NYC’s New Kicks

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Being all about the emerging trends, the New York locals, and the independent designers we at Fashion360 decided to follow up my coverage of this past weekend’s Sneakercon with a more in-depth look to the most stylish kicks in the market today.

Pushing back a little bit against what Yu Ming said in his interview, some of the more fashionable options we managed to find did, in fact, get their start on the Payless discount rack, where the name of the game was customization. I remember a Soho pop-up party I went to last month with Kyle Wallack, whose label Washed Apparel has been gaining traction recently for its breezy aesthetic. He brought along a friend who set up shop with a tube of oil paints and, for the price of a six pack, would embellish your shoes any way you want, from pointillist accents to color blocking, to straight-up portraiture.

Now, granted, the only A-level illustrator I personally met at Sneakercon, Anderson Bluu (www.bluudesigns.com), only had designer hoodies and hats, not sneakers, but he said he might be open to special requests. But still, even if you decide to go for a more regular piece from his line, you will definitely be getting clothes with graphics on fleek, and your style will still be ballin’, which, after all, is really the whole point.

To get back to sneakers for a second, probably the most prominent and stylish soul-to-sole customizer whom we came across was FBCC NYC (IG @fbccbayrea, http://thecustomizersdepot.bigcartel.com/). He’ll do vinyl wraps, dyes, and gilding, and can even hook you up with shoe care products to keep whatever designs you choose sharp. What really caught my eye was the three-dimensionality he brought to the body of the shoes, and how on some pieces the augmented wings ended up resembling a praying mantis or an Issey Miyake scarf.

Illustration, wasn’t the only method of sneaker customization on display Saturday, but it was the best. I tend to agree with what Yu Ming said about the gold pendants, clear plastic water-shields, and exotic shoelaces. They’re more like accessories to the accessory, and to back that claim up I can say with confidence that nobody who graduated high school was wearing any of them.

Exotic materials for the shoe body, though, was another story, and another area where we saw some significant overlap between sneaker culture and haute couture. The LeBron x EXT Cork, by Nike, beautifully balanced the smooth, modernist texture of the foam base with an earthy evocation of the hard court, all in a palette which perfectly complements the burgundy and gold glory of Cleveland’s favorite son(s). Ik, my editor, even said they reminded her of Christian Louboutin’s Very Privé Tan Cork Pumps, and you know how seriously she takes her shoes.