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how toThursday, September 3, 2020

6 Influencers Customise Their Own Trainers At Home Using The Farfetch x The Shoe Surgeon Tutorials

WORDS BY STEPHEN YU

The Shoe Surgeon, aka Dominic Ciambrone, is the LA-based cobbler-turned-shoe-creator behind some of the world’s most sought-after bespoke trainers. In our exclusive series of video tutorials, we gave you a unique insight into some of the core techniques used by Dominic and his Surgeon Studios team to create their 1/1 custom trainers.

 

From sneaker deconstruction, to how to prep the uppers for painting and tie-dying, and even how to swap and dye sole units, the Surgeon Studios team will give you in-depth instructions on how to master each technique, as well as the essentials tools and materials you’ll need to design your own trainers in the comfort of your own home. Now all you need is a little inspiration.

 

That’s why we’ve paired up with six creatives and sneaker aficionados, and tasked them with customising their own trainers using one of the techniques outlined in our tutorial series. Along the way, they documented the whole process from ideation and customisation to finished product – including the mistakes they’ve made, so you won’t have to. So if you haven’t started creating your own trainers yet, let six of streetwear's finest inspire you with their own designs. 

How To Create Your Own Bapestas with Ginney Noa (@ginneynoa)

 

Fashion, beauty and travel blogger based in Rotterdam, Netherlands

 

Can you introduce your trainer and explain the design of it? What were the different inspirations for your custom trainer design?

I chose the Nike Air Force 1 because it’s a sneaker I wear a lot and I like that it’s clean, so it’s easier to paint on. I took inspiration from the colourway of a Bapesta sneaker for my design, I‘ve always loved A Bathing Ape and their colour palettes. I wanted to recreate that palette and use it on an Air Force with a feminine twist. I added flowers because they make me happy, and I live in a country where it rains a lot so I used bright colours.

 

What have you styled with your custom trainer and why?

I went for a casual creamy coloured outfit to keep that summer vibe. I’m a big fan of baggy clothes and I matched the brown top with the Swoosh on the trainers! This is something I’d wear on a daily basis, it’s casual and comfy.

 

How easy/difficult was the customisation process? What were the hardest/easiest parts? How long did it take you?

The easiest part was painting the shoe, the hardest part was coming up with a colour palette and actually mixing the colours as the bottle of paint I bought wasn't an exact match of the colour I was looking for, so I had to mix it here and there. Also, putting the laces in was kinda hard because of the two different fabrics that I used as laces.

 

What inspired you to choose this trainer customisation technique over others?

Well, I like different kinds of fabrics on a shoe but I painted a Jordan before and that was really fun to do! So I wanted to play around with that again and use different colours.

 

Are you inspired to do more customised pieces in the future? What would you like to customise?

I think I am, I’ve always loved creating stuff or giving existing clothing and trainers my own twist. I remember when I was 15 years old I started painting on my Converse and Nike Dunks and adding beads to my laces.

 

How To Customise Your Own Alexander McQueen Sneakers with Carroll Lynn (@careaux)

 

Illustrator and blogger at SheCozy Life Of based in Amsterdam, Netherlands

 

Can you introduce your sneaker and explain the design of it? What were the different inspirations for your custom sneaker design?

My sneaker is the iconic Alexander McQueen. I love the simplicity of the sneaker so I wanted to keep my design clean too. Instead of fully covering it with lots of colour, I decided to keep my illustration as an outline. I kept it girly by drawing a flower, it’s actually a design I feature a lot on my Sneaker Dedication illustrations. Also, the colour of the line is the same colour as the sole of the sneaker.

 

What have you styled with your custom sneaker and why?

I’ve styled it with a cute pink dress. As the sneaker is mostly white and pink, I wanted to keep it balanced.

 

How easy/difficult was the customisation process? What were the hardest/easiest parts? How long did it take you? 

It wasn’t too difficult as I kept to just painting and I’ve been customizing a lot of sneakers lately. It was quite a simple process as I kept the sneaker design as simple as possible. It’s what I wanted so it could be wearable and not all over the place. The hardest part was trying to keep a steady line as the illustration was just a line drawing, that’s what you’ll need to focus on. It took me around 3/4 hours to make them.

 

What inspired you to choose this sneaker customisation technique over others?

As the leather of the McQueens are much better quality than the Nike Air Force 1, I wanted to paint them instead of using anything with glue or markers.

 

Are you inspired to do more customised pieces in the future? What would you like to customise?

