Mache Custom Kicks

Dress Code: Mache's Sneaker Designs Create Limitless Abilities For Aspiring Designers

From LeBron James to Jay-Z, meet the industry's favorite sneaker designer. 

‘Dress Code’ is VIBE’s fashion and style series, where were we test drive rising brands from an everyday life point of view.

Mache Says

Founder: Dan “Mache” Gamache

Happy Customers: Jay-Z, LeBron James, Steph Curry, Sam Saunders, Desus & Mero, Nipsey Hussle, Gucci Mane, Ronda Rousey, Yo Gotti, Marshawn Lynch, Young Thug

On Mache’s Humble Beginnings and First Design:

We’ve got our hoods in Poughkeepsie, New York. It's funny because my wife is from Norwalk and she was like, 'Well, I've been to where you are and it's country.' and I'm like, 'Well no, you have to drive through the country to get there.’ I didn’t live in the country. You go 10 minutes this way, you're in a cow-house, 10 this way you're in the projects so you have to pick your poison.

My first design was six shades of purple Air Max 90s, it was during the Dipset wave so it had the big bird gang design on the back. They were terrible in hindsight because there's no was no YouTube on how to do this, you had to learn through trial and error.

On The Design Process:

I'm fun art guy, I'm really big on realism but I feel like, with the times, people are taking to the DIY-looking customs. I go back to people like Virgil Abloh because he has such a big impact on sneaker culture. I think it's cool just to draw on your shoes. It inspires people who aren't creative or artistic to be able to do this, so it works for me.

I'm really jaded since I'm an old guy and I'm seeing all these kids have all these resources that I didn't, so they have a head start. There wasn't even a MySpace when I started. I see these kids and think, "They have the tools, they have the smartphones. I had a Nokia. (Laughs)

With the Samsung 10+, I’m able to showcase my designs without using 15 different apps to edit my photos. They have the "live focus" feature so you just have to slide to it and it’s there. I’ve been playing with it all day. It’s just the ease of it. You’re also able to post the photos right after and obviously, it’s not anything crazy but they just make it easy for the consumer and creatives.

Like everybody else, I'm working and I always have my phone in front of me. It's safe to say I have anxiety if I don't have it near me. A lot of times when I’m designing shoes for events, I’m using my phone to showcase the image I’m designing on the shoe so the Galaxy S10+ helps with that. I was just using it for [VIBE’s 1996 Death Row Records cover], design at SXSW. I was using my phone to create them and those shoes went to Suge’s son which is pretty cool.

Their Uniqueness In The Marketplace:

I always equate tattoos to what I do. People ask how long things take or how much things cost. I'm like, "If you want a back piece, you're gonna wait for a long time and you're going to pay a lot." If you want the Sistine Chapel on a pair of shoes, you're gonna pay a lot and you're going to wait.

I didn’t anticipate any of this. I used to play baseball so when I got the injury, I just knew I would go to designing. I lucked out on and that's how I look at it. When I was a kid, I thought I would play sports; I drew Garfield and stuff as a kid.

You hear that term "starving artist," that's what I was for the first 10 years. My wife now would pay my rent or if I didn’t make rent, I moved back in with my mom. It was that kind of thing; eating off the dollar menu, you had to do what you had to do. My wife was really big on getting me to where I was going. She was like, "You shouldn't be here, you should be doing more than this." She saw the potential. So behind every successful man is a very strong woman, that is true.

How The Designer Wears His Shoes:

It varies honestly. I'm the type of guy who doesn't tie his shoes, so I'm more of a Miles Morales type of guy than anything, even at 40. It also depends on the shoe. For Air Maxes, I normally tie them up but I wear everything and anything I like. Whether it's Puma, whether it's Adidas, I don't care. No one has me to a contract so I'm going to wear whatever I want. (Laughs)

Favorite Item In The Vault:

It's more of an emotional attachment, but my favorite is the Air Jordan 5 Retro Black/Metallic Silver. When I was a kid, I lived in a trailer park so I didn't have a lot of money. At the time, they were just Jordans, not the “Jordan 4 or 5s.” I'd shovel driveways, mow lawns do all that stuff and got my first pair of Jordans. I was wearing Voit sneakers or Payless sneakers, no shade to them at all but I wanted to be cool. (Laughs) I'd be wearing the husky section Sears clothing but I had some nice sneakers on. That’s where my appreciation for footwear came in and the work ethic of it all. The 5s will always mean something to me. I even got them tattooed on me.

VIBE Says:

Desire Thompson, News Editor

There’s something special about having a custom design on your shoes. It presents your personality in a very unique way so it’s refreshing that Mache can help bring a vision or a design to life. It’s also reminiscent of the days of graffiti on the subway or spray-painted images of on your clothes. I remember being 15 and my best friend would design our names on our Timbs. We thought we were so cool, so this definitely reminds me of those days.

Christine Imarenezor, Executive Editor

To own a pair of cool kicks will never die, I'm convinced. Owning at least one pair of customized sneakers is practically a hypebeast necessity. Nothing beats having a one of a kind design on your feet, especially when you can walk around proudly, knowing no one can find another like your kicks. It's crazy how Mache has religiously designed each and every shoe by hand. Just watching him happily do so takes me back to my own colored pencil-whipping, acrylic paint-dipping art class days of the past. What's even more inspiring is Mache's ability to genuinely pursue what he loves while contributing to the fashion world at large. Pretty dope. Now, let me go jam to Nelly's "Air Force Ones."

