Welcome to Creator Connection! Nice Kicks’ newest column where we’ll feature the best up-and-coming sneaker designers & customizers.
To kick off the series we have the lads of Britain’s premier skate shop, Attitude Inc..
Since 2011, Attitude has brought the best of the best from all over the globe to the greater area of Colchester. With 10 years of experience in the industry, Nike SB has granted Attitude with “Orange Label” status. More than just sneakers, being an “Orange Label” account is huge in the skateboarding community. Only a handful of retailers are deemed “Orange Label” accounts and Nike is very particular about who they select, being that they want to prioritize the best local skate shops.
As a prominent staple in the Colchester community, Nike challenged the Attitude team to create their own custom sneakers using a silhouette from the “Unbleached Pack” — thus, “The 12” was born.
Alvin Singfield is the General Manager of Attitude Inc. and he knew that his team had the ability to do something special with this challenge. He came up with the idea of “The 12,” in which the Attitude staff and close friends would design their own individual sneakers using the Nike SB Dunk High “Unbleached.”
This project is the first of its kind for a Nike “Orange Label” account, putting a lot of pressure on the Attitude team to deliver. Alvin called on his longtime friend, Dan Gooding aka the Large Professor, to help bring the designs to life. Dan is a professional sneaker customizer and has been friends with Alvin since the 90’s, during the early days of the skate scene. With Dan ready to take on the project, the Attitude team began to work on their custom designs. Each member of “The 12” took their ideas to paper with the help of their friend Alex, who rendered all the CADs for the project. From there, they passed off their fully fledged concepts to Dan, who was able to put their designs onto actual silhouettes of the Nike SB Dunk High “Unbleached.” The “Unbleached Pack” is special for the simple fact that it’s not bleached, meaning that these sneakers have the ability to pick up dye in a unique way. These sneakers are a customizer’s dream and Dan wasted no time getting to work. Each custom has a personal story behind the design, resulting in a collection of sneakers that are all exceptional in their own right.
Get to know Dan and the Attitude Inc. team as we take a closer look at “The 12” and learn how you can design the #AttitudeLucky13.
“When Alvin first threw the idea at me for the Unbleached Pack, in all honesty I felt honored! I’ve been tinkering with kicks for a good while, Alvin was aware of that, but this was something very different. We had nothing to go on to understand the shoe, other than some crap pics he’d grabbed from the Zoom calls with Nike! But I was onboard immediately. I love what he and the boys were doing with the dunk videos and was stoked to contribute creatively to support him and the store and give life to his idea. The concept of ‘The 12’ was born and off we went. When the designs started roll in, that’s when the challenge really started. The materials on the shoe are super nice, but they present some problems. Bringing the 12 concepts to life has been keeping me up at night! For my design, when this new wave of dunks first came through, I admit…I wasn’t too bothered. Dunks had been done so hard in the past, it just felt like recycling old ideas, but I was totally wrong. Nike brought something rooted in fun back to the shoe, which in my opinion was something we all needed. So, from that and the fun and laughter side of things, the first thing I remember laughing uncontrollably hard at was Peter Sellers ‘Pink Panther’ movies. Absolute stupidity and comedy genius at its finest. I think my entire sense of humor is based on Peter Sellers’ Inspector Clouseau. I remember me and my Dad used to watch these on repeat, knowing the punchlines, but still absolutely wetting ourselves every time. My Dad has seen better days too. So my design is a tribute to him and a tribute to all things laughter and not taking things too seriously — especially shoes!”
“Earlier this year I was told I was able to design a pair of SB Dunks that would be made for me, I was so shocked it made me spill coffee all over a pair of white shoes I was wearing. I looked down and was like boom! That’s my design. I realized if I was going to use coffee as my color palette I would need to fully embrace the coffee, and become a coffee bean. I stayed awake for 5 straight days drinking coffee, smelling coffee, and looking at pictures of coffee online. However, I felt that wasn’t enough so I decided to grow my own coffee plant. After successfully harvesting my first crop I was then ready to start my design, so I made a coffee and got started. Then just like that my design manifested like foam on a latte… I’ve still not slept.”
“When Al came to me with his idea for ‘The 12’ I knew I could fulfill my childhood dream of being a Mighty Duck…..sort of. I can at least look the part! The movies got me into Ice Hockey as a kid and now I can pretend I have my own PE dunks for a make believe Disney team. All jokes aside, this is a rare opportunity for me to combine my love of hockey, skating, and SB into a shoe just for me! I’ll forever be grateful to Al, Lou, Sean, Rachel and everyone else at Attitude.”
“When you get told that you have the opportunity to design a Dunk, your mind goes into overdrive thinking about what’s possible. So, I took the opportunity to combine my love for Marvel with my love of Dunks and came up with The Symbiotes. Channeling Venom and Carnage vibes and using the materials to get the bleeding effect of one shoe to the other to create the illusion of symbiosis. Thanks to Attitude for the opportunity, I’ll be forever grateful to have a 1 of 1 to call my own!”
“When Al asked me to create a design for ‘The 12,’ I was excited at first, then I panicked as the floodgates of ideas in my mind opened like breaking the seal on a night out with that mate that persuades you to go out for ‘just one drink.’ I decided to leave it for a while and let the concept come to me. My youngest son then asked me a question, which to mess with him I replied, ‘Fellow greetings, what seems to be your boggle?’ He looked at me with an expression that said, ‘What the f*ck are you on about?!’ But that was it, I had my concept. The thing that makes SB Dunks so unique is good storytelling and Demolition Man is one of my favorite stories. And there it was: a shoe that pays homage to my favorite movie character — Wesley Snipes’ Simon Phoenix.”
