These days there are enough sneakers hitting the ground to pile them up and cover the sky with treads. With so many kicks out there, whoâ€™s to say whatâ€™s original anymore? There are probably a lot of sneaker heads clucking tongues and groaning at the mere mention of this, and given that this article is not written by a sneaker freaker, youâ€™re not about to get an argument from this side of the line. To be a little clearer, in this case, original is means one of a kind.
The customs game has become flooded these days with everybody jumping on the band wagon, using the word â€˜exclusiveâ€™ or â€˜limitedâ€™ in order to offer something different. Unlike big players such as Nike ID and Best Foot Forward (Adicolor), smaller entrepreneurs are using size to their advantage and producing limited kicks.
Having grown up in Queens of New York, Chris Schult started customizing kicks around 1994, but had always had a profound interest in street culture. After a stint at FIT, Schult found himself back at the beginning, wanting to wrap his roots deeply around his career. The result was Old School NYC, a customs design company that specializes in applying graffiti to soft goods, while keeping true to the old school styles of graffiti and art (i.e. wild style, straight tags). Old School NYC works exclusively with New-York based artists, keeping the company home-grown and true to its colors. This is necessary, seeing as how the company claims to be â€œthe voice of mainstream street culture.â€ And thereâ€™s a bit of honesty in this motto, which demonstrates that the boys over at Old School NYC know exactly what goods theyâ€™re providing, as well as the target market looking for them, equivocating a guarantee for success. With companies like School of Hard Knocks and Republica seeking them out to do private label work, theyâ€™re well on their way.
Using the blank Nike Air Force as a display shoe, Schult offers several methods of customization. The style of the graffiti on the kicks is aggressive and intimidating, with the artists using bold primary colors and splashes of neon. The shoes are created in accordance with the clients wishes, and all are done by hand, ensuring that the sneakers that you pick up from these boys stay your own. Schult and his tiny staff, of approximately 3-4 workers, apply everything from tags, wild style designs, cartoon characters, silk screens, and the splatter design, which emulates the unforgettable Jack Pollockâ€™s style.
Graffiti and sneakers have been tied together since the early sixties. It seems only natural that one would be applied to the other. Exclusivity has also become important in todayâ€™s culture, especially with most goods being so highly accessible. Despite the saturation in the customâ€™s market today, Shultz seems to be providing something one of a kind, a product that stays true to its roots, remaining old-school in style and innovative in movement through consistency and a trust in a city that could only be New York.