Cam Hicks Is Standing On Business with His Reebok BB4000 II Collab

The in-demand photographer and videographer talks about the inspirations behind his debut sneaker collab and why it’s so important for young creatives to value their intellectual property.

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“It’s going to sound cliche, but family was the driving inspiration for this sneaker,” says Cam Hicks. The in-demand photographer and videographer has shot campaigns for everyone from Louis Vuitton to Stray Rats and directed short films for the likes of Stone Island, but no matter where the winding path of his career takes him, his roots are firmly planted in the DMV, where he grew up. His new BB4000 II collab with Reebok (through his eponymous HICKS brand) is proof of that.

Growing up, Hicks and his cousins would don fresh pairs of the Classic Leather for family reunions, and his childhood hero was Virginia native Allen Iverson, who, of course, has been part of the Reebok family since his NBA Rookie of the Year campaign in 1996. Those two inspirations, plus Hicks’ childhood hoop dreams and love of player-edition sneakers (he laughingly calls himself a “forum kid”) come together on his iteration of Reebok’s low-cut, basketball-turned-lifestyle model.

Originally launched in 1989 as a mid-top, the BB4000 II has been reimagined by Hicks in premium leather, with a color scheme that makes use of his signature turquoise color as well as hits of bold orange. It’s also packaged in a custom box, and features hidden details like custom-printed insoles.

“The materials we used were extremely important,” Hicks emphasizes. “And then I had to let it be known where they came from, of course, adding the big logo hit on the heel and “Reebok by Cam Hicks” on the tongue — standing on the design and being proud of the branding.”

“I’ve pivoted to creative endeavors and somehow still found a way to fulfill that dream for 14-year-old me,” he continues. “This shoe is an ode to my new hoop dreams.”

Can you talk us through the inspiration behind your BB4000 II design?

Growing up, Reeboks were prominent in the household. The Classic was our family reunion shoe for years, and in the ’80s my older relatives consistently added the brand into the mix — the hero ads for some of the announcements are actually family photos showing just that. I wanted to pick something that I felt could represent that lineage and cement the namesake on a pair of the same sneakers I saw growing up.

You grew up playing basketball. Does this design call out to that time in your life too?

The game used to be my life, from age seven to age 22. I had hoop dreams like many other kids growing up, and was a forum kid too, staying up on all the signature shoes and player editions, customizing pairs for the one day I’d get my own. But like most, the universe gave me signs that the league wasn’t in my future. Fast-forward to now, I’ve pivoted to creative endeavors and somehow still found a way to fulfill that dream for 14-year-old me. This shoe is an ode to my new hoop dreams.

Turquoise is your “signature” color. Can you tell us more about applying it as a focal point of your shoe’s palette?

I definitely had to ensure that it was at the forefront, from the sneaker to the box. It’s been my staple since Virgil Abloh gave me turquoise jewelry in Paris following his first show with Louis Vuitton. V inspired me and gave me a lot of big opportunities early in my career, so the colorway is in part an ode to him. And for accenting it, I had to go with orange. I know that shade is traditional to Miami, not the DMV, but it just hits different with that blue.

What does this collaboration with Reebok and the partnership as a whole mean to you?

It’s tight that my first sneaker collab is with the same brand that took a chance on Allen Iverson, who was my inspiration growing up. We’re both from Virginia, and he was — and still is — the style blueprint for the NBA. Beyond that, he was the underdog who proved how far you can go in life just by living what the man in the mirror says. With him and Shaq back on board doing Reebok Basketball, it’s great timing for my own relationship with the brand too.

How does the design communicate your personal style?

I like to think “less is more” — and more is in the quality of a staple sneaker mixed with how that sneaker is worn, no matter if we’re in the age of loud and outlandish footwear. Between the shape and choice of materials, these can be worn with a white tee, pair of shorts and some slouch socks but still stand out.

What are some features you were really keen on hitting with this collab, and what are some of your personal favorite details?

I really wanted to get the shoebox just right. It’s the first thing people see when they buy sneakers, so I wanted to make sure it could be easily attributed to my brand language, and that turquoise theme continues to the insoles. The off-white/chalk color on the premium leather and suede heel give it a real high-quality feel too. I also had fun making a special colorway limited to 250 pairs as a shoutout to the PEs I loved growing up. That one’s brown, and features my brand’s tagline on the insole.

Where did the inspiration for the visuals that accompany the launch come from? Was it a culmination of all your industry experiences?

For years, brands have held R&D meetings with outside creatives that result in these creatives giving up substantial amounts of their intellectual property for little (or no) compensation. When you’re new in the game, going into these offices and getting a behind-the-scenes look at how these brands work blinds your judgement and makes you think it’s a luxury to be in the room, when in reality the IP you’re providing is significantly more valuable than any “access” to the brand. If these corporations are going to take your knowledge and use it to guide decisions that boost revenue, why shouldn’t you get a bigger piece of the pie and a shot to cook something up yourself, to create the same things you’re already inspiring? So I wanted to make a satirical piece, directed alongside Michael Janey, that sort of pulled the curtain back on all of it while being in similar vein to the historic Reebok commercials of the past. That’s how we came up with “Research & Development.”

Following the visual at Reebok HQ, the second promo, “The Whites Clean,” was another nod to back home, but also a chance to take a nostalgic moment and add a smooth twist. Cleaning your fresh whites for the party is something all folks with a love for sneakers can relate to, but in this piece, my friend, and DC-raised rapper El Cousteau, gets a little carried away with his attempt to make them shine and stay pristine. I wanted to make a piece that in theme and color paralleled the times of the past, similar to the BB4000, but also bridged my relationship with the DMV, and my connection to music throughout my career as a creative director, and photographer.


The HICKS x Reebok BB4000 II releases via hicks.fm on March 27 before touching down on the Reebok webstore April 5. It’s priced at $150 USD.

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