MEET CARRIE HILL
Carrie Hill is Wolverine’s Senior Design Manager for our Heritage Collection. She is a design enthusiast with a fashion obsession that started in second grade when she formed a “Dress-Up Club” with her best friend. Carrie began illustrating apparel in high school and took her talent to Central Michigan University where she received her Bachelors of Applied Arts in Apparel Merchandising & Design. She was in the apparel industry for 3 years before finding her way into footwear. Carrie has now been designing footwear for over ten years.
“Prior to Wolverine, I had zero footwear experience. I wasn’t even a shoe snob, a common attribute for many footwear designers” – Carrie Hill
Carrie keeps her explorative side alive at work by researching new designs and collaborations from other time-tested, historic brands. “We recently did a collaboration with Saucony, coming out this fall. I’m super pumped about this one. It’s the first collaboration between two Wolverine Worldwide brands. It’s the merge of two classic, old footwear brands that produce very different products, yet speak to the same consumer,” said Carrie. She also worked on the brand’s first women’s collaboration with Samantha Pleet, an apparel designer from Brooklyn. Carrie worked directly with Samantha to create a line that broke open Wolverine’s color palette outside of black and brown.
One of Carrie’s favorite Wolverine boots is the Montague, one of the first boots she designed under 1000 Mile. “It’s a perfectly balanced Chelsea boot married with one of the most comfortable lasts. The toe shape is casual but can be dressy. Just all around classic and is still selling 8+ yrs later,” says Carrie.
Carrie was excited to tell us about this fall’s trends for the Heritage collection. For women, it seems a lot of past trends are making a comeback. “Women’s tall boots are back with a vengeance. The over-the-knee came back last fall, so it’s allowed for heights beyond booties,” Carrie explains. “Heels are coming in showing up more chunky than not. High neck sweater-dress styles over leggings paired with suede boots are a staple look this fall. The oversized look is still on trend.”
Carrie explains men’s styles this fall are classic and durable. “Men’s boots this fall are balancing dress & casual in one. Our Percy boot showcases this perfectly, capturing the classic wingtip style in scotch-grain leather framed with a durable Vibram lug outsole. It will carry you to work, through work and back again,” said Carrie.
As for Spring ’17, the style trends aren’t so different between genders. “The line between men’s and women’s styling is more blurred than ever before. If there’s a men’s oxford, there’s a women’s oxford. Same-ish style, sharing core colors only to be separated by important seasonal colors. We approached this concept more than ever before in our Heritage Collection,” said Carrie.
Carrie enjoys staying active with biking, swimming, running, and playing with her two dogs as well as camping all over Michigan. “Every year, my family and I make a point to visit a new area of Michigan. There are a billion and one places to visit, keeping my explorative side alive,” said Carrie. She also has an alter ego of an interior designer and her house boosts of bright colors and unique pieces. Halloween is a big event in her household, with costume preparation beginning at least 2 months in advance.
MEET REA VERBURG
Rea Verburg joined Wolverine’s product development team nearly six months ago as a designer for the Wolverine Heritage Collection. Creativity is a natural intuition for Rea and she loves using that creativity to positively influence others.
“Ever since I can remember I’ve been an artist. The hunger I have for creation has always been there, but when I realized why I wanted to go into fashion design specifically it was due to the fact that I highly value making a difference in the lives of others.” –Rea Verburg
Rea’s motivation stems from the confidence she instills in others through her designs. “The best feeling that comes from being a designer is not only the excitement of creating something unique that’s never been worn, but it’s also satisfying knowing that one can actually feel more confident in themselves by wearing your design,” says Rea.
She has always been a firm believer of being empowered by what you wear and being detail oriented with footwear design and functionality, it is obvious that she is passionate and dedicated to her work and a huge asset to the Wolverine team. “We have an incredibly talented team, I’m learning so much already and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store.”
“Footwear is emotional, and it not only interprets one’s entire wardrobe and daily dress, but it’s crucial for specific activities and functionalities in everyday life,” says Rea, “If you don’t have the right shoes for the day, you’re not feeling your absolute best. That’s why we’re here; we’re creating confidence and versatility through a well-crafted piece of your life that will hopefully make you feel like your absolute best.”
Her favorite Wolverine boot is the Original 1000 Mile Boot. “To me the history and authenticity behind the boot itself is very intriguing, and I like to relate to a story behind something I wear.” Rea also appreciates a locally produced and natural product, “It’s much more satisfying knowing you’re wearing a boot that originated decades ago for a certain purpose that is also made in the USA and is manufactured with all natural materials. These are some things I value in general, so working for a company that is making it happen is very motivating and worth investing your time and dedication to,” says Rea.
Having lived in Italy, learning to speak fluent Italian and Spanish, Rea is very culturally enriched and loves learning about new people and places. “I have a very bad case of wanderlust, and I’m very intrigued by other cultures and new ways of living and perceiving life,” says Rea. Rea explained how her appreciation for the world has greatly influenced her design style and keeps her motivated to grow as an artist. “I consider myself a minimalist, and am very interested in sustainability so I’m always trying to find new and exciting ways to reduce or re-use items in an environmentally friendly manner.”
Rea also has an interest in apparel design. She likes experimenting with natural dyes and textiles and create simple, organically made clothing. Rea keeps her creativity blooming by illustrating, soap making, and experimenting with desserts and kombucha. Rea also loves spending time with her kitten, Khaleesi, and reading comic books like SAGA, The Walking Dead, and The Wicked and the Divine as well as inspirational books such as The Alchemist and Ishmael.