Posts Tagged ‘Discusses’

Q&A // DeMar DeRozan Discusses Carrying The Nike Kobe Protro Torch

words & interview // Nick DePaula:

Every young player has a superstar they idolize, pattern their game after and look to emulate. Whether it’s a hairstyle, approach on the court or even wearing their signature sneakers, trying to mold your game after the league’s most accomplished stars is nothing new.

For LA native DeMar DeRozan, that player was unmistakably Kobe Bryant.

As the Raptors’ four-time All-Star has now reached the heights of the league himself, he’s done so literally in Bryant’s footsteps along the way. He’s worn literally every model from Kobe’s line throughout his career, from the Huaraches and first three Zoom Kobes while at Compton High School, to the Kobe IV during his lone season at USC and a lengthy list of pairs later on with Toronto.

For the past several seasons, Nike has looked to DeMar to help carry the torch in a sense, building custom PEs of the Kobe AD series for the scoring 2. With Bryant’s namesake series now undergoing a “Protro” revamp, you can look for him to once again be breaking out a variety of his own personal pairs.

Nice Kicks recently caught up with DeRozan to discuss his latest batch of player exclusives from Nike, where he stores his stash of sneakers and his relationship with Kobe over the years.

Nick DePaula: As you were growing up in LA, what are some of your earliest memories of Kobe?

DeMar DeRozan: Seeing him get drafted, being bald headed, and then having the fro and every accomplishment that came with it. For me being a Laker fan, back when they played at The Forum, was the greatest thing in LA. To be able to go watch the Lakers play at The Forum are my first memories.

NDP: What kinds of things did you learn from his footwork, post game and style of play over the years as you started to develop yourown game?

DD: It was everything. I used to grow a fro out when I was young, cause he had the fro. [laughs] As a kid, we all gravitate to some player that you try to imitate or be like, and Kobe was definitely that.

NDP: You’ve been with Nike your entire career, what was the first Kobe shoe you played in and do you have any early favorites?

DD: The Huaraches were the first, but for sure my favorites are the 1s. It’s pretty cool to see them be re-released and come back out and see the response that they’re getting from people.

NDP: As a guy that’s played in Retro Jordans, Foams and a bunch of Retro stuff, what’d you think of Nike’s plan to update and upgrade the original Kobe models with the Protro concept?

DD: I thought it was awesome. I thought it was about time. [laughs] I was always wondering what it’d take for them to start retroing [Kobes]. So many dope early-on Kobes haven’t been re-released. I think it was the perfect time for them to be able to come back out, for a new generation to be able to adapt, and for the older crowd that understands, to get them too.

NDP: Of course, Kobe scored 81 back in ’06 in the Kobe 1. What do you remember about that game?

DD: I remember it being an early game. I was sitting on my bed, just at home watching the game. I remember they were losing, and the game was really not all that interesting. [laughs] It was kind of dead in there, and it wasn’t jumping like it normally was. That second half came around, and the next thing you know, I remember literally sitting on the edge of my bed watching every single shot. I was really tripping out, and wondering if I was playing a video game or something.

NDP: The last couple years, you’ll wear the new AD one game, 8s the next and then break out a Kobe 11 – how do you decide what you’re going to wear on a game-by-game basis?

DD: It’s just however I’m feeling. I got a little place in the arena that I call my “vault.” I have all types of shelves of shoes. Sometimes, I just tell my equipment manager to pick me a pair and surprise me. We have a routine now where sometimes he’ll just pick out my shoes. It’s pretty cool to have that selection of shoes, especially with it being my favorite brand of shoes.

NDP: How many pairs are in the vault?

DD: It’s shelves. You gotta get a stepladder to get them. It’s kind of ridiculous.

NDP: You have access to pretty much everything at Nike, but is there one pair of Kobes you’ve never been able to get?

DD: No. [laughs]

NDP: With Nike and Kobe really driving this idea of Protro, have you given much thought to what you would do to update some of the other Kobe models? Is there any one that sticks out that you’d like to see come back?

DD: I remember when the 3s came out, with the webbing and how they looked. At that time, it set the bar for a design. People used to look at how much those stood out, just by the design. The 3 is one of them shoes that really stood out, and I used to call them “The Spidermans.”

NDP: If you had to pick one, what’s your favorite Kobe model to play in?

DD: For some reason, I love the high-tops, the 9s. I go to them a lot. A lot of people wasn’t really on the 9s like that.

NDP: I got so used to playing in Lows after the 4 and 5, that it was hard to go back.

