This last week, we spent some time in Las Vegas for the MAGIC/Project Trade Show. One of the highlights was the media event held by Reebok Classics that brought out some of the creative influencers that are helping bring the brand back to its previous glory from the Nineties, which include Swizz Beatz, Dominique Wilkins, Allen Iverson, Tyga and Rick Ross. While those stars are taking things to the next level in the public eye, there’s a lot of hard work being put in by people behind the scenes too. One of those people is footwear designer Jeremy Sallee. Sallee has been designing shoes for Reebok for the last few years and we recently had a chance to catch up with him and find out a little more about one of his latest creations, the Reebok Classic Jam. The humbleness of Jeremy and the team first mentality reiterates the
F5: First things first, you’ve got some good stuff in your portfolio man and I’m excited to see more added to it. Where are you from originally?
Jeremy Sallee: Thanks man. I’m originally from Indianapolis, but I spent most of my adolescence in different parts of Ohio.
F5: From the look of some of your designs, you’ve been into sneakers for a while?
JS: I’ve been drawing shoes since sixth grade, but I’ve only been working in the industry full time since August 2009.
That’s pretty awesome, so currently at Reebok, you have quite a few nice designs already under your belt. The Blast, the Kamikaze III and the Chi-Kaze are definitely a huge step in the right direction with their ties to the Reebok heritage.
What’s it been like to be one of the key people in bringing ‘Reebok Back’?
JS: Well it’s not just me. The brand as a whole is really making strides in reestablishing what we stand for.
The Classic Jam is something I think people are enjoying quite a bit, and that’s your latest design to hit the market. Tell us a little more about how that one came about.
JS: As for the stuff that we work on in Classics, our goal is to create product that hints back to our history but resonates with today’s consumer. More importantly, we just try to make dope shoes that we want to wear.
The Classic Jam is actually part of a collection we came up with called the “Two-thousand 90′s”. The concept revolves around taking that unapologetic attitude that Reebok was known for in the 90′s and reinterpreting it for today. We basically took some familiar bold elements (i.e. TPU components, molded details, bring back toolings) and combined them with pattern pieces that speak the same retro language, creating something new or more so a “new-throwback”.
As a fan of Reebok, specifically during that era when the company was aggressive with their marketing, that’s great to hear. Wanting to wear what you create is something that seems so simple but really is overlooked a lot these days. Two Thousand 90′s is a great name for the direction.
Personally, I’ve already bought myself a pair of the Athletic Navy and Mandarin Orange colorway and the Black and Grey version of the Classic Jam. Any particular colorway you’re feeling? We noticed the rendering on your website, that red and lime green colorway is a head-turner. Can we expect that one to release?
JS: I’d have to agree with you on the navy, mandarin colorway. There’s also a brighter blue colorway I’m hoping will make it to market. As for the fury inspired colorway … we’ll see.
As for the Two Thousand 90′s collection, what other designs are you looking forward to the public seeing?
JS: The other models are the JXT and the MXT. The silhouettes alone of these models are definite head turners. Both are a bit more aggressive than the Classic Jam.
I think silhouettes like the JXT are going to bring back a lot of memories for people and that will be a great thing for you and Reebok.
As a footwear designer, what part of a shoe is most exciting for you? Finishing a design, seeing it come to reality or seeing it on someone’s feet for the first time?
JS: I love the whole process of building good product. I’ve been designing footwear since I was 12 so this is pretty much my dream job. The biggest upside is probably seeing some random person on the street rocking something I designed and just asking them how they like them. It feels good to have some type of positive effect on people’s lives.
That’s great to hear and commendable to wanting to make a positive impact on people. It’s also great to hear that you’ve been into sneakers for so long, I think that passion and respect for the history really shows in the shoes you’ve been involved in.
You’ve also started working on the John Wall signature line right?
JS: Yea, this season was my first season working on basketball product. So I’m pretty excited about that. In the near future they’re should be an official unveiling of the Wall Season 3 : Zig Escape.
We’ll definitely look forward to hearing more from you about that when the season gets closer.