I'm really into the new-wave of independent footwear companies, brands, and retailers that are going full force this year. Here’s a list of a few up and coming companies and brands that I’ll be keeping an eye on.
EYTYS - These 90’s inspired sneakers take me back to when I was a teenager. Eytys mission is pretty straightforward: A sneaker brand that aims to be the perfect product manifestation of Generation Y. I feel like I could find these high-midsole sneakers in the dressing room of Missy Elliot’s The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly) video shoot. I would wear these with some navy cargo shorts in the Summer, and a yellow bubble jacket, baggy black sweatpants and some goggles in the Fall. The only stockist in the U.S. that carries Eytys is Opening Ceremony, so I’m just hoping the Stockholm based brand is more accessible to folks in the US soon.
MUTTA SHOES - Handmade. Latin America. Vibrant. I’m loving everything about coming from the Mutta camp. I’m seeing a lot of Moccasins, leather laces, all-over nature prints and crepe soles. These dudes aren’t following any trends; just creating well-crafted products heavily inspired by their Brazilian heritage and culture. All of Mutta Shoe’s materials and textiles are locally-sourced in Brazil as well. I’m usually a boring sneaker-wearer and my color panel is usually just black, white or grey, but Mutta is having my feet ready for a pair of of Comma Tribal Burgundys or the Drucker Noir Wing Tip. Another one of those brands that I would like to see in the U.S., a.s.a.p.
ATHLETIC PROPULSION LABS (APL) - Designing sneakers is no easy task, but to take it to the next level and create a brand and business behind while going against the big boys like Nike and Adidas shows no fear. The Los Angeles based basketball collective APL. offers several models of performance footwear, even having a few of them being sold out. It also appears that they’ve spent some time on their branding and technology. I'm enjoying the details, like the subtle rain camo pictured to the right. I would love to see more marketing of the brand. Will we see APL on the NBA or NCAA? What type of basketball player can we see wearing a pair of APL’s? How will APL use Social Media to fully maximize their brand identity?
GYM STANDARD - Former colleague of mines, Renaissance man and overall-good-dude Edwin Negado is in the works of opening up Gym Standard, his own Footwear and Design Goods shop in Sunny San Diego. Edwin is an alumni of Wieden + Kennedy 12.7 and worked on the Off The Wall line at Vans shortly after. Now he is applying his knowledge and wisdom into creating and running his very own business. I’ve always considered Edwin a curator of all well designed things - from fashion, to furniture, music, and art. There is no doubt that G.S. will make some noise in California, so make sure to stay current with Edwin Himself and the Gym Standard posse.