DD: That’s the weird thing for me too, because I’m always big on the Lows too. The 9, maybe because they stick out and how comfortable they are. People just wasn’t on them like that, but that’s still one of my favorites to go to now.

NDP: You had your own PE release of the ‘Comp10’ Kobe AD last season and now PEs of the 1 Protro – what’s it like to be headlining this new Kobe Protro series?

DD: Man… [pauses] Just you saying it, and every time that conversation comes up or I see a shoe months before they come out or I’m told an idea, it still trips me out. I grew up watching him and idolizing his game, then playing against him and playing in his last All-Star game with him. It’s a shoe [series] I’ve worn my whole career. To have that really come full circle is definitely something I can’t even put into words.

NDP: You mentioned playing against him in his last All-Star Game. Is there a moment that really sticks out for you on the court against him?

DD: We played in LA once, and we had the game won. He pulls off one of those crazy games and forced the game into overtime. He ended up winning the game and had like forty-something. That’s one of those games – I remember every single shot he took, you could hear the crowd gasping while the ball was in the air, and you could hear the excitement as soon as it went through the net. It was one of the craziest atmospheres. You just saw him willing himself to the win.

NDP: Away from the game, is there anything he’s helped you with advice wise? 

DD: Kob is kind of like the Bat Signal. If I need him, I just put the Bat Signal up. [laughs] He’ll be there for sure. It’s not one of those relationships where I abuse his time. When we have a conversation and talk about something, or something arises, the mutual respect is always there. Whenever we see eachother or do speak, it’s definitely something that can last for a long time until I need him again.


Rita Ora Discusses Working at size? on Sneaker Shopping

A darling in Celebrity Sneaker Stalker since she broke on the scene, Rita Ora is the latest subject on Sneaker Shopping with Joe La Puma.

Catching up with Complex, Ora discusses her early days working retail for size? as well as her love for Air Jordans — namely the AJ13. On top of that, she sheds light on her partnership with adidas Originals that’s already spanned 15 collections.

See which trainers she cops in the clip below.


Interview // Designer Kim Jones Discusses New NikeLab “Packable Sport Style” Footwear & Apparel Collection

words // Nick DePaula:

For designer Kim Jones, Louis Vuitton’s current Artistic Director of Men’s Ready-To-Wear fashion, the opportunity to partner with Nike and layer in his lens atop several new silhouettes made to be worn on the move, has simply been “a real honor.” The designer boasts a sneaker collection of more than 500 pairs, and can often be seen wearing everything from classic Air Jordan 1s to iconic running silhouettes like the Air Max 1 and Air Huarache.

550 Kim-Jones-Nike-Lab-sneakers

Designer Kim Jones

While Jones himself is London-born, his nomadic childhood was spent living all throughout Africa and the Caribbean, helping to inform his sense of style and design at an early age.

It’s that collection of global insights from around the world, coupled with a degree from the esteemed Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and his tenure in the fashion world that has helped to frame his creative approach to designing some of the industry’s most leading footwear and apparel collections. He’s often credited with bringing street style to the runway, blending more athletic and streetwear looks with high fashion.

NikeLab recently sat down with Jones to dive into the intent and inspirations behind each piece from his new “Packable Sport Style” collection, featuring boldly blocked windrunner jackets and a new take on the Air Zoom LWP running shoe.

Originally released in 1995 some two decades ago, the initial Air Zoom LWP silhouette (seen below) helped to usher in an era of Zoom Air. It introduced the responsive cushioning to the running world, while the Air Go LWP debuted Zoom in basketball. Then publicly dubbed the much less sexy “Tensile Air,” the tech was re-branded a year later (thankfully) to the sharper and swifter Zoom Air moniker.

The new NikeLab take on the Air Zoom LWP features a fused and modernized upper, with a precision sculpted midsole and visible cutaways through the outsole to showcase the Zoom Air unit housed within.

Read ahead for a full look at the upcoming men’s and women’s NikeLab x Kim Jones Packable Sport Style collection, along with several insights into the worldly view and travels that have helped to shape Jones’ outlook.


The original Air Zoom LWP, released in 1995

What are your earliest memories of Nike?
Kim Jones: Being obsessed with having to have a pair of Nikes when I was about 13, or maybe even 12, and just nagging my parents to buy them for me. I saw them and immediately wanted them.

Do you remember the early styles that you were into?
Silver Nike Vandals.

Did your original interest in sneakers come from a street-cultural standpoint or a sport standpoint?
I was cycling a lot when I was a kid so that was a lot of it. I had them for sports and they looked cool as well. Also I was a straight-edger for a while and we were all obsessed with Jordans. Everyone would go to buy their Jordan Vs. We were super excited about it and would fight over every color, because we didn’t want to have the same ones. It was typical teenage guys being obsessed. I had a group of friends who I used to hang out with all the time and we all had the same size feet, which was quite useful, so we’d all just swap stuff over.

