Mache Discusses the Custom Sneaker Movement, Creative Process & His Start

Sep 11, 2012 | Ian Stonebrook |

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Nice Kicks: What?s your general design process?

Mache: There isn’t much of one to be honest. Most of my ideas I think of in the middle of the night and I jot a quick note down so I remember it when I wake up. But most times I don’t do mock-ups or Photoshops like a lot of my fellow artists do. I see it in my head and just dive in, just like Jay-Z does [laughs].

Nice Kicks: How much time does a project typically take?

Mache: Depends on the project– if it’s just something basic or something with actual artwork. More detailed jobs have taken me between 20-30 hours. People who place orders with me seem to forget I’m a one man show when it comes to the art stuff!

Nike LeBron 9 “Wounded Warriors Project” by Mache Custom

Nice Kicks: What place do customs hold in the sneaker culture?

Mache: It?s a tough call. It’s definitely become more of a prominent thing in the culture than it used to be. I mean look at how much coverage we get from you guys as opposed to before! Back in the day, people use to confuse customs with fakes or see colorways that Nike didn’t release and assume they were bootleg. Now more and more people want them and embrace them. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of people still don’t like them, and that’s fine. I hear some people say that customs are ruining the culture and that’s just an ignorant opinion. The “sneakerhead” today needs to look and see what the sneaker culture use to be about. It was about making sneakers a part of your personality. Kids would swap laces in their Clydes and color in the stripes on their shelltoes and that was cool back then. Back then, the culture was about personal expression and didn’t care what everyone else thought. It wasn’t a business. If people want to be different, let them be different. The internet bullies and tough talkers need to keep their negativity to themselves and not displace it on people who don’t deserve it.

Nice Kicks: Where has customizing taken you so far?

Mache: It’s blown up a whole lot more than I ever thought it would, that’s for sure. I’ve gone to so many places and met so many cool people through all of this and I’m truly grateful that people appreciate what I do. It’s still surreal that people actually want to meet me when I go to these shows and conventions.

Nice Kicks: Where are you hoping it leads?

Mache: I’m hoping it only goes up from here. I?m doing what I love for a living. Of course, like any other customizer out there my goal is to collaborate or work with one of the big boys at some point.

Nike Air More Uptempo “Tech Challenge” by Mache Customs

Nice Kicks: What advice would you give someone interested in customizing?

Mache: Don’t start on expensive sneakers! I heard someone drop $300 on a base shoe for his first custom and I almost fainted. You probably will make a crappy first custom; so don’t blow your money until you get better. You will get better. Also don’t get discouraged! There’s a lot of trial and error in customizing, so when they mess up they can’t look at it as a negative. Look at it as “what can I learn from this mistake?” We’re in a generation of instant gratification, so it’s tough for some to do that. Lastly, don’t expect everyone to give you the answers; you have to find them out yourself like I did.

Nice Kicks: How can prospective clients contact you?

Mache: I get asked questions through Twitter and Instagram all the time, but the only way to get a response is to contact me through the website www.machecustoms.com. I do get A LOT of emails daily so please be patient, I will answer! Again we are a society of instant gratification that wants to be answered before they even ask the question [laughs]! I get that but patience is a virtue!

Shop Mache Customs here. Check out more of his work on the next page.

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