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Anna Wintour Addresses Backlash Over Underwhelming Kamala Harris 'Vogue' Cover Image

Vogue's editor-in-chief Anna Wintour has taken a moment to address the backlash surrounding the leaked cover image choice of Vice President-elect, Kamala Harris for their February 2021 print issue.

In an interview with The New York Times, the tenured fashion editor released a statement explaining her team's decision to go with the more casual photo of Harris dressed in a black blazer, black slacks, and a pair of black and white Chuck Taylor Converse sneakers. "Obviously, we have heard and understood the reaction to the print cover and I just want to reiterate that it was absolutely not our intention to, in any way, diminish the importance of the Vice-President-elect’s incredible victory," she says. "We want nothing but to celebrate Vice President-elect Harris's amazing victory and the important moment this is in America's history and particularly for women of color all over the world."

Wintour also brought up how both parties—Vogue's editorial staff and Harris' team—did not come to a collaborative decision prior to the revealing of the print cover image, one that Harris' squad was reportedly not expecting.

"There was no formal agreement about what the choice of the cover would be, and when the two images arrived at Vogue, all of us felt very, very strongly that the less formal portrait of the vice president-elect really reflected the moment that we were living in, which we were in the midst, as we still are, of the most appalling pandemic that is taking lives by the minute," she clarified. "We felt to reflect this tragic moment and global history, a much less formal picture, something that was very, very accessible and approachable and real, really reflected the hallmark of the Biden-Harris campaign and everything they're trying to, and, I'm sure, will achieve."

Although the initial, underwhelming image was leaked as the official print cover, Vogue revealed the more fitting image of Harris wearing a powder blue suit as a digital cover on Sunday morning (Jan. 10). Tyler Mitchell, the young Black photographer commissioned for the cover shoot, posted this version along with another. According to The Times, Vogue is considering printing the formal version as a second edition.

Meanwhile, many Harris supporters are pushing for every woman to dress casually like the vice president-elect in honor of her on Inauguration Day. "My cousin BeBe @bernadettemarsh sent this to me," wrote Ms. Tina Knowles-Lawson under her Instagram post. "She asked that every woman dress like this on Inauguration Day to honor Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Jeans, blazer, Converse tennis shoes, pearls. I think it is a great idea! I will do it! What do y'all think ?"

The cover on the left (with the Chuck Ts) had no business being selected or even offered as an option.

This speaks volumes of how you view our Madam Vice President.

— Adrienne Lawrence (@AdrienneLaw) January 10, 2021

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Naomi Osaka Named Louis Vuitton's Newest Brand Ambassador

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The U.S. Open champion will be featured in the fashion house's Spring 2021 campaign, photographed by the French brand’s Artistic Director of Women’s Collections, Nicolas Ghesquière. Donning a multi-colored dress with a small travel-friendly handbag, the Vogue January 2021 cover star serves vibrant athleisure with a splash of opulent swag.

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Making statements by way of fashion was Osaka's mission in 2020, whether sweating on the tennis court or simply being expressive on social media. The Japanese-Haitian-American athlete is featured on Vogue's January 2021 cover, making her the second tennis player to be spotlighted by the 128-year-old publication after Serena Wiliams. Inside she talked about the importance of using her stardom to spread an important message.

"I always grew up with a little bit more Japanese heritage and culture, but I’m Black, and I live in America, and I personally didn’t think it was too far-fetched when I started talking about things that were happening here."

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In a rare interview with British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, Bey shares how 2020 changed her life. “It would be difficult to experience life in a pandemic and the current social unrest and not be changed,” she says. “I have learnt that my voice is clearer when I am still. I truly cherish this time with my family, and my new goal is to slow down and shed stressful things from my life.

“I came into the music industry at 15 years old and grew up with the world watching, and I have put out projects non-stop. I released Lemonade during the Formation World Tour, gave birth to twins, performed at Coachella, directed Homecoming, went on another world tour with Jay [Z], then Black is King, all back to back. It’s been heavy and hectic. I’ve spent a lot of time focussing on building my legacy and representing my culture the best way I know how. Now I’ve decided to give myself permission to focus on joy.”


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British Vogue December 2020

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Elsewhere in the issue, which , hits newsstands on Nov. 6, Queen Bey speaks about her mission to elevate Black voices, and how becoming a mother changed her outlook, particular after welcoming her first child (Blue Ivy Carter) and giving birth to a son. “After having my son, Sir Carter, I felt it was important to uplift and praise our boys and to assure that they grow up with enough films, children’s books and music that promote emotional intelligence, self-value and our rich history. That’s why [Black is King] is dedicated to him.”

In other Bey news, the adidas x Ivy Park “Drip 2” collection debuted on on Thursday (Oct. 29), and in Adidas stores on Friday (Oct. 30). Needless to say, the online portion nearly sold out within minutes.

The lot includes women’s, men’s and gender neutral clothing options that includes cozy, oversized, and cropped hoodies, figure-hugging biker shorts, tights, bodysuits, sneakers, hats, socks, and more. The line comes in coral, canary, azure, honey, and dark green color pallets, and is available in plus sizes.

See photos below.


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