The art of sneaker customisation

11 October 2019 | Art and Entertainment

In sneaker culture, the desire to stand out through what your feet are wearing is a huge deal.

Sneaker exclusivity is everything because sharing your favourite sneakers with someone who already has them or might buy them tomorrow (if they wanted) can get pretty old and tiring fast. The art of sneaker customisation has boomed into a solid business globally and has truly been perceived as a serious form of expression. Custom sneakers are pieces of art that combine passion and fashion knowledge together to create something unique and beautiful.

In Namibia, Leroy Kambrude from Sole Purpose Namibia is the king of customising sneakers. He is able to transform any sneaker and paint it in his own unique way.

We caught up with the extraordinary sneaker customiser to let us in on how he combines his love for painting and shoes.

On how he got into this business, Kambrude shared that he has always loved drawing and, of course, sneakers. His friend suggested he start cleaning sneakers for extra income and while doing research on how to properly clean sneakers he came across a website that sold leather paint for sneakers. “That's how I decided to combine my love for art and sneakers. To create a one-of-a-kind sneaker and to be able to do this as a business is extra special and I love seeing people wear what I create,” he said.

Kambrude showcases at the monthly hip-hop event Lemon and Lime hosted by Doctatainment. He describes the experience as unbelievable as he does not accept it as true when he receives positive responses for his art. “Everybody was curious about who Sole Purpose Namibia is and what we do.

“Doctatainment is doing a magnificent job in exposing young and upcoming entrepreneurs in the creative space. They have granted this opportunity to Sole Purpose too, which I am very grateful for,” he said.

He makes use of Angelus leather paint specially made to be used on sneakers as it is flexible and it does not flake, crack or peel off the sneaker. The process takes about two to three days. Describing the process, he shared that he starts by properly cleaning the sneakers as the art work comes out better when it's a new or clean sneaker. He then uses acetone to remove the factory finish from the sneaker.

“I use vinyl or masking tape depending on the sneaker material. I either hand draw the design, freestyle it or use stencils.

“I paint multiple coats until satisfied. Once done I add the high floss, normal or matte finisher/sealer to the sneaker,” he shared.

MICHAEL KAYUNDE

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