“When the guys from Attitude got in touch to create a colorway, initially my mind went into overdrive. I mean, when does this ever happen? So I actually sat down with my kids and said, ‘If we were to make a shoe how would we color it?’ And they both said, ‘Like sweets!’ A conversation with a friend at work helped me delve into my youth where we spoke about the scrumptious offerings we would scoff at as children, and there’s where the idea struck. As a child I would go and visit my grandparents who lived close to the Haribo factory. They would take me and my brothers to the Odds-and-Ends section where we could buy big boxes for 50p. Liquorice Allsorts were my absolute favorites. To this day I can still smell the air in Pontefract when they were brewing the sweets. I ran this idea with my kids and they loved it. They actually buy me Liquorice Allsorts for every occasion, so it was perfect! The colorway is inspired by the colors on the box, and with a little help from Tess and Dan, the color blocking was done. Add the little Bertie Bassett on the heel and the look was complete.”
“I spent part of my childhood growing up in a place called West Mersea in Essex, a place that’s famed all over the country for its oysters. I’m talking like, exports-oysters-to-Europe-level famous, it’s crazy! It was at that period of your childhood when you get that bit older, you start becoming interested in the nicer things like the nice Nike trainers and clothes and whatnot. Mersea was quite an isolated place, I mean it’s basically an island – so it was always quite quiet and you definitely weren’t surrounded by people wearing the newest Nike releases. I remember pestering my mum for ages and ages to try and get some Nike trainers, and she got me some Nike Air Tech Challenge 1s, proper Andre Agassi classics — I felt like the freshest person alive! So I’ve combined my love for sneakers and that great period of my life I spent growing up in Mersea to create this Dunk colorway.”
“My inspiration for my Dunk High is a memory from childhood of spending time in my parents garage where we had two arcade machines. This day and age it may be called a ‘Man Cave.’ As you can guess one of those games was Pac-Man, the other was Space Invaders. The OG Pac-Man Dunk Highs escaped me & I’ve been debating pulling the trigger, but when I was given this great opportunity, as you can imagine, I was over the moon. So here’s my twist, ‘Pac-Man with Attitude.'”
“Ian, or Shady as he is known, is a Dunk OG. That’s all you need to know. I’ve known him for over 20 years as a friend and our Store Manager Rachel’s better half. Ian worked for Hoax back in 2001 and, like me, loved the Dunk from the moment we got our SB account back in ’03. Unlike me or you, he has literally worn nothing else since! He wears Dunks every day, Highs or Lows, and his collection goes right back to ’03. He still rocks grails such as the Unkle Dunkle Highs, OG Diamonds, Tweeds, Unlucky 13s, and Resins. The list goes on to this day where he cops all he can. He is not a sneakerhead, he just loves Dunks more than you or I do! When the Chicago Dunk Low dropped last year he loved it and rocks it on the regular, and probably wishes he could have doubled up on them. So I think when I told him I wanted him as one of ‘The 12’ he didn’t give it a second thought. Chicago Highs it is then Shady!”
“Attitude blew our minds when they dropped us a DM about designing a shoe. We knew straight away there had to be something of California and the UK to it, and this was where the ‘LHR to SFO and Back’ was born. We moved from Guildford to the Bay Area in 2015 and then came back 2 years later in 2017. Then for the next 3 years until COVID, we spent our time going between London (LHR – Heathrow) and San Francisco (SFO) — it had a really big impact on us so much so we are now torn between the two places. Each shoe represents one of those locations. The Right shoe is LHR and the left is SFO — the left being West and the Right being East. The right shoe is made up of a dip grey of the sky, red of the buses, and a sandy shade to represent sandstone used in many buildings. The heel has a badass raven on it to represent the ravens in the Tower of London. Finally, lettering on the midsole mimics a boarding card — LHR to SFO. The left shoe is made of shades taken from California sunsets and sunrises, with the colors originally coming from a photo I took on the first morning after we landed back in 2015. There’s something inspiring about the skies in California. We have the grizzly bear of California as the final reminder. The midsole has ‘SFO – LHR’ to signify the flight back to the UK. On both shoes, laces are dipped in Virgin Atlantic interior purple, we spent way too long on their planes! Finally, we tried to leave the toebox fresh and untouched by any story, ready for what’s next.”
Inspired by the song “Run Hard” by Jehst.
Now is your chance to get in on the action because Attitude Inc. wants you to design Lucky 13. Using a blank CAD sheet, interested sneakerheads can develop their own Nike SB Dunk High “Unbleached” design. All you have to do is create the render, follow @nikesbornothing and @attitudeinc, then post your completed CAD to your IG feed and story using #AttitudeLucky13. The winner will get the opportunity to have their design come to life by Dan Gooding, the Large Professor. Check out Attitude’s Instagram for the full list of details.
For the grand finale, Attitude Inc. is going above and beyond by creating a 14th custom Dunk High dedicated to their late friend, Ben Raemers. The honorary #OneFourBen pair will be auctioned off with proceeds going to The Ben Raemers Foundation. Ben was a professional skateboarder who grew up in the city of Colchester. He was a close friend of the Attitude Inc. collective and would regularly visit the shop before he moved to California. In 2019, Ben took his own life, leaving the Attitude Inc. and skateboarding community at large heartbroken. Since then, the Ben Raemers Foundation has been launched in his honor and works to break the stigma surrounding male depression, by advocating for mental health awareness. The #OneFourBen charity auction will reward the highest bidder with their choice of any of “The 12” to be made in their size.
Congrats to the Attitude Inc. team (@attitudeinc) and Dan Gooding (@lovesneakershatesneakerheads) for pulling off such an insane project. Their creativity and commitment to the Colchester skate scene can be seen in every element of the “The 12.” Be sure to follow the crew and show some love.