Definitely! As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve customised a lot of sneakers in the past but mainly for toddlers. But with a baby due to arrive, I’ll have more time in the future to take it to the next level and try something completely different to just painting. The main reason I used paint this time was mainly that I love these sneakers and I wanted to keep them wearable.

 

How To Customise The PSNY x Nike Air Force 1 with Sanne Poeze (@girlonkicks)

 

Graphic designer and sneaker, streetwear blogger at Girl On Kicks based in Amsterdam, Netherlands

 

Can you introduce your sneaker and explain the design of it? What were the different inspirations for your custom sneaker design?

I’ve ‘customized’ a pair of black PSNY x Nike Air Force 1’s. For the custom design, I was inspired by jewellery and layering. The shoe itself has a lot of different layers with a deconstructed look and alongside sneakers, I’m a big fan of jewellery (I even designed my own Jewelry collaboration last year). 

I’m also a big fan of the Nike x Comme Des Garcons Shox and wanted to create my own jewelled sneaker. 

 

What have you styled with your custom sneaker and why?

As we’re slowly transitioning to fall season, my favourite season, I went for a more transitional look. I’m wearing a black flowy maxi dress but styled with a knit to make it cosier and fall-proof. I love the colour of the knit with the gold on the sneakers as well, and of course I’m wearing all of my favourite gold jewellery. 

 

How easy/difficult was the customisation process? What were the hardest/easiest parts? How long did it take you? 

We spent a full day customizing including getting all the chains/beads/pearls, finalising the design and actually attaching everything to the sneakers. It takes some concentration and patience as the little items are quite precise and hard to attach. I have long nails so the struggle was real; thank god I have the best ‘can do it all’ assistant who was a great help (shout out to you Natalia)!

 

What inspired you to choose this sneaker customisation technique over others?

I wanted to use a technique that wouldn’t damage the sneakers, something that we could add on to the sneakers. In this way, if I wanted to add or take something off it’d still be an option! Also, we’ve been doing chain, rhinestone and gem customization projects on Nike socks for a while now and I feel like it kind of became our signature thing. 

 

Are you inspired to do more customised pieces in the future? What would you like to customise?

We’ve been doing socks for a while now and this is the first sneaker I’ve customized with the same concept. I loved doing it and will definitely do this more often. The only downside is that it’s quite fragile so you have to be careful when wearing these. They’re not party sneakers! 

 

How To Customise Your Own Vans Shoes with Cássio Medici (@cassiomedici)

 

Founder and editor-in-chief at Streetwear Brasil based in Brazil

 

Can you introduce your sneaker and explain the design of it? What were the different inspirations for your custom sneaker design?

I chose to customize a pair of Vault by Vans Sk8-Hi. This model is strongly linked to my lifestyle which is deeply rooted in the skateboarding and hardcore/punk scene. My idea for customising this pair came from the sport itself and the underground music scene. For that, I made a mood board with skate decks from the eighties, straight edge bands and retro sneakers to inspire my final vision of the sneaker.

 

What have you styled with your custom sneaker and why?

My personal style references workwear brands, Los Angeles style and skateboarding. I love classic styles, like the Derby jacket that I’m wearing which is from a Brazilian brand called Breaknecks. The black hoodie, a staple in streetwear style, is from the band Judge. And finally some Dickies pants, the iconic 874 that has a nice cut. The aesthetic matches perfectly with my customised shoes.

 

How easy/difficult was the customisation process? What were the hardest/easiest parts? How long did it take you?

In the beginning, it's really scary because you’ve got a brand new shoe and you have to modify it. After studying what I wanted to do, the process became a bit more natural. The hardest part was painting because if you don’t do it carefully you can ruin the whole project. Counter to this, the easiest part was getting that worn-in look.

The whole process took me two weeks because I made it in two different stages. I finalised the first part and waited for a week to see if I was okay with the result or if I’d need to add more details.

 

What inspired you to choose this sneaker customisation technique over others?

I chose techniques and materials that were linked with the initial idea. To make it look more worn, I used sandpaper on the side panel. This element is a nostalgic nod to my time skateboarding when your shoes would get ripped open by the grip tape of the deck.

For a dark and dirty vibe, I painted the side stripe black. The splatter technique was used in reference to DIY culture and street art.

To finish the aesthetic, I applied some black duct tape to the collar and toebox in homage to skateboarding shoes from the nineties. Skate shoes were really expensive at that time in Brazil so many skaters used duct tape to cover any holes and protect their sneakers so they lasted a little longer.

