Few customisers can lay claim to a track record quite like Singapore’s Mark Ong, who is better known by his SBTG handle. With everyone from Casio to Nike SB knocking at his door, he boasts one of the most respected creative portfolios in the game. The Royalefam mastermind can now add Crep Protect to the list of brands to receive the SBTG seal of approval. Crep Protect’s rain and stain resistant solution has saved many a sneaker from an early grave, so it’s no surprise the man responsible for thousands of handcrafted kicks jumped at the chance to collaborate. Entitled the ‘Defence Pack’, SBTG embraces the army surplus aesthetic, encasing the Crep Protect can inside a wooden ammunition box. Just 1250 units will be released, each individually numbered. To celebrate the partnership, 20 pairs of SBTG x Crep Protect customs will also be released through a series of giveaways and charity auctions.
Hey Mark, how’s things in Singapore?
Not too good, due to the haze. Visibility is super low. We’re like guerrillas in the mist!
Sounds gloomy over there. What’s your attraction to the military aesthetic, it’s definitely something you’ve perfected over the years.
Growing up skateboarding in the 90s has a lot to do with it. Back when streetwear was still in its early phase, I saw a lot of military gear incorporated into daily wear, and that really got me intrigued. I had to enlist in mandatory military service myself around this time too, so I spent a lot of time surrounded by camo and fatigues. Discovering Maharishi’s ‘Disruptive Pattern Material’ book just sealed the deal for me. That book displayed what is possibly the highest form of military style on the streets. I began my journey as an artist and have been adopting military aesthetics of all forms into my work.
Agreed on the Maharishi book, that will never be topped. Are you one of those dudes that keep their kicks super clean or are you a trasher?
Being a skateboarder, I have to say I’m a total trasher. Even though I like the feel of brand new kicks, I just suck at keeping them clean! That’s where Crep Protect comes in, the spray keeps the rain and stains out and you definitely keep your kicks alive longer when you look after them. It’s hard to change old habits though!
What’s the inspiration behind the custom Jordan IVs?
The AJ4 ‘Sawtooth’ is the best seller of all the SBTG designs over the years. We really wanted to showcase the fact that Crep Protect does an amazing job shielding the paint. These things are impregnable! This particular pair has Crep Protect stencilled on the ankle, which makes it a 1-of-1 in the world right now. I’ve got a few more shoes designed for Crep Protect in the pipeline too.
After 12 years and countless collaborations, you’re still hard at work. What’s the appeal with customs?
That’s my core strength and my appeal to the world, so I look at it as a journey. I also realised that as my skills got more refined, the products released under the SBTG name are a higher quality than a factory-made product.
Any other interesting projects in the works?
Aside from this current project with Crep Protect, which I’m super excited about, I’ll also be launching a Puma project with Mita Sneakers and an ASICS with Kickslab. It’s gonna be a crazy end to 2015!