Stash Talks Sneakers and His Upcoming Reebok Project
Legendary graffiti artist Stash recently sat down with Footwear News to talk sneakers. Responsible for some of the most exciting sneaker collaborations in recent memory, Stash put the brakes on his collaborations and sneaker store Nort/Recon in 2008 to work on his art. Five years on and Stash has teamed up with Reebok for the Reebok City Classics collection. As much a curator as a collaborator, Stash put together a team of 12 graffiti artists to put their unique spin on the Reebok Classic Leather. Below is a brief excerpt from the interview.
How does the popularity of collaborations affect the way you feel about them?
S: It’s expected now for a brand. I [actually] stopped looking at blogs for a long time. When every single blog heading was “this company x that company,” the exploitation of the crossover or the collab diluted the beauty of what it is. I like designing stuff, but I don’t want my name on it. I want it to go out in the world … without the expectation. Because if [the collaboration] doesn’t work, well, they’ll still be Nike and I’ll be the ass who failed. That’s a heavy burden. You’re a $6 billion company and I’m just some guy who hangs out and does stuff. The weight of it can be a little overwhelming.
What do you think of the evolution of the sneaker blog?
S: It’s like the graffiti movement. People didn’t think blogs would last. And now all these guys are media moguls in this new market that nobody saw. They were way smarter than all of us. Now we all count on them, like, “Please like my stuff, Mr. Blog Guy!” And you know what? They did everything on their own dime for so long for their passion. They’ve earned it. They did the heavy lifting. Good for them.
One of the Reebok City Classics artists is Tati, a woman out of Miami. Are women underrepresented in streetwear culture?
S: Without a doubt. I know so many amazing, talented women who never really had a voice because they didn’t know they had an avenue. And when I had my own sneaker store for so long, there was always the guy who came in with the girlfriend, who was always like, “[sigh],” because there was nothing for her. There’s a big window that [the streetwear brands] missed out on heavily. They’re just now catching up. [They say] there’s no market, but they never made the effort. We all want the same stuff, just your cut is a little bit different. It doesn’t mean you don’t want the cement [colorway] with the black and the red.