Do you have any of them in your archives now?
I have about 500 or 600 pairs of sneakers in my archives, probably. I’ve got them in my house in London and just lots and lots of cupboards in Paris. I’ve got lots of Jordans and tons of pairs of Huaraches. When they first came out, I bought them in bulk because I loved them so much.

What is it about sneakers in particular that interests you?
Now I’m interested in them because of the technology that goes into them and how they are developing so quickly and becoming really proper, serious product design. The technology side of it is the thing I really, really like — how it leads the fashion side and that becomes a lifestyle.

What else is interesting you right now?
Well, I always look at culture (more than fashion) as a reference — and travel, which is the key thing. I love going to South Africa. I really enjoy the energy down there — also in Tokyo, New York and LA, but I like to look in different places, too. Last summer I went to Southeast Asia, which was really interesting.

1200 Nike_Apparel_FA16_LOOK_7_0439Since your graduate collection [at Saint Martins], your aesthetic has most often been described as infusing street style into high fashion. Do you agree with this assessment? Is there anything you would add?
I think that is the way everything is moving forward; I was just one of the first people to do it. There was an article written today looking back on my first collection and it made me think about how far I’ve come from — it’s kind of scary. It’s been 15 years and it has gone so quickly and I’ve done so many things in that time. I refine what I do more and more.

Why are streetwear and sportswear important these days?
Because they are real. They’re in everyone’s life and filtered into everything.

You already work in the sportswear space a lot. How is the collaboration with Nike different?
I’ve always wanted to work with Nike and when they approached me it was the perfect time. I wanted to use Nike technology so we found something old and made it into something that was very new. I didn’t want the collection to look retro. I wanted it to be modern and to speak to youth today.

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Speaking of youth, the color palette of the collection is a mix of club-kid neons and neutrals. How did you arrive at that combination?
All the colorways come from old Air Maxes — there’s an Air Max 95 colorway and one from a classic, original Air Max, then we added another color palette that was looking at the future. It was about taking the DNA of what Nike stuff is all about and mixing it together, taking elements of all the different things I liked and putting it together.

A number of the garments in the collection are transformative, meaning the wearer can use them in multiple scenarios. Was this a design focus?
It’s about a utilitarian approach to design and function to give the customer something they can use in different ways. That’s what I was thinking about — how to make it useful to the wearer.

550 kim-jones-nike-zoom-lwp-02_o981ocWhat are some details that contributed to this design approach?
It was looking at making things out of the least amount of seams so they could be lighter and smaller — really looking at the authenticity of what Nike does the best and taking the key elements and using the technology to create these products. The Windrunner is [made from] just one piece of fabric, so looking at how that would be cut and how that would be graded were the most challenging details.

How did the jacquard print on the knit tops come about?
It was actually about looking at the form of the body and Flyknit [upper] patterns when they are flat, which are really beautiful. Then, making them big and seeing how it looks in a garment. It was a great way to do a t-shirt.

The NikeLab Air Zoom LWP x Kim Jones marries inspiration from an original Zoom 95 upper with Air Max 1 last. Why did you select these particular silhouettes?
I like the fact that it has come from an old shoe but has become a completely new shoe. It took quite a few go-s to get it right. At first it was too chunky and then it was too skinny. I was thinking about a shoe that I would really like to wear and be proud of. To have a Nike sneaker is an amazing thing. It’s a real honor.

British heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson in the NikeLab x Kim Jones Packable Windrunner

British heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson in the NikeLab x Kim Jones Packable Windrunner

Are there any other sneakers from the Nike archives that you’d like to reimagine?
There are a few, actually… a Footscape would be interesting to work with, or just taking a few of my favorites and doing that mix-and-match and cut-and-paste to get to something new. So you are taking something that was at the forefront at its time, then bringing it back in a different way so it’s at the forefront of now, because the technology has changed so much and everything is so light and comfortable.

People wear sneakers all the time now, so comfort and practicality are the key things. That thing of “time is luxury” is also important to think about. If products can make things easier for you and more simple, that’s important in life — as well as aesthetics, obviously.

That brings us back to the overarching theme of the collection “packables,” and your love of travel. Why is travel valuable to you?
I love to find new things, do new stuff, see new places… I want to see the whole world before I die. Nature is a big part of my interests. You have to go a long way to find things now, but if you don’t go there you don’t know what you’re going to see.

