IDYSM: Hey Jeff, so this interview series has allowed me to speak to some amazing people, and it’s often obvious where to start as the subject will have one skill or area of expertise. But in this instance I’m not sure where to begin as you’re involved in so many things. So let’s start with; what’s an average day for you?
JEFF: The interesting thing about what I do there is no such thing as an average day. Tasks can really come from many different places. The clothing line Staple Pigeon, Staple design studio, Reed Space or a client. I generally work till about 3am and wake up around 9am the next day.
IDYSM: What part do sneakers play in an average day for you?
JEFF: It’s on my mind every minute! I get dressed based around what shoes I’ll be wearing for the day. It has been engraved in me since the 6th grade. It’s something that possesses me everyday.
IDYSM: How has your appreciation of sneaker culture changed as you’ve got more involved with the industry and gone from a customer to a globally renowned designer?
JEFF: To be honest, it has made me jaded. When I was a consumer I romanticized about the idea of sneaker culture. The first time I got to peak behind the curtain of how sneakers are made, sold, marketed etc. it was a life changing experience and dream come true. Now that I’ve been behind the scenes for so long it’s a bit disheartening. I miss the days of being able to walk into a sneaker spot, seeing some fly shit without thinking about quick strike releases, twitter key words, and SMU’s. I miss the days when it just about the sneakers.
IDYSM: As a sneaker fan, and a designer, how does it feel that your name, and your work have such a huge appeal in the sneaker game?
JEFF: It’s really a dream come true. It’s something that I was passionate about and still am really passionate about today. I have my own hero’s in the game and for me to be in the same sentence as THE Tinker Hatfield, Mark Parker, Adi Dassler, or Kayne West and put my name right in there it boggles my mind! But I definitely appreciate the love and accolades.
IDYSM: Everything you put your name generates huge appeal, but some of the sneaker drops you have been involved with have been off the chart. How does that feel?
JEFF: When you design a sneaker or start a new project you don’t automatically know that it will be off the charts or well received. As the sensitive artist that I am, I always have a fear that my next creation will be a flop. That fear drives me to put so much effort into each design. For the most part they are well received and I never take that for granted.
IDYSM: Do you feel that a sneaker is still a defining piece of design?
JEFF: Sneakers will always be a defining piece. Just like your basic white tee, denim jeans and sneakers. It’s a staple in your wardrobe. It’s how you express yourself. So it will never go away!
IDYSM: What defining qualities do you feel good shoe design should have?
JEFF: #1 is comfort! A shoe has to be wearable and comfortable. Its original intention for its invention was made to be comfortable and wearable! A successful shoe will be wearable and comfortable.
IDYSM: Where are we at in 2014 and is this a defining era in the shoe game?
JEFF: No I don’t think so. We’re actually at a strange point in the shoe game. A bubble is about to burst on the sneaker game. There are too many hoarders, sneaker heads, collectors, resellers and not enough people actually wearing or using shoes. Too many brands are putting out shoes and it will be too much for the market.
IDYSM: In regards to the broad spectrum of all your work, does it get easier or harder to ensure everything you touch is credible and meets your standards now that you’re so well respected?
JEFF: It gets harder because the bar has been raised with each release that I do. Not only the public bar but my personal bar. Each shoe accomplishes another checkpoint on my bucket list so to speak. I always want to push the bar further!
IDYSM: What inspires you?
JEFF: The people I meet when I travel across the world definitely inspires me!
IDYSM: What does the future have in store for you?
JEFF: I don’t think about the future. I don’t think about the past. I just live in the present and make sure what I’m doing presently is always good. That’s worked for the past two decades now matters.
IDYSM: I always end with this question. It always throws up some interesting answers and I can’t wait to hear yours, so…what’s on your feet right now?
JEFF: Nike SFB (special forces boot) because the weather is very shitty in NYC right now!