Twisted X is giving its customers a chance to walk in the shoes of patients at Cook Children's Medical Center by providing four patients with the opportunity to design their own pair of shoes.
It's a chilly day on the Cook Children's Medical Center, so the state-of-the-art playground, which is usually buzzing with children and their families, is empty. Inside the facility, however, is a collage of color, art, music, and laughter. While this is normal for Cook Children's Medical Center, one of Fort Worth's largest children's hospitals, today is special. It's a celebration. Twisted X is hosting a celebratory event to honor four young patients who have become the company's newest shoe designers thanks to a philanthropic collaboration between Twisted X and Cook Children's Medical Center.
“They represent my diagnosis,” says 14-year-old Brianna, referring to the white butterflies fluttering across the bright blue background of her self-designed Twisted X loafer. After being diagnosed with epidermolysis bullosa, Brianna began her stay at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. During her stay she has become known for her artistry, having canvases featured within Cook Children’s halls. And now, she’s a Twisted X shoe designer.
Brianna, Alex (6), Rowan (9), and Isaac (15) are residents of Cook Children’s Medical Center who have been selected to design a pair of shoes for Twisted X as part of the philanthropic partnership between Twisted X and Cook Children’s. The collaboration includes one pair of loafers designed entirely by each child to be sold in stores, the wholesale proceeds of which will be going directly back to Cook Children’s.
“It was an absolute honor,” says Twisted X chief designer Tuan Lee, who worked directly with each child to design a pair of shoes that represented them. “We gave them a blank shoe and a piece of blank paper to work with,” he explains. “Some of them went straight for the blank shoe and others started working on the paper.” Having designed for Twisted X for eight years, Lee has plenty of experience creating designs that speak to the heart of Western identity. But this experience, he says, however, has shifted how he works, thinks, and designs. He’s wearing a pair of Brianna’s shoes to the event on January 26 celebrating the release of the new shoes. Her design and what it represents speaks to him especially.
Sporting a pair of Isaac’s silver and red shoes is Twisted X CEO Prasad Reddy, who has spearheaded the collaboration for six years. “It has been my dream to bring happiness to the lives of people,” Reddy says as he honors the panel of new young designers sitting proudly next to their shoes. “It’s such a great organization and such a great cause to be associated with.” Before inviting the audience to receive autographs from the new designers, Reddy makes one final announcement. “Their shoes, their names, will be in the marketplace next week.”
Alex is a 6-year-old with ketotic hypoglycemia. When not signing autographs and having her picture taken for her brilliantly designed shoes, she enjoys riding her bike, solving math problems, and going on adventures with her beautifully bright imagination.
Her custom loafers are almost as bright and colorful as she is, with bold streaks of red, blue, and green. On the front of the shoe, a lime-green heart contains a multicolored star. “The heart is because I love my shoes,” Alex says.
Rowan is a 9-year-old with sigmoid sinus vein thrombosis. A cowgirl at heart and avid wearer of Twisted X shoes, Rowan loves riding horses and is a member of the 4-H youth organization. While the other young designers boast a pair of their new custom-designed Twisted X loafers at the event, Rowan sports her favorite pair of Twisted X shoes, a traditional pair of stylish loafers.
Her custom loafers are everything you would expect from a Western girl, with earth tones alongside hints of greens, yellows, blues, and reds. The star of her design? A tall cactus set against a Western sunset on the front of the shoe.
Isaac is a 15-year-old with spina bifida. As his Iron Man-inspired shoe design might suggest, he’s pretty big into superheroes. Wolverine, Iron Man, and Magneto make up some of his favorites in the Marvel universe, and, by the looks of it, he’s pretty much a superhero himself.
His custom loafers embody strength in the purest sense, with a metallic silver background finished off with a light-blue Twisted X barbed-wire fence icon on the front. “The silver represents strength,” Isaac says.
Brianna is a 14-year-old with epidermolysis bullosa. She’s been an artist since birth, creating paintings and designs that are still on display at Cook Children’s. She’s already developed a motif in her work — butterflies. They represent the fragility of her skin and the pain she endures due to her condition along with her ability to soar despite her diagnosis.
Her custom loafers take that motif to new heights, putting her white butterflies against a vivid blue sky. Filled with butterflies, cacti, and blue and red flowers, Brianna’s design might just depict Western heaven.
The proceeds of each pair of shoes sold will go directly back to Cook Children’s Medical Center, providing opportunities for the residents and their families to continue expressing themselves and finding joy in their daily lives through art and creativity. The shoes are available in stores now. You can track down a pair for yourself through the Twisted X website. The shoes are made using sustainable practices, as with all Twisted X shoes, and are available in all children’s sizes.
All images courtesy of Twisted X Global Brands