It’s fine to look on the Internet or in a book, but I like to see, touch, look at things and be inspired by culture, wildlife, people… I’m quite sensory in that way. I do a bit of initial research on the Internet to see where I want to go, but you don’t know what you’re going to find on the corner when you get there. That’s the most exciting thing.

So what are the top five places you’ve visited?
Easter Island, Mongolia, tons of different countries in Africa — maybe Ethiopia, the Maldives, because it’s amazing. I love Siem Reap in Cambodia. I love India — Rajasthan, particularly… London, because it’s my hometown, tons of South America — the Galapagos Islands… Patagonia is amazing. Bhutan was really incredible.

To marry your love of travel with your interest in street culture and sportswear: Where do you see strong street fashion these days?
Tokyo for one, and I like LA at the moment. I like Sao Paolo. I haven’t been to Australia for a while, but the last time I went I thought it was really interesting and New Zealand, because there are a lot of homegrown designers who are experimenting with things.


The Kim Jones “Packable Sport Style” collection of footwear and apparel for both Men and Women will be available at and select NikeLab accounts on July 23rd. 

NikeLab x Kim Jones Air Zoom LWP //

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NikeLab x Kim Jones Packable Windrunner assortment //

1200 Katarina Johnson-Thompson (1)1200 Katarina Johnson-Thompson (2)1200 Nike_Apparel_FA16_LOOK_4_01681200 Nike_Apparel_FA16_LOOK_4_01801200 Nike_Apparel_FA16_LOOK_5_02851200 Nike_Apparel_FA16_LOOK_6_03651200 Nike_Apparel_FA16_LOOK_6_03921200 Nike_Apparel_FA16_LOOK_7_04391200 Grigor Dimitrov (1)


Interview // SolesBySir Discusses His 1-of-1 Customs for “The U”

As we’ve chronicled this entire week, the Miami Hurricanes and the Nebraska Cornhuskers are set to lock horns in Miami today, as these two adidas sponsored schools are being outfitted by 1-of-1 customs by both Mache275 and SolesBySir.

Yesterday we featured an exclusive interview with the aforementioned Mache275, as he detailed the experience of working specifically with the Nebraska Cornhuskers during this venture. Today, we’ll highlight Miami alumni SolesBySir as he provides unprecedented work for the ‘Canes as they are set to hit the field in over 100 different custom models created by the talented Miami native.

To see for yourself, scroll through the page below to enjoy.

Thank U Andre Johnson

Nice Kicks: First off, how surreal of an opportunity is this for you to create custom cleats for the Miami Hurricanes within this storied rivalry?

SolesBySir: It’s crazy, Pierce. To be able to create over 100 paris of cleats for the guys on the team has been surreal. We’ve spoken over the past year and to be able to go from a cardboard box, to a handful of guys, to a quarter of the league and now being able to work with a great brand like adidas – then to be able to do it for my alma mater, is just the icing on the cake for me.

Nice Kicks: Usually when you’re working with NFL players, you’ll have a selected amount of cleats that you’ll have to create. However, with this endeavor, you’re making custom cleats for an entire team. How has the process been with such a large amount?

SolesBySir: It’s been a learning curve to be honest with you. The experience has been sort of hectic at times, but I’m super lucky to be apart of the game. It’s been over a hundred pair of cleats and the thing with me is that i’m more of a “1-of-1” guy, but working with this project and adidas, i was able to make every cleat an “individual cleat”, while keeping a common theme and building off of the notion of family.


Nice Kicks: What was the inspiration process behind creating these custom cleats?

SolesBySir: I kind of had to sit there and think for a second because I went to The U, but I wanted to refrain from using the sayings that you’ve always heard. We’re trying to turn the corner here as a program, and I wanted to show that. So within my creation process I utilized a pattern motif, were it’s almost like a “shedding skin”. We want to make a stamp in the tradition of The U. Adidas has signed on for twelve years and I hope to be apart of something special for the duration of that. This project will signify how well we respect our history and where we came from but evolve into something new.

Nice Kicks: You spoke on bringing that swagger back to the University of Miami, where there any specific players that you had in mind that could be the perfect muse to bring that ideal back?

SolesBySir: That’s the cool part about this project, we had all of the players create a tribute and let us know why they wanted to com to The U. You had a ton of guys state “Sean Taylor is the reason why I came to The U” or “Ray Lewis made me come to The U” or “Ed Reed”. I was able to take one cleat, I believe the right foot, and I would paint “Thank You Ray Lewis”, for instance. Just because the idea is “shedding” and turning a corner, we refuse to forget our history and its important to show that when you graduate from The U; you are The U.


