IDYSM: Hey RICK. So you’re a busy guy, so where are you at while we do this?
RICK: I’m sitting at this event helping my wife with her body product brand.
IDYSM: So, a big question, but what is Detroit to you, and what does Detroit mean to you?
RICK: Detroit to me is a place filled with dreamers. People who have vision and are doing what it takes to bring those dreams to life.
IDYSM: There is no doubt that the city has been through a lot. Where is it at right now?
RICK: The city is definitely on the come up. We have a lot of people in place doing some great things in the city. The resiliency of the people in this city is amazing we are destined for greatness!
IDYSM: Your Instagram feed (@rickwlms) is incredibly inspiring in the way it both celebrates the beauty of the decay that you find within Detroit, and also the way you champion creativity from the area. How did this positive outlook come about and what drives you to celebrate the positivity within Detroit?
RICK: I believe that you can find beauty in most everything. God has really blessed me and having a negative out look on life would just be a slap in the face. I try to live my life looking for the good everything.
IDYSM: How do you feel the adversity that the city has been through has helped to inspire the emerging creative talent in Detroit?
RICK: I think with the loss of jobs people have been forced to tap into the entrepreneurial spirit. I think that the adversity has given birth to a lot of makers and creatives.
IDYSM: You are involved with numerous creative areas in Detroit, can you outline them all, what your roles are, and how you remain across them on a daily basis.
RICK: I do most of my work through my companies Burn Rubber Sneaker Boutique (co-owner/creative director), The Distinct Life (The is the creative agency that I started a few years ago), and the Social Club Grooming Co. (this is a barber shop that I co-own with my partners Sebastian and Gabrielle Jackson).
IDYSM: The Detroit sneaker store Burn Rubber is a big part of what you do. Can you describe the store and it’s position in the market?
RICK: I’d like to think that Burn Rubber is a staple in the Michigan sneaker scene. We were one of the first exclusive sneaker boutiques in the Metro Detroit area. Before us you didn’t see any collaborations coming out of the city.
IDYSM: How big is sneaker culture in Detroit and how much does the store feed off of the local scene?
RICK: I think people are into sneakers much like they are in other locations around the world. Burn Rubber traditionally has been a place to find dope sneakers that are not as hyped up. We try to make it a point to put people up on new and exciting product.
IDYSM: Do you feel like sneaker culture has been something that has helped galvanise a community during the more difficult times that Detroit has experienced?
RICK: Not really I think that the sneaker culture has always kind of just been there through the good and the bad times. I think that there is a multitude of different cultures and events that help galvanise the community during the rough times. Detroit is filled with a lot of creative and passionate people who do a great job of creating excitement in our city!
IDYSM: Through a number of Burn Rubber collaborations the store has built a global name for pedigree and integrity in the sneaker world, how exciting has it been to see the store get that recognition?
RICK: It is very exciting to see people enjoy the products that we put out. Being able to design sneakers with some of the companies that I grew up loving has been an honour and a privilege. It’s something that I don’t take lightly.
IDYSM: How integral has the success of the store been in helping to reinvigorate Detroit too?
RICK: I’m not sure if it has or not. All I know is that we every time we put something out we try to put on for the city. All of our projects tend to tell a story about something that is specific to our city.
IDYSM: Big question but I’d love to know…what inspires you?
RICK: Honestly I find a lot of inspiration in the environment around me. Lately I have really been inspired by photography. When I put a project together its important to me to tell a story. Those stories come from the things that I see around me.
IDYSM: What does the future hold for you and Burn Rubber?
RICK: Right now I’m doing a lot with my creative agency DISTINCT LIFE and I love shooting photography. I’m sure the future will hold a lot more of that for me. As far as Burn Rubber we have some big things in the works but I can’t discuss that at the moment. However we do have some exciting projects in-store for 2016.
IDYSM: It’s tradition that all ‘In Their Shoes’ interviews always end with this signature question so…, what’s on your feet right now?
RICK: At the moment I am wearing a pair of Fragment Design x Undefeated Converse Chuck Taylors.
Title image of Rick courtesy of Jeremy Deputat