words & images // Nick DePaula
In the earliest days of custom sneakers, it was paint, airbrushing and in some instances, gaudy designer print fabrics, that were often used to help add another layer of personalization to a shoe.
Thanks to JBF Customs, a one-man operation ran by Jake Ferrato for the past six years, there's been a new era of custom sneakers veering towards luxury with his use of everything from natural python, full grain leathers, croc skin and several other exotic materials.
As one of five artists tasked by adidas Basketball and Compound Gallery to create a custom pair of Crazy 1s celebrating Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard, Ferrato looked to Portland's longtime nickname for his inspiration.
JBF Customs explains:
"adidas came to me about two months ago looking for a piece to display at Compound Gallery's release event of the Crazy 1. The base shoe had to be a Crazy 1 of course, and their theme was around the 'City of Roses.'
I didn't want to do anything overly obvious like putting roses all over the shoes, so I blended my signature exotic leathers in a more subtle way. The red python was chosen because, as they say, roses are red. The stingray around the heel and stripes was chosen because it reminded me of water droplets on the petals. The paneling of the shoes was modified to give a more elegant look, with the long strips of suede extending from toe to heel like the stems of a rose."
You can check out JBF's "City of Roses" Crazy 1 Retro in person tonight at Compound Gallery in Portland, purchase items from the adidas Florist City Collection, and also meet both Damian Lillard and John Wall.
107 NW 5th Ave. Portland, Oregon 97209
Product on sale: 6 PM
Meet & Greet: 7 - 9 PM