Nice Kicks: How in-depth were the players’ input on the custom cleats?

SolesBySir: What we had them do was to give three sayings that describes them. Some of them placed the word family, or Georgia-born, or Rest in Peace messages – just different things. I wanted to make the left shoe of each model specifically for the players. You’ll see their last name, The Miami Hurricanes logo and something about them. Some have placed “From Nothin’ To Somethin’”, others placed “Exit 1”, meaning where they came from in Florida. Everything is utilized to represent them. The funny thing is that you’d think 103 players are different but there are so many similarities and they’re all positive.

Nice Kicks: Were there any distinct cultural cues from the city of Miami itself, that you utilized within this project?

SolesBySir: 100%. The thing with Miami is that we are not very subtle. We are loud. We do it big, and everything about this city screams “loud”. From Ocean Drive to Downtown, we don’t blend in. And no disrespect to any other portions of the state, but this is not “Middle America”. You come here to vacation and party – & we live here. We’re proud of where we come from. So when we walk onto a field, we want you to know where we’re from and to never forget it. So I wanted the cleats to reflect that by not “blending in”. You’ll know that Brad Kaaya and the rest of the ‘Canes has a custom pair of cleats on, no matter what point in time you tune-in. I hope when people see the work, they’ll know this is The U.

Cookin' Soles pt 2

Nice Kicks: How did you attack creating so many cleats in this short amount of time?

SolesBySir: The NFL guys will ship you ten to twenty pairs of cleats at a time. Which is overwhelming on its own, but I remember when adidas sent me the first batch and it was over 80 pairs of cleats. I had an entire wall of black blocks with three stripes. It was definitely hard and overwhelming at first, to be quite honest. At the beginning, I took them one cleat at time because I wanted to make sure that I was in love with the design. I must’ve done five pairs until I became comfortable. It’s funny because I actually went to my mom and asked her: “what cleats screams “Miami”?” and after showing her the final product that I had in mind, and getting her approval – It was a go! After that, I would knock out 20 to 25 pairs at a time.

Nice Kicks: What has been a more liberating process for you so far in your career: Working with NFL players or College Institutions such as the University of Miami?

SolesBySir: It’s definitely college, because the thing about this is that there are a lot of guys that will never be able to player professional football, that’s just reality when it comes to college sports. It’s the guys like the third-string kicker or the fourth-string offensive tackle, that kept me inspired. Some guys have never seen a custom shoe, and this may ultimately become a trophy for them. Five years down the line when they are a lawyer or a doctor, they’ll be able to look back and remember that moment and that specific game.

Nice Kicks: Lastly, within your career, what has been more fulfilling: Seeing all of these Miami guys in your custom creations or seeing Marshwan Lynch prior to Super Bowl XLIX in your all-gold cleats?

SolesBySir: Man! You’re pushing it! It’s kind of like a parent picking children, you love them both in different ways, but both equally the same, ya’ know? Marshawn certainly pushed me to another level and really allowed me to reach additional media outlets. However, I feel as though this whole endeavor with UM will certainly create future opportunities and propel myself, adidas and The University of Miami up a few notches. Not to mention how much this could help in regards to recruiting. If I can help pull in one guy through creating custom cleats for the school, then that’s one step closer to my school getting another national championship.


Video // Stephen Curry Discusses “F&F” Curry One Low With COSeezy

Last week in Oakland, Stephen Curry held his second annual “SC30 Select Camp” to help twenty of the top high school hoopers in the country work on their game.

While there, Under Armour surprised Stephen with his very own friends & family edition of the Curry One Low, honoring his historic 2014-2015 season run and his NBA championship.

Just after he was handed the shoes for the first time, Curry talked about the sneakers with video host COZeezy, and detailed the all white and gold PEs made just for Stephen and his close friends and family.

Check out the “Kick’n It At SC30 Select Camp” interview with Stephen Curry and COSeezy below:


For more images of the “F&F” Curry One Low, check here.NK 1


Big Sean Discusses Growth with adidas & Oahu-Inspired Metro Attitude Collab

Artist endorsement deals, all-red sneaker collabs, Nicki Minaj twerk tutorials in club shaking music videos? Welcome to 2012 if you’re Big Sean. Though all the above may be #trending in today’s Twittersphere, the inventor of the hashtag flow has been a true influencer long before it was a self-appointed social media bio credential.

While the rest of rap’s rising talent has been buzzing, barking or even biting in 2014, Sean’s been relatively quiet. He’s been working. In Hawaii. The island of Oahu has been the source of inspiration, self discovery and the sounds that have blossomed from Sean and the rest of his G.O.O.D. Music team in recent years. We spoke with Big Sean about his love for Hawaii and his new adidas Metro Attitude collaboration that pays tribute to Oahu.

