Mache Custom Kicks

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

‘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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Mo'Nique Shines In Donald Glover's Short Films For His Adidas Collection

No matter where she is, Mo'Nique will always shine. The comedian was a pleasant surprise in Donald Glover's series of short films released Thursday (April 18) in tandem with his collection with Adidas.

The films, titled Timber, 1985, Avocado, Polenta and Dusty feature both actors with underlying themes related to Glover's reimagined designs on the Nizza, the Continental 80 and  Lacombe. Throughout the films, Mo'Nique teases Glover with digs at his celebrity, calling him "a little booty baby,"  and comparing his forehead to a stop sign.

Mo'Nique shoed love to Glover and hinted towards another collabo they might have in the future.

The comedian and regal films are a perfect juxtaposition to Glover's approach on his collection."Rich is a concept,” Glover said in a press release about the collection. “With this project, I wanted to encourage people to think about how their stories can be told on their feet. Value isn’t quantified by what you wear, rather the experiences from them. And you make the decision on what works for you, you live through your own lens. The partnership for me is about being able to exemplify what doing your own thing truly looks and feels like."

The shoes carry a deconstructed style like uneven stitching, inside-out golden eyestays and handpainted three stripe design. The Lacombe will run for $90, the Nizza for $80 and the Continental 80 for $100.

Glover recently teased the shoes during his time at Coachella, air dropping fans at random images of the shoes for them to pick up at the brand's installation.

Check them out below and enjoy the short films above.


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Getty Images

Jennifer Lopez To Receive CFDA's Fashion Icon Award

Jennifer Lopez is reportedly poised to receive the Fashion Icon Award at the upcoming 2019 CFDA Awards.

J.Lo will join an elite group of fashion influencers, including Rihanna,  Beyoncé, Naomi Campbell, and Pharrell Williams.

"At the board meeting [in March], it’s always the most discussed and debated award each year," CFDA’s president and CEO Steven Kolb told The Hollywood Reporter. “There are so many worthy candidates, and everyone has really strong opinions, because style is objective, in terms of what people like and what looks good. But Jennifer has always been a steady presence in fashion and continues to be bold and make statements, and she’s someone who’s always noticed and talked about, and that makes her a perfect choice."

Lopez has been an unrivaled force on the red carpet. The green Versace dress that she wore to the 42nd Grammy Awards in 2000 is still a fashion moment people bring up in conversation.

Red carpets aside though, Kolb suggested that Lopez was bound to be a fashion icon because of her "true love" for style. "When you look at fashion and style and the way celebrities dress, even when they embrace it they can sometimes look like they’re holding it at arm’s length,” Kolb added. "They embrace it for reasons of being photographed or noticed, but you wonder if they really love it. But you can tell that Jennifer really loves it. She would be a style icon even if she weren’t on the red carpet. There’s a true love there that comes across in her style, and you can tell she thinks it’s fun."

The 2019 CFDA Awards will be held at the Brooklyn Museum on June 3.

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The North Face

Ella Mai On The North Face's 'Explore Mode' Campaign, New Music And Living In The Moment

Ella Mai is in her own age of exploration. Her eponymous debut album scored her a platinum plaque with her breakout hit, "Boo'd Up" earning her a Grammy for Best R&B Song. But the accolades aren't driving her creative path. The arc in her compass is all about the places she's traveled, the people she's met and the lessons learned along the way.

"To be honest, personally, exploration is like growth. I feel like if you don't explore new things, whether it's going outside, meeting people or trying new food, you won't ever grow because you're just stuck in your little comfort zone which can be super scary to come out of," she tells VIBE at The North Face's Explore Mode event in New York on Monday (April 15). The singer is one of three women (including model-activist Gabrielle Richardson and chef Angela Dimayuga) who teamed up with the brand to share a message of enjoying the outside world without digital confinement and the global initiative to make Earth Day a national holiday.

The London native's urge to explore came in handy over the weekend when she performed in the brisk desert of Coachella. Inspired by artists like Rihanna and Ms. Lauryn Hill, Mai helped fans enjoy the hazy sunset as she performed hits like "Trip" and her latest No. 1 song, "Shot Clock."