 

Are you inspired to do more customised pieces in the future? What would you like to customise?

Yes, for sure. In fact, this is not the first time that I’ve customised something. I’ve done it before with shirts and jackets. Customisation gives a unique aesthetic and personalisation to items that communicates your unique sense of style. I’m open to new customisation projects with sneakers or clothing.

 

How To Customise The Nike Air Max 90 with Dan Kitchener (@dankitchener)

 

Professional mural artist, illustrator and street artist based in London, United Kingdom

 

Can you introduce your sneaker and explain the design of it?

These are my Nike Air Max 90 Tokyo editions. The design is classic nineties Nike, it’s a sneaker that I love and have worn since the 1990’s so for me it was the first choice when customising footwear. I’m a street and fine artist painter, so for me I see the sneaker itself as a blank canvas. I work mainly with black backgrounds, so the lovely smooth black Nike’s were a perfect canvas for me. I also love the way that Nike trainers are sectioned, giving the illusion you are looking at a scene within the trainer, as parts of the leather stretch over the image. I wanted to paint only two sections so as to not overdo the design and make it part of the sneaker instead of overpowering it. 

 

What were the different inspirations for your custom sneaker design?

My designs are based on my travels to Japan, Tokyo and Hong Kong. The original reference photographs were taken by me when on my travels. It’s important for me to use my own references, so I’ve experienced the actual places that I’m painting in my art. The sneaker which depicts a single figure with an umbrella, represents me wandering through the alleys and streets of Tokyo at night. The neon signs, rain, misty streets – it’s very atmospheric. The second sneaker is a street view of Shinjuku in Tokyo with street lamps and car brake lights reflecting on the road. I love the vibrancy and colours of Japan at night and this is what I wanted to recreate onto the sneakers. 

 

How easy/difficult was the customisation process? What were the hardest/easiest parts? How long did it take you?

I’m used to painting 100-foot walls all over the world or large canvas paintings all using freehand spray and/or acrylic paint. So for me, using my skills to paint something very tiny and intricate was always going to be a challenge. I started with sketches in my sketchbook and iPad Pro to visualise the design in my head. Then, I used very small fine brushes to start painting the designs. The sneakers are basically mini canvases. Achieving the level of detail I wanted, and the diffuse lighting effects that I incorporate into so much of my work was tricky – I’m used to using spray paint so recreating these effects with small brushes was difficult! It took maybe two hours for each shoe, which is quite a long time for such a small surface. 

 

What inspired you to choose this sneaker customisation technique over others?

I am a painter by heart, so painting was always going to be my initial response. The way that I visualise creative projects is always with a painterly point of view, I saw these sneakers as literal canvases – art in motion. I love the idea of wearing art. 

 

Are you inspired to do more customised fashion pieces in the future? What would you like to customise?

Yes for sure, I’ve painted high heels for clients before as well as painted some designer jackets for a client overseas. I love the idea of people wearing my hand-painted art.  Original wearable art is such a great concept. So yes, I am always looking for interesting challenges and opportunities to showcase my work.

 

How To Customise Reebok Sneakers with Bruno ou Brunol (@Brrunol)

 

Blogger at NOTTHESAMO based in São Paulo, Brazil


 

Can you introduce your sneaker and explain the design of it? What were the different inspirations for your custom sneaker design?

My chosen sneaker was the Reebok Club C. My inspiration came from my own lifestyle and things I really like. In the last few months, I’ve been obsessed with sneakers, prints and different types of leather. For this reason, I decided to bring together different types of animal printed leather for my customisation.

 

What have you styled with your custom sneaker and why?

Due to the cold weather this winter in São Paulo, my first choice was to style them with comfy sweatpants and an all-black hoodie, which makes the sneakers stand out. But I could easily pair these with high socks and shorts in the summer as well.

 

How easy/difficult was the customisation process? What were the hardest/easiest parts? How long did it take you? 

Before I’d even started customising my shoes, I’d pictured them in my head but I didn't know how I could make them real. It was complicated turning the idea into reality! To start with, I removed the logos sewn into the sides of the shoes. It took approximately four hours to get it 100% the way I wanted.

 

What inspired you to choose this sneaker customisation technique over others?

The Reebok Club C is my favourite sneaker silhouette, it was an easy choice.

 

Are you inspired to do more customised pieces in the future? What would you like to customise?

Yes! I’ve been inspired to customise a jacket next.