Nice Kicks: Back in 2012 you joined adidas. How has your relationship evolved with the brand over the last two years?

Big Sean: It’s just been great. Just the fact that adidas gets involved with anything cultural and they’re not afraid of taking any chances as a brand. They just go with what they believe in. I think that’s what gives them the advantage. Over the years, that’s made them not only one of the top brands in sport, but also in culture. It’s just great to be a part of that.

Nice Kicks: In that time, you’ve had a chance to welcome some of your peers, collaborators and even mentors to the adidas Originals team. What has that been like?

Big Sean: It’s been cool. I was telling Kanye way back about adidas– back obviously before he was with adidas. When I heard he was doing a deal with them I hit him up and said, “I told you!” We laughed about it. It’s just really cool. I feel like it was great for them to include me and I feel like I was a part of the resurgence of adidas in a new aspect. Obviously they’ve been popular this whole time, but it felt like a fresh new energy when I got with them and it’s just tight to be a part of that.

Nice Kicks: Last year on tour with Kid Cudi you wore the Attitude. When did the process of collaborating on that model begin and what was that like?

Big Sean: It really didn’t start until this year, I’d say a few months ago. It was easy really, it wasn’t too difficult. I’m sure as the relationship progresses, we’ll get deeper and deeper into designing. They’re down and I’m down. Doing things like this are just simple, easy and fun. I love the Metro Attitude. Like you said, I’ve been rocking it for a while. I love the Patrick Ewings (Editor’s Note: Patrick Ewing wore the Attitude during his early days with the Knicks) and it’s just tight to put my own flavor on it.

Big Sean x adidas Metro Attitude

Nice Kicks: What sparked the idea of putting an island vibe on such a city-centric sneaker?

Big Sean: It was actually adidas’ idea. They came to me with it and it just made sense. Hawaii is just one of my favorite places of all time. Especially after working out there with Ye and the whole G.O.O.D. Music family, and working out there for my projects as well. It’s just something special. When you wake up in paradise you feel energized. I feel like the idea of working in paradise was just great, and that’s something Kanye introduced to me. It’s definitely part of my life and it’s cool to just see that represented in a shoe. Every shoe I do I want it to be completely different and have a theme to it.

Nice Kicks: The island of Oahu is known as “The Gathering Place.” Over the years of recording there, what have been some of your best memories in regard to getting together and working with the G.O.O.D. Music family?

Big Sean: There are so many good memories. One of the best times out there was when it was me, Rick Ross, Ye and Nicki Minaj. I remember me and Ross were there in a cypher and Ye was there and everybody was just rapping. It was before Ross really knew who I was and now we’re homies. I remember Ross going back to Def Jam [after that] and telling everybody, “Man, you heard of this dude Big Sean? He’s crazy! He’s about to do something major!” and Def Jam telling him they just signed me. It was just cool for him to be energized like that when we were really just having fun. That’s when I developed a cool relationship with Ross and Nicki and since then we’ve really just been tight.

Nice Kicks: Moving forward, are there any concepts or ideas you’re tossing around for your next collab with adidas?

Big Sean: There are definitely ideas, but you’ve got to just wait and see. But not just shoes. With these, we have apparel coming out with the shoes, too. Just something fresh and easy. Be on the lookout because the next one will be bigger and better.

Big Sean x adidas Metro Attitude

Nice Kicks: Over the course of your career, you’ve been ahead of the curve when it comes to fashion trends. What are you currently on or calling next?

Big Sean: You’ve just got to wait and see. Stay posted on Instagram. We’ve got some new concepts and ideas that we’re going to start unveiling with this new music. You’ll see. I can’t wait for you guys to get it and hear what we’ve been working on. I’ve been in a cave working hard. I built a studio in my house and it’s been one of the best experiences ever.

Nice Kicks: Lastly, what can your fans expect in regard to footwear and fashion from Big Sean?

Big Sean: You can just expect something honest and whatever I feel like doing. Every shoe I do really just reflects what I’m doing then style wise. The first shoe I did was red, and bright with big gold accents on it. The next one I did was very subtle– still fresh, but more of an everyday shoe. These shoes are tight because they tell a story. They tell a story about me going to Hawaii and Hawaii is where I got the energy and confidence to be me. We were working out there and I literally went from not being known to being known and setting up my own spot in the rap game. It’s just tight that this shoe means more than just the actual shoe. I hope people can realize that and I hope people enjoy that.

