Born in Seoul, South Korea, Sung Choi has spent most of his life growing up in New York City. One of the deepest rooted personas in the “streetwear” and footwear world, Choi pioneered the brand PNB Nation in 1992 before relocating to California in 1997 to design footwear at the helm of DC Shoes. Having spent substantial time honing his craft at DC Shoes, Choi went on to launch his current endeavor, Clae Footwear, in 2001 while he was already holding down the position of design director at Lakai Footwear. Although the landscape has changed a lot in over 10 years, the footwear spectrum in 2001 was lacking in well-made, understated and sophisticated footwear offerings. Choi’s vision was one of the first to fill the niche of casual footwear for the sneakerhead that was, at the time, in need of maturing his closet. Despite the longevity and foresight that Choi has provided Clae for the past 10 years, he and his team are neither the type to flaunt their successes nor rest on their laurels. As he gears up for the launch of the brand’s Our Favorite Shop launch this weekend, Choi presents his Essentials that showcase a man who has an affinity for functional goods including Field Notes, a Maiden Noir Hipsack, Oliver Peoples glasses, and a COMME des GARCONS wallet among other things.
Photography: John Ong/HYPEBEAST