"A DESIGNER IS A VISIONARY WITH A CONSCIOUS BALANCE OF AESTHETIC & SCIENTIFIC SENSIBILITIES." — JOE PONCE
Starting out in the arts at the tender age of 5, Joe Ponce swapped out the sandbox and play-dates for classical music lessons and painting classes at the Barnsdall Art & Crafts Center in Los Angeles. As a pre-teen, he took an automotive drawing class taught by a former GM car designer named Bruce Bollinger, initiating his lifelong obsession with drawing cars on napkins, peechee folders – anything with a surface to sketch on.
While Joe found early success as a professional musician, he soon realized he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his idol, Raymond Lowey and become an industrial designer. Mr. Ponce received a B.S. Industrial Design (with honors) from the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California . His first job out of school was with the General Motors Design staff in Warren, MI, where he worked on the Corvette C5 and then onto several Cadillac and Chevrolet projects, most notably the 1998 Seville STS and 1999 Deville DTS Production Vehicles. From there he was recruited by the Ford Motor Company and worked on several concept vehicles: Indigo, Libre’ and MC4, as well as on the Tauras “freshening” for 2000.
Relocating back to Los Angeles with his family in 2000, Joe shifted his focus from designing high-performance cars to designing high-performance athletic footwear with K-Swiss and has since designed for Adidas, DC Shoe Co and Royal Elastics. In 2006, he created the L.A.M.B & Harajuku Lovers collections with Gwen Stefani and over the next few years consulted for Max Oriental, designed for Miss Sixty and Tracy Reese Collections and worked with several other designer brands as part of MBZ fashion week in NYC. All the while, staying true to his automotive design roots by consulting independently for Hyundai and Kia motors in Seoul, Korea.
In 2008, Mr. Ponce founded Ponce International Inc.; A full service consultancy that designs, develops and sources products for a number of clients from the automotive, product & fashion industry.
Drawing on his extensive years of design and manufacturing experience to leverage his global industry relationships, he is able to establish and grow brands in a cost effective manner, whether at the luxury/high-end of the market or with a price sensitive positioning. He maintains focus on both creative design and innovative engineering to ensure that only the most highly crafted, quality and comfortable products, are offered to his clientele, including such Celebrity Fashion Icons as: Rihanna, Kim, Khloe & Kourtney Kardashian, Lucy Liu, Lindsay Lohan, Pink and Fergie to name a few.
Mr. Ponce’s career began at General Motors Corporation as a key member of the team responsible for the unique production designs of the Corvette C5, Cadillac Seville (STS), and Cadillac Deville (DTS).
Mr Ponce has a proven track record for his contribution to successful startups and the development of luxury brands. As an owner and partner, he created Velvet Angels from concept to production in 12 months, designing ultra-luxury footwear that was the “gateway to luxury” inspired by the film “Romeo & Juliet”. The line’s unique style drew from diverse and edgy sources often living within Joe’s personal experience. His design cues created an entirely new and unique fashion statement that combinesd the look of high fashion with a street savvy twist.
As a senior staff designer at Royal Elastics, Mr. Ponce was given a brief to create a unique range of sneakers, for both men and women that were completely lace-less. Through the discipline and application of innovative design and technology, Mr. Ponce created designs that enabled Royal Elastics to gain popularity for its products on a global scale. It was his unique design cache that caught the eye of Gwen Stefani.
Mr. Ponce seized upon this opportunity. Using his strong collaborative skills, he successfully won over the footwear license for the Stefani L.A.M.B. fashion collection from major brands like Nike, Adidas, Reebok and others. He worked closely with Gwen Stefani, and her stylists, to understand their vision; together they created and designed her successful L.A.M.B footwear collection. The L.A.M.B. footwear line grossed $200 million in domestic USA revenue.
When Creative Recreation was in need of creativity and innovation, they called on Mr. Ponce to fill the void. He designed “Select” by Creative Recreation. The line debuted in the fall of 2010 with 13 styles ranging from funky wedges and open-toe booties to sky-high heels, flats and tall boots. Priced between $200 and $450, the line featured the visual look of exotic natural skins and suede.
The collection incorporated innovative comfort details such as "gel padding" for extra cushioning. Mr. Ponce originally pioneered this feature when working with Stefani in 2006, delivering comfort and high performance for ultra-luxury footwear, not seen before, or since, in luxury footwear.
At K-Swiss, Mr. Ponce served as the lead designer and was responsible for creating multi-million selling sneakers, as well as the company's second largest seller “The Verstadt”. The Verstadt was second only to the “original” style, with over 4 million pairs sold and still in production.
Mr. Ponce's K-Swiss designs have become classics and have been expanded to Men, Women, Children and infant styles since their release.
Mr. Ponce continues to create wide-ranging lifestyle portfolios for his clients that are completely new and unique. His goal is to fulfill their desire to have a one-of-a-kind, unique possession that visually conveys one’s own personal fashion story.
ABOUT THE DESIGNER
AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGNER
I'm an industrial designer that creates visually exciting and stimulating manufactured products as well as
all original design concepts with emotionally
compelling aesthetic sensibilities,
and balaced forms