After a particularly long day as deputy art director for AARP, Dian Holton received the unexpected perk of a lifetime from one of the biggest athletic apparel companies in the world. Nike called and asked her to design footwear for the company’s Sneaker Lab. Why her? She’s not exactly certain, either.
“I’m not sure how or why they selected me except to say that it may have had something to do with my involvement with the arts and my love of fashion, which includes sportswear,” Holton says. Well-connected, she is. Holton earned her B.S. in Graphic Design from Florida A&M, and studied Fashion Marketing at Parsons, the New School in New York. She also sits on the Washington, DC board of AIGA, the Professional Association for Design, is a visual display artist for The Gap and Anthropologie stores, and was pegged “one to watch” by Graphic Design USA magazine in 2016.
Nike knew what they were doing. For her 3-part sneaker collection, Holton called on her military upbringing for inspiration. She was born in Columbus, Georgia. But with an Infantry Colonel for a father, she’s also lived abroad in Berlin and Seoul. The collection pays tribute to him, extended family members and all who have paid that sacrifice to serve their country. Check out her designs and learn more about her:
Three words to describe you:
Extroverted, introverted, curious
What was cool about being a military kid?
Traveling the world and adapting to different cultures.
What irked you about being a military kid?
Being called a ‘military brat.’ I’ve always despised that phrase.
What qualities do military folk possess that us civilians could use more of?
Patience, adaptability, agility and openness to new things, places and things.
At what age did you know you had artistic flair?
I’m not quite sure, but definitely when I was in the single digits.
One word to describe the Obama portraits:
Just one word?! Fresh.
What do you love about what you do?
The ability to inspire, collaborate, educate and transform people visually through my work. Whether its geared towards fellow creatives or people completely removed from what I do, it’s nice seeing them respond or engage over/with it. I also like working in various mediums. It keeps me active and in a state of constant learning.
What’s one thing you do regularly that keeps you sane?
Visiting artistic spaces: museums, galleries, and pop-ups. Also, group texts with good girlfriends, especially the two that are living their best theater lives.
At least one thing you do to promote a healthy lifestyle:
Shoot. I guess I shouldn’t say crushing a full bag of white cheddar puffs, huh? One thing I try to do is deplug from devices 30-60 minutes before bed. Key phrase: Try. I also am building in relaxation techniques like low-impact aerobics and massages.
What does #blackgirlmagic mean to you?
To celebrate the achievements and accomplishments of Black women domestically and globally no matter the shade, age, religion, or financial status. Sometimes it’s a moment, sometimes it’s a movement. Either way, it is a joyous way of celebrating and supporting each other.
Do you have a kindred spirit?
Yes. Actress Kerri Washington with a splash of RuPaul and model Adwoa Aboah.
How long has your hair been natural?
Over 10 years, however, that doesn’t mean that I don’t enhance it with some sort of extension here and there.
Favorite hair product for moisture:
I’m not loyal to any one product. I sometimes use Cantu. Since they’ve changed their formula, I’ve been using a number of products from Shea Moisturizer.
Music. Who or what are you feeling right now?
I’m all over the map. Right now I have Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean, Sza, Rihanna, Little Tevin Campbell (the I’m Ready album) and the Bee Gee’s queued up.
How do you chill?
Low-key chill for me involves, sitting or laying on my couch with some snacks while watching a good movie or show like “Law & Order” or “Dateline.” Or,if I have the opportunity to travel, then chilling would equate to traveling to a new exotic location and checking out the native land.
Tennis shoes or sneakers?
Learn even more about Dian Holton at www.dianholton.com and follow her on Instagram @dianholton.