Today, Sneaker Lab unveils its latest sneaker collection. I, along with other creative people from the Detroit area, were chosen to be a part of this special drop. The collection, titled “Project 313”, is meant to pay tribute to the city that raised us. Each of us took themes from around the city, as well as from our own personal experiences growing up in Detroit. Often times we hear about the cultures of other cities like Chicago, New York, and LA. And many times those cities are the beneficiaries of certain, exclusive sneaker releases; and many times beyond that they have sneakers dedicated to their namesake. We wanted to do the same for Detroit.
Most times when you see Detroit in the news, it’s usually something negative. High levels of crime. Dirty politicians. Corruption. True enough, those things have plagued us in this city for a while. But we wanted to take the opportunity to use something we all love, sneakers, and use it to shine a more positive light on our hometown. Our story is a Detroit story, and despite us all coming from the from the same place, we each have our experiences. We each have our own stories to tell. Combine them all, and you get a complete collage of what Detroit is, was, and can be.
Laughs, forgive me if I’m making this sound TOO deep. But on some level, for us it is. Every sneakerhead dreams of having their own official shoe. Having your own collab is like the Nobel Peace Prize for sneakerheads. Lol. We all grew up in the inner city, so to have this opportunity to be part of this collection is something we never imagined for ourselves. Nobody gives a shit about Detroit, it’s all on us to care about our own. Hence the mantra “Detroit vs. Everybody”. Shout out to Tommey Walker.
Using the NikeiD platform, Sneaker Lab commissioned each of us to create up to five sneakers that represent our experiences, stories, and city. I personally made four sneakers. My first sneaker, the Nike Air Max 1 “The Sneaker Box”, was based on the podcast, turned radio show, that I created 3 years ago. We had the opportunity to go to Nike World Headquarters this past January. I found out then that a lot of employees there actually listen to the show, which was in large part the reason we were invited in the first place.
My second sneaker, the Nike Air Max 90 “Skilled Trades”, pays tribute to my time as a union skilled trades member. I went through an electrical apprenticeship through the NJATC, where I received my Journeyman Electricians license. I was a member of the I.B.E.W. before I ended up at Chrysler and the U.A.W. My experience in the unions of Detroit, and as a skilled tradesman, has had a major impact on my life. It has facilitated my ability to do what I love most, talk about sneakers. It’s also given me the ability to have a stable career and take care of my family. It’s a major chapter of my story, and I had to tell it with this shoe.
My third sneaker, the Nike Air Force 1 High “Hitsville”, should be a ‘no brainer’. There’s no way I could do a Detroit-themed collection and not make a Motown inspired sneaker. As I said before, my story IS a Detroit story. Which is why I based the first two shoes on my personally experiences. But I had to brag on my city and its past glory. Motown changed the musical landscape in the 60s. To think that all of these legends—Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations—all came from my city, and damn near the same neighborhoods, makes you think what other talented people never got the opportunity to showcase them. If for nothing else, Motown birthed Michael Jackson. His performance at Motown 25 is by far the best individual performance by any entertainer ever. Fight me. Lol. So this Nike AF-1 pays homage to that event and to the building that birthed so many hits. Hitsville, USA.
And finally, my last sneaker, the Nike Air Huarache “Rock & Rye”. Anybody from Detroit, or the Midwest, will tell you that there is no better drink than Faygo’s Rock & Rye. Faygo, no matter the flavor, is a staple here in the summer. It’s a constant battle between them and Vernors. I give Faygo the edge with Rock & Rye. Now we call it ‘pop’ up here. Down south they call it ‘soda’. No matter what you call it, take a sip of that drink and you will call it ‘delicious’. It’s funny where inspiration comes from. I was literally standing at a vending machine at work, trying to come up with a concept for my fourth design. I wanted to tell the story of Detroit’s “Black Bottom”, but I was limited; plus I felt it was too morbid of story. So I’m at the vending machine trying to get something to drink. This particular vending machine only had three choices: Pepsi, Mt. Dew, and Sunkist Orange. I wasn’t feeling any of them. And I said to myself, “Damn. I could go for some Rock & Rye.” As soon as I said it, a light bulb went off. I rushed back to my laptop and came up with color-blocking based on the colorway of the pop bottle. This is probably my personal favorite out of all four shoes.
As I mentioned before, I was a part of a small group who all had a chance to create their own individual collections that combined to make up this Sneaker Lab “Project 313” Collection. Besides myself, you had @TheSneakerGirl, @Francis313, @Guru_Knows, @RickWlms, @MJ.O.MJ, @_FFTY, @Clue313, and @Staylaced_Don. You can find, and purchase, everyone’s sneakers by going to Sneaker-Lab.com. But hurry, the collection will only be available for one week. #Detroit #Sneakerheads