The Big Sean x adidas Metro Attitude releases at select adidas Originals accounts on September 13th.

Photography by Kin Kwan


One of Footwear’s Most Iconic Designers: Steven Smith Discusses His Past and the Instapump Fury

The name Steven Smith may not ring a bell, but that’s all set to change this year as one of the designer’s crowning achievements — the Reebok Instapump Fury — is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. A man who has always held running close to his heart, it was this passion which led him to a career in shoe design. After graduating from college Smith cut his teeth as a designer at New Balance before upping sticks for a move to Reebok. It was here that Smith would design one of the more radical footwear silhouettes in the industry — one that even now looks ahead of its time. It wasn’t all smooth sailing though, as the Instapump Fury had to overcome several hurdles during development but Smith stuck with his vision and as they say, the rest is history. We caught up with the designer to pick his brain and get the inside scoop on his innovative design. Check out the interview below and stay with us for more on the upcoming Reebok Instapump Fury 20th Anniversary collection.

Basics and Design Experience

Can you introduce yourself and what you do?

Steven Smith — Sporting goods designer. I have been designing since 1986. I also do some military and telecommunications product design. I love well-designed objects and machines of all kinds. In my spare time I race and restore vintage automobiles and motorcycles. I really enjoy spending time with my wife and daughter most of all.

How did you initially get your foot in the door of footwear?

It was driven by my passion for running. I went to design school to learn how to design consumer goods and electronics and got a BFA in product design from the Massachusetts College of Art. When I graduated I heard from a friend that New Balance was looking for a designer. I went for the interview and it was in a historic old mill in Lawrence, Massachusetts which I really loved. While in college I ran in New Balance 730s and 990s so it made perfect sense to design products for my own needs. Once I got there I found out I was only the third designer they ever had. I went on to design what are now their classic running models like the 675, 676, 574, 995, 996, 997, 1500, and the 428 basketball shoe.

You’ve built up an impressive resume over the course of your career including stops at various massive sportswear companies. How did your design language change with each subsequent stop?

New Balance was definitely a great place to learn my craft. They taught me classic shoemaking and pattern work. We also geared for domestic manufacturing since we worked right above the factory floor. There were concessions made for making them in the U.S. but true performance and honesty drove the aesthetic. Colors were definitely more neutral and safe for sure.

At adidas it was the performance drive from New Balance with a blend of New York City that drove my basketball products there such as the Artillery and the Phantom 2.

Reebok was a great opportunity to really explore new things. We had a great tight team there with myself, Paul Litchfield, Peter Foley, Steve Burris and most importantly Paul Fireman. Fireman really allowed us to go new places by being a dreamer himself. We were able to question the whole way sneakers were made and the Fury is a great example of this. It was really a magical time.

Nike was also a great experience in that it was a blend of performance and marketing. Storytelling was king. It was a shift for me from a very technical product to a very elegant aesthetic-driven product.

In regards to creating product that fit within a brand’s DNA, how do you approach this?

I think one of the key ingredients to start with is to delight and surprise the consumer. Then it is a matter of what the brand means or what it could mean to that consumer. Does the product live up to and exceed what that consumer expects from you? What is the brand really about and how can the product support and enhance that reputation? How far can I push the envelope to make a sneaker better – not just different.

“I think one of the key ingredients to start with is to delight and surprise the consumer. Then it is a matter of what the brand means or what it could mean to that consumer.”

Steven Smith speaks on his approach when creating products that fit a brand’s DNA

Instapump Fury

What was the original design brief for the Instapump Fury?

There never really was a brief like today’s regimented process. We saw some really interesting products and materials in the medical device and aerospace industry and figured out they could make a big difference in sneakers. The idea behind the carbon arch was to reduce the midsole material by a third with this stuff from the SR-71. On the upper side of things we were looking for a cool way to make the Pump the whole shoe.

What sort of inspirations did you have when going to the drawing board?

We were always chasing the need for better fit, feel and function in athletic footwear. The main inspiration is the human foot and you work it out from there.

On the aesthetic side I wanted the foot to look like it was on fire! One of the shoes I always wanted as a kid was the New Balance Super Comp but we couldn’t afford it.

The Fury was a bit of a homage to that shoe. I also was thinking how can we reduce the number of parts that make up a sneaker. The Fury represents my Bauhaus ideal of minimalism and function. I also wanted to create something that looked like it was from the future.

Did the Instapump Fury solve any of your own personal problems from a running and performance perspective?

All product represents an answer at a moment in time. At that moment in time it solved the key issues of lighter, less components, and a great ride.

During its first release, what were the reasons why people loved the original Fury?