"It's such a good feeling, especially when it comes to radio," she shared about her track reaching No. 1 on the airplay chart. "I wasn't even sure if people listened to the radio because people have so much access to streaming platforms, but obviously having all three of my singles from my debut album, go number one on urban radio is incredible."

That energy was brought to the Coachella stage with the festival being her biggest artistic exploration so far.

"My favorite part of the performance would have to be when I performed "Naked" and because it was dark, and I performed when the sun went down, I couldn't see how far the crowd actually went back. But during "Naked," it was such an intimate moment I asked everyone to put their lights up (phones) and when I saw how far it went back I was like, "Woah." That moment sealed it for me."

"Even there were two people in the audience, I still would've done my best," she added. "But just to see the crowd be so engaged, even if they didn't know the music, was a really good feeling. I had so much fun."

As the festival energy in Indio, Calif. continued to thrive, another rested on the streets of Los Angeles following the loss of Nipsey Hussle. With the singer having ties to those close to the rapper like DJ Mustard, she says the shift in the city was hard to ignore.

"As weird as it sounds, you felt it," she said. "Even in the weather, it was super hot and then everyone got the news and it started raining. Just a weird energy shift." As a new L.A. resident, the singer says Nipsey's influence cannot be denied.

"I feel like the energy shift went both ways; everyone was really sad, grieving and mourning but everyone feels more inspired by what he was doing that they want to go out and do something and change in their community. It's still a very touchy subject in L.A., especially the people that I'm around since they were very close to him. I think everyone is super inspired to do better and try to be more like him, which is great to see. YG's whole set at Coachella was dedicated to him, I know Khalid had a dedication to Mac Miller. Everyone is super aware of what Nipsey was trying to do and how he wanted to change the world."

Engaging in The North Face's mission to explore seemed to be in the cards for Mai. Like many of us, Mai was familiar with the brand's effective coolness factor. "I remember running home and telling my mom that I needed a Jester Backpack because my cousin had one as well, and it's similar to the other stories, I wanted to be like my older cousin (laughs) so my mom ended up getting me one." But there's also the incentive to showcase the importance of stepping away from the phone screens and into leafy green forests.

"I'm such a live-in-the-moment person," she says of her lack of identity on social media. While she might share a thought or two on social media, Mai is interested in appreciating the world around her. "I feel like everyone is so consumed about documenting the day, you don't really get to live the day. You just watch it back but I like to have the memories in my head. Of course, sometimes, I'll take out my phone but I try to live in the moment as much as possible."

Part of that mission is ensuring Earth Day is celebrated the right way. With the support of Mai, Richardson, and Dimayuga, The North Face officially launched a petition to make Earth Day a national holiday.

“The North Face is no stranger to exploration and this Earth Day we are proud to join our partners and fellow explorers in a global effort to make Earth Day a national holiday,” said Global General Manager of Lifestyle at The North Face, Tim Bantle. “We believe that when people take time to appreciate the Earth, they feel more connected to it and are more likely to protect it. Explore Mode urges us to unplug from our digital lives to connect in real life to the world, each other, and ourselves in the effort to move the world forward.”

Mai hasn't hit her all of her exploration goals just yet. "I really want to go to Indonesia or Bali," she said. "That's one of my Bucket List places I really, really, really wanna go." For her essentials, the singer knows she has to bring along a windbreaker set and of course, a jester backpack. "I think the backpack is the most important thing."

In addition to a few trips around the globe, one destination includes the studio for new music. While she hasn't had time to lock down a moment to record, the inspiration is sizzling.

"When I work in the studio, I like to be like there for a good amount of time," she explains. "I like to block off two to three weeks at a time, I don't like to go to different studios and different places, it's just a comfort thing but I'm very excited to get back cause I have a lot of talk about. I've seen so many different places and met so many new people and a lot that I didn't get to experience last year."

Learn more about The North Face's petition for Earth Day here.

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