You’re coming out with a sequel to last year’s “Walk of Fame” Dunk with Nike SB. Can you tell us the story behind the new shoes?
So this shoe basically encompasses the whole celebrity and idea of Hollywood – the paparazzi, it goes hand in hand. They help with making someone famous then once that person gets their fame, they might be lucky to get a star on the Walk of Fame one day. So this shoe is a “prequel” of some sorts.
What can you tell us about the materials, colors and detailing on the shoe?
The colors of the shoe are black representing the cameras that the paparazzi use with a special “flash pattern” to symbolize the camera flashes in a 3M reflective type of coating, which will actually wash out a pic if enough light goes on them. It then becomes the anti-paparazzi shoe. We also used a first for SB – a beautiful red velvet to symbolize the ropes that the paps stand behind.
This is your fourth collaboration with Nike SB. What is the process like when doing a shoe with the Swoosh?
It’s a long process, about a year. We first have to come up with a good story, then a colorway has to match the story in someway. It’s not about just slapping some colors and putting it out. With the newest one, we went through three different colorways to come up with the right one. We as in myself, Shawn B from Nike SB and my designer Mandee Bence. Then, it has to be put on the calendar and release date set. So a little over a year and that’s if the samples come back right. If not, then add another six months to the process. Luckily, we’ve been fortunate to have the samples come back right the first time.
We hear there’s a custom Nike installation at your Melrose store for this release. What can you tell us about it?
Yes, we have a great working relationship with Nike SB. They have a custom section in our store. I wanted to come up with a special window, so I asked for some assets and they helped out with that.
When I passed by the shop in January, Pat Rumney was skating the ramp in the back, he introduced himself, took a photo with my boy. In general, the vibe back there was amazing. Can you tell us more about that aspect of the shop? It seems there’s a ton of pros that hang out there.
Pat Rumney is the shit, the next big thing in skateboarding, he’s also the team manager of our skate team, glad you met him. The vibe of the shop has been the same since I opened Brooklyn House in Brooklyn in 1992, a family vibe, no cool-guy shit here like other shops. If you’re cool and vibe with us then you’re thrown into the mix. That’s why there’s so many pros and celebs that hang out in the shop, we are all one big family. The “Melrose Mob” – everyone’s cool with one another. It’s trippy sometimes when we have someone like Johnny Depp with his son Jack in the back getting skate lessons from Lizard King. Pretty surreal but that’s Brooklyn Projects for you.
Obviously you’re very passionate about skateboarding, with BP being a skate shop first and foremost. How do you feel about the skate scene today?
The skate scene today is in a weird place. Skate companies back in the ’90s and early 2000s had their own lane, then streetwear brands sorta crossed over into it mid-2003/4, taking their market shares as far as clothing shelf space. Skate companies didn’t foresee the trend and slowly started hurting financially because of this and most importantly, shop boards and blank decks, that’s what’s really killing the skate market. Why would a kid buy a pro deck for $55 – $60 when they can buy a shop deck for $30 – $35? And because of this, pros are getting dropped and board companies refuse to lower prices. Actually, some of them offer price-point boards like Real Skateboards. I’m not about that. I never sell or have sold a shop deck. If I want a shop deck, I will do a collab like I’ve done with Death Wish or Girl, or do a pro one-off like I’ve done with Braydon Szafranski. Shops are just killing the market by selling shop decks for so cheap. At least if they sold them for $40 or so then maybe a kid would throw the extra $10 to get a pro board.
What’s the craziest story you can tell us involving skaters and paparazzi?
That’s an easy one. When I was hanging with Muska, back in the mid-2000s, we would go out every night. Then he started dating Paris Hilton at the height of her career. We were chased so many times by paparazzi and seeing them hide in his bushes waiting to get pics. Probably the craziest shit though was when Chris Brown started hanging with Rihanna the first time after the whole beating thing. They came to my store to chill and work on his Black Pyramid clothing line designs. We heard some shit on the roof, I went outside and there was three paps on my roof trying to set up for a photo opp. That was crazy.
Back to the shoe. When/where can they be found?
Right now the shoe will be available only at Brooklyn Projects locations. There will be a QS version similar to ours slated for the near future.
Why did you decide to open up stores in Canada?
I always loved Canada, especially Toronto. After going there so many times, there wasn’t, in my eyes, a place that carries up-and-coming brands as well as established brands like Brooklyn Projects. So I did my research, got together with an old friend of mine who has been in the retail business for over 30 years and we opened three stores in one year – two in Montreal, one in Toronto, with three more slated by the end of 2015
Will we see a fifth Brooklyn Projects x Nike SB shoe?
We are always working on something with Nike SB but nothing is slated as of yet.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Just want to say thank you to everyone at Highsnobiety, can’t thank you enough. Also want to thank all the supporters of Brooklyn Projects and all the people that have believed in me over the last 20 years and helped me get to where I am in life. And heres a little shameless plug to look out for the Brooklyn Projects brand and our girls line Brooklyn Queens at fine skate shops and streetwear shops globally. Thanks!