It really was a love/hate model. Actually it was more of a love/fear relationship. Paul Fireman asked us to go to new places for the company and that’s what we did with this shoe. It really pushed Reebok and the industry to new places. I never set out to create industry icons but time has proven them to be right. It was one of the first 9-ounce trainers and it did have an infinitely adjustable fit.

And for those who weren’t such a fan, what was their consensus?

I think that all good breakthrough design should make people a little uncomfortable and the Fury represented this ideal. Some people weren’t ready for such a radical midsole or a shoe with no laces.

The Instapump Fury launched in a bold combination of neon yellow, red and black. Any reasoning behind the choice of colors?

I touched on it earlier with the thought of the shoe being so hot that your feet were on fire. I also thought if you are going to shake things up, really shake things up! It finally took Paul Fireman telling people to get out of our way and launch it in the colors I drew it in. It was kind of fun watching them squirm for Paul! It’s the one everyone remembers the shoe for so it worked! I still think my favorite moment was seeing Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler wearing them at the MTV Music Awards. As a kid from Boston there was no better honor than seeing one of my rock gods in my shoes!

We later became friends and I told him that story.

“Paul Fireman asked
us to go new places
for the company and
that’s what we did
with this shoe. It
really pushed Reebok
and the industry to
new places.”

Steven Smith talks about possible reasons
people loved the original Fury

Footwear and the Future

What’s been your favorite Instapump Fury project over the last two decades?

I think the original shoe in the red, citron and black colorway. The next favorite I think would be the Jackie Chans. I did get a pair of those for myself.

What do you think is the future of footwear?

I think a true revolution in manufacturing needs to take place. I think 3D printing could be really big but what we really need is a bio-shoe of some sort that we can grow naturally and will decay like organic compounds.

Any last words?

Whatever you do, enjoy yourself doing it and have fun. Don’t let the serious people drag you down. And most importantly, do the right thing. I have tried to do this in all my products. Oh yeah, WEAR your sneakers! It’s why we make them!!! Stay tuned for the next adventure — never stop exploring!

“Whatever you do, enjoy yourself doing
it and have fun. Don’t let the serious people
drag you down.”

Steven Smith shares some advice


Riccardo Tisci Discusses Erykah Badu As New Face of Givenchy

V Magazine sat down with Riccardo Tisci who recently welcomed Erykah Badu as the new face of Givenchy. Known throughout the ’90s for her musical fusion of soul and jazz as well as her African-inspired fashion sense, Badu has been busy as of late — touring, working on her new album while splitting duties as a mother of three. Here, we see a back and forth between Tisci and Badu for V magazine and learn more about how Badu’s all-embracing style and persona is an undeniable match for Givenchy. Read an insert below and head to V Magazine for the full interview.

V: Erykah, did you know Riccardo before you got the call to appear in the ads?  

ERYKAH BADU: I just got a call from him. There’s not a big backstory to it. Unless you want to include that I’m a big fan of his work.

RICCARDO TISCI: I knew her as a musician and an artist. And she is a real artist. We had crossed paths before once in New York but never really knew each other. I asked her and she said yes. I was very, very happy. I wanted to represent the collection with style and elegance and I think she is perfect for that.

V: In addition to being an incredible artist, you’re also quite a fashion magpie. Are clothes another mode of expression for you? 

EB: It’s all art to me. I just really enjoy expressing myself artistically in any genre. Whether it be music or cooking or hair. Costume, makeup, fashion. It’s just fun exploring all of the little things inside of my head and seeing them manifest. I would liken fashion or styling to putting a lump of clay in the middle of the table and carving away. And there’s something underneath. Layering and silhouettes. A pair of earrings. I think it comes down to my favorite things and how they come together. That’s fun when that happens.

RT: And this is one of the great things that drew me to Erykah. Aside from being quite talented, and the queen of the ’90s. I was thinking of someone who was quite elegant and urban. She’s always been this way. She has a very good sense of style, she’s great with jewelry. Her look can be quite feminine with the turban and a dress but also masculine with flat shoes or trainers. It all works.

V: Can you talk about the shoot with Mert & Marcus? 

RT: For me it’s all about family. They are like family. Erykah, once we met on set, we fell in love. Now she is family.

EB: They are just so awesome. They want to work with the artist and the model to make sure that she’s seeing what exactly is going to appear. I think that’s really kind and generous. And I love Riccardo’s heart. I like that he’s very thoughtful in his art and his design. Not only does he have a superb eye for silhouette and technique, but he also has an imagination that’s pretty out there. That’s why we get along pretty well. He allowed me to contribute to the style of theshoots.



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