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Highsnobiety Q&A May, 11 2011

Talking Brooklyn Projects With… Dom DeLuca

In our latest “Talking __ With…” installment we catch up with Dom DeLuca, co-owner and founder of Brooklyn Projects. We chat about his soon to-be-released “Reign in Blood” Nike SB Dunk High, the current state of retail, and more.

Talk about your relationship with Slayer.

My relationship goes WAY back and has come full circle with band and management. I met Tom and Jeff in the mid 80′s when i hung out and worked at my uncles club (La’Mours) in Brooklyn. Then I started hanging out and working at Rush Mgmt/ Def jam and Slayer oddly enough got signed by Rick Rubin there… so I was back in the mix. Still have my 1 of 12 Def Jam / Slayer Letterman jacket.. fits a little snug but its a classic. Soon after I hung out in the studio during the recording of South Of Heaven. At that time I basically was Tom and Jeff’s drinking buddy.. going out right after the studio to clubs and bars almost getting beat up by bikers in Brooklyn. Right after that.. I would see them on various tours and what not.. always keeping in touch. Fast forward… their management of Rick Sales and Kristen Mulderig .. have been friends of mine for 20 years.. I was the one that hooked up the deal with Plan B Skateboards.. soon after that.. Slayer’s management always kept me in the loop of projects that had to do with the action sports industry.. to let them know if it was cool or not.. fast forward to this project.. My favorite album of all time is Reign In Blood.. I always wanted to do a shoe with Slayer but it had to be done right.. so myself along with my designer Mandee… colored it up and pitched to Shea and Shawn B from Nike SB.. from there it started snowballing with more projects in the works between all parties involved.

Read our full conversation after the click.

In what ways did you approach your second Nike SB release differently than the first?

Well for one.. the first one was done by an ex employee.. and we entrusted him to come up with a dope concept which he did but he dropped the ball on it as he did on everything else and it came out the way it did.. the concept that many people don’t know was the shoe was a representation of an old Sims skate glove.. when you look at the shoe and glove together it would’ve made more sense. The new shoe we worked on was ALL ME… I was involved in every aspect to make sure everything was and is on point… which people will notice.. soon after we released teaser pics.. calling it the RIB Dunk.. a few got it based on the colorways… which is what i wanted to happen.. and also on this one.. I worked very closely with Nike SB on everything… from packaging to release date..etc.

How has retail changed over the past few years?

Retail for a brick and mortar store is at the lowest I have ever seen.. due to the internet, brands opening chain stores, brands opening flagship stores, and flat out played out designs from companies.. retail for the “mom and pop” shop is dead and buried. Hence all the store closures every month. People don’t want to experience going to a destination to see new product and interact with the store and its workers.. they rather sit at home.. chat on forums.. and shop online or make a day of it and go to a mall and get all their shopping needs done at once. In California especially.. there’s no real mass transit system.. so kids need to drive to stores.. but gas being almost $5.00 a gallon.. I don’t blame for not wanting to drive with their friends to a shop to chill and pick up new product. I have so many customers that live 25 miles away that rather do a phone order and pay the $8-$10 shipping than drive to the shop. It’s fucking crazy but understandable.

What affect does the Internet have on what you do?

The internet like I said before has killed the “shopping experience ” … and it has put stores out of business and now it’s taking its toll on the brands.. brands got greedy and starting selling all their product to anyone that had an online store to get the loot.. after a while.. these online stores had competition so they started a price war between themselves… offering discounted prices and free shipping.. eventually the brands that once based their product on being unique and limited were as common as seeing Ed Hardy or Starbucks.. which made some of them less appealing to the consumer that helped them.. along with the small shops.. to that point. The way it should be done or shall I say should’ve been done was to offer different product to online.. different product to retail brick and mortar shops. But now that’s too late. It’s a constant struggle but I work best when going uphill.

How do collaborative projects and store exclusives factor into your business?

Collabs are great if they are done with the right companies and right concepts.. we do a few a year.. last one being the Diamond tee we did which sold out for Nick and myself in 30 minutes… but I can’t count and base that on making my business because that well will run dry real quick if I did so… I mean how many collabs can you do before it just becomes the norm for your shop and brand..? I like to do stuff as in collabs.. at the right time with the right story behind it. It has to make sense and be a part of me someway for it to be successful in my mind.

What is your opinion on the current state of footwear?

It’s weak… everyone is just copying everyone else… no originality.. the last thing that was semi-original in my opinion was Native Shoes. I predict that this year will be the rebirth of skate shoe companies.. brands like Lakai, Osiris, DVS, Emerica… it’s gonna be a retro type thing with the companies that are going to do it… set the tone again like they did in the 90′s into 2000+

Thoughts on the relationship between fashion and music today?

My thought is there is no such thing as music… name the hyped band from 3 years ago that’s doing today?? As far as fashion.. having mediocre hip hop acts doing collabs with every streetwear company is fucking wack and only helps kill the brand and industry in the end. It works a little bit with some artists but even they have massive failures (Kanye West & Pastelle)

Favorite sneaker of all time?

I would have to answer that one with the Jordan 1 in black/red or black/blue… in a tie with the Nike SB Takashi Dunk Low 2.

What is your favorite curse word?

That’s an easy one…. FUCK…. can be used so many ways.. and Erik made a brand of it.

List the five most useful items on your desk.

My Mac. My Sharpie. My autographed picture of Michael Jordan. A poem that an ex girlfriend wrote about me. And my cell phone charger.

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