Welcome to the new style! JBF Customs is about to rip the sneaker custom game apart with his ‘reconstruction' kicks. If you thought the Curren$y Jet Blazer was off the charts, wait 'til you see JBF's entire catalogue of kicks. For a bloke that can't draw to save his life, and with no fashion construction experience to boot, it's hard to believe something so phenomenal is cultivated out of sheer trial and error. While reconstructing sneakers may seem nothing new to most sneaker heads, it's about to hit the mainstream hard no thanks due to JBF's killer collection of ‘recon' work. Carefully tearing apart your favourite kick and transforming it into a one of one masterpiece, JBF has your back and is more than happy to share his tricks of the trade as we take ten to chat with the sneaker artist himself.
First up tell us a little about yourself and how you got into the custom game?
I've been customizing shoes since 2008, when I was 16. I never really got into recons until late ‘09 though. Right now I'm 19 and in my second year of college as an entrepreneurship major. I've always had some kind of obsession with shoes. I don't know what my problem is. Anyway, I was always looking for the dopest sneakers. Problem always was, I could never find any in my size (14). So I basically had two options: wear ugly shoes, or make my own. And I definitely don't wear ugly shoes. It started as a personal hobby, and I eventually got good enough that people started showing love and being interested, so thanks to all of you, it has become my job while at school. I can't thank you enough!
What took you from painting kicks to ‘reconstruction'?
More or less just the fact that I sucked at painting compared to guys like Mizzee. Also EmmanueLabor was starting to push out real innovative recons and that really inspired me to be on the forefront of a new way to customize sneakers.
Tell us about the reconstruction process and why it has become so synonymous with JBF Customs.
Man I didn't even know it was synonymous hahaha. My process is basically ripping the shoe apart, then using those pieces as templates to cut my new pieces out, then stitch it all back together. If you want more detail than that, check my site out, and the video that goes along with the Jet Life Blazers.
What sort of background in fashion/garment construction did you have prior to JBF?
No way! So you're basically self-taught?
Well my Mom taught me to use a sewing machine, but beyond that, pretty much yeah. It was really trial and error to get to where I am. I did get a lot of hints from other guys like Jest3r too. Never straight instructions though.
Nice, and you've stuck by Mr Swoosh this whole time! Why is that?
Well it started that way cause I used to work at a factory store and could get the practice base shoes for dirt cheap. Now it's kinda turned into that's all that people want to see. I don't mind it though, I've always been a big Nike fan. I do enjoy working on other bases in my spare time. I really wanna do some Supras and Chucks in the near future.
Speaking of Nike - have they ever reached out, or any plans to work closer with the brand?
I'd love to work with Nike, but no, they've never reached out... If someone from Nike is reading this... What's up?
Well hold up... we did notice a sneaky Puma Clyde in your collection - you said it was quite difficult to work on... how so?
Haa... Those were mostly tricky cause they're a size 16. Also the toe is constructed way differently than the Nikes I'm used to working on so it threw me for a little curve.
All good practise, eh! Tell us about the relationship between yourself and the client? Just how much scope are you given as an artist to create a custom for a customer?
Well, I prefer to be in real close contact with the customer throughout the whole process. I want them to feel like the entire process was personalized for them because it is. As for scope, it just depends on the person. Sometimes I get tons, sometimes little. I usually get a lot though. I think, and I'm glad, that most of my customers really trust my opinion. I really appreciate that.
One could say you're slightly obsessed with carbon fiber! How did you come to work with the material, and why it has remained one of the more popular styles in your repertoire?
Mannnnn.... I NEVER meant to do so many Carbon Fiber shoes! I originally did them for myself just because I had always thought it would be such a dope shoe. So I made V1 of them while I still sucked. Since I loved the concept so much I came back to it a couple months ago when I felt I could really do it justice. From there it just got out of control. Everyone wants Carbon Fiber now! I'm trying to get off of it for a while now.... but I'm sure I'll relapse eventually.
The Curren$y Jet Life Blazers just hit the net this week to rave reviews! Most thought it was a play on the Jets' Superbowl chances. Great timing! Give us the real 411 on it...
The Jet Life Blazer has been a long time coming. It's a theme I had been playing with in my head for a while, but it just took me until recently to figure it out all the way through and actually get the time to make them. They took extra long to actually make as well just cause of that custom Swoosh. I have to draw it up myself and then cutting and stitching it takes forever too. Seems to be worth it though!
Definitely. The process of reconstructing the Swoosh and adding the glow in the dark certainly looks to take JBF into a new direction. Where do you see yourself going this year?
Forward. I've got some exciting projects coming up including collaborations with Jacob Patterson, emmanueLabor, and Mizzee so be on the lookout for those.
I'm loving the Copper Holographics! Where can peeps reach you to create their ultimate one of one JBF exclusives?
Emailing me at [email protected] is the best way to place an order, for simple questions though follow and hit me up on twitter @JBFcustoms.