Last month we teamed up with London Sneaker School, a Sneaker Customisation and Bespoke Sneaker Workshop that was the brainchild of Shoe Maker, Thomas Roe & Designer, Jase Cooper over lockdown. London Sneaker School's aim is to make the manufacture and customisation of sneakers accessible and transparent for the Sneaker Community. Sneaker's history and contribution to UK culture, and subcultures around the world, is unprecedented. Yet the knowledge, materials and construction of our shoes that we put so much into exists 1000's of miles away on the other side of the world. They believe in bringing this production closer to home and opening up new opportunities for creativity and expression by understanding our sneakers on a new level and making our own.
We hosted 12 of London's Sneaker community at London Sneaker Schools 'RE:Factor' workshop. Each Sneakerhead was given one day to bring their vision to life on the silhouette of their choice. Most opted for the ever-classic Air Force 1 as a foundation for their idea. This Workshop was run by Jase & Ish who broke down the process of conceptualising, material selection, technique and creation of each Sneakerhead's ideas.
The reigns were then passed over and each sneakerhead took things into their own hands, crafting their dream sneaker into a reality with the guidance of the London Sneaker School team.
From leather dying, eyelet placement, deconstruction, custom sprayed motifs and panels, the possibilities seemed endless. Each sneakerhead took the challenge in their stride with a carefully considered approach that kept things individualistic and perfectly complimented their own style. Each sneaker took a full day to concept and construct with some incredible outcomes and some happy sneakerheads leaving with their own custom pair.
While this was all going on we managed to catch up with Founders Thomas Roe & Jase Cooper on how it all started, and where it is that London Sneaker School aims to go in the future.
So guys, where did the concept of London Sneaker School come from?
"During Lockdown we had a bit of free time and we decided to team up together. I have ten plus years in bespoke shoemaking and Jase has a background in design. He's worked for a few sportswear brands before and he really wanted to do this during that time. It was a great idea just to focus energy on a new project for both of us and it kind of just started off as zero stress, let's just see how it goes sort of thing."
Are there any misconceptions that people have when approaching the production of shoemaking?
"It's hard and it's difficult. I think a lot of people want to get into it but to stick with it you have to be passionate and you have to have a certain skill and a certain mindset to focus and have to accept that you're going to make a lot of mistakes along the way. You've just got to trust the process then you'll eventually start getting good but it's going to take time and dedication."
How did your background in traditional shoemaking lend itself to the world of sneakers?
"Sneakers were a world that I'd not really ever entered before I'd met Jase, I'm used to doing traditional bespoke shoemaking. I do projects for film, theatre and TV predominantly, spanning everything from Marvel to 1920's style commisions. So going from that background to the sneaker side of things was fairly easy for me as they share so many similarities when it comes down to it. It's been amazing to see the community within Sneaker Culture has grown so much that people are now looking to see the process of shoemaking as a whole and want to pursue their interest even further".
How can people get involved with London Sneaker School?
"Get on one of our courses, we run regular shoemaking workshops over the course of 5 days in which you can craft your dream sneaker from the ground up and pick up the foundations of the craft. We're also coming out with our 1-day custom workshop called RE:Factor which will be the best way to get involved if you'd like to try out shoemaking or are unsure if it's going to be something you'd want to commit to a longer project. Alternatively, there's our online course in which you can get a feel for shoemaking without having to invest too much of your time".