20 year collection.



Thanks to Lakai, Kelly Bird and Scott Johnston!

Pictures: Lakai Limited Footwear

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