Serum - Handmade Sneakers From Finland
Hanif Jamiyl together with MC Tableek and DJ Roddy Rod formed one of the most slept-on hip hop groups of all time. Known as Maspyke, they had a grown-up vibe that flew in the face of contemporary hip hop and harked back to a gentler era of music and good times. After putting Maspyke temporarily on ice, in 2008 Hanif released his first solo album entitled Krushed Grapes, which has more of a sexed-up R&B feel than Maspyke. Apart from making beats, lately Hanif (aka Cab Cabernet) has been seriously promoting wine and even organised a trip to the vineyards of South Africa. You can check his Krushed Grapes video channel on Youtube where he critiques wine in a serious manner. As he says, ‘I don’t spit, I swallow!’ a reference to his connoissuer status and love of a good drop of plonk.
When the chance arrived to design a pair of my handmade sneakers especially for Hanif, I was to put it mildly, rather excited. When I calmed down, I had to think hard about the design direction. I wanted to make them personal first and foremost, but I also wanted to get it right and raise good feelings for him. Since I wasn’t really sure if I should take inspiration from the Maspyke part of his career or the more recent solo venture, I ended up making two pairs!
To honor Maspyke, I suggested a design with their own record company Bukarance’s logo in plain black and white slapped on the side. The B logo was also prominent on the Bukarance jackets in the Maspyke video Bells of Winchester Square. Hanif chose the sneaker himself from my own catalogue of Serum models and he went with the Bridge, a sneaker that I designed some years back. I cut the distinctive Bukarance logo with a knife from classic white leather and when sewn on the upper, they pop out nicely from the plain black suede. I like how they remind me of some of the early nineties white-on-black sneakers which I remember wearing when Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory came out. In fact, Maspyke’s classic 2006 album called Static reminds me a lot of this era of hip hop.
To make the other pair exude Hanif’s current obsession with cabernet, I looked at wine bottles for inspiration. The lining and the detail on the side of the sneakers are burgundy red and the green nubuck leather on the upper hints at a wine bottle. The bright white EVA midsole adds some freshness to the darker tones and I used this amazing cork leather, which is made from recycled cork wood! The detail stripe and the copper Serum logo and shiny Krushed Grapes text in gold on the side are the icing on the cake.