Swizz Beatz has recently taken the leadership role of the reestyle collective for Reebok. This position will let Swizz take creative control over lifestyle products. Swizz already started by dropping a sneaker but has more planned. Hit the jump to read more.
Prior to the likes of Jay-Z, 50 Cent and Kanye West, signature shoes were left mostly to athletes. What sort of influence do rappers/music artists offer that athletes donâ€™t? Or what different angles to they have?
Athletes obviously make a lot of sense because they use the shoes for their lives â€“ shoes are like their MPC. Rappers and recording artists are trendsetters and are connected to the people who make trends happen â€“ the people that are fly in the streets, you look at them and say, â€œI want to be like them, I want to dress like them.â€ Music artists speak to style, and athletes speak to performance.
Can you talk a little bit about the model you ended up creating? What was its inspiration? Why a high top?
When I first saw the Kamikaze I thought WOW, I need those. The design and the colors were crazy! The Kamikaze is not my signature shoe â€“ Iâ€™m working with Reebok to give my creative eye and approach to more than just product. This is a deep partnership.
Do you look into the Reebok archives for inspiration? What was the design process for you like?
Iâ€™m inspired by art and music. Growing up in the Bronx, I saw a lot of street art, and I didnâ€™t appreciate it at the time, but I knew we didnâ€™t tag over a Keith Haring. Then I was introduced to Basquiat and Peter Max, I take a lot of my artistic inspiration from them. A couple of years ago I decided not to just invest in art but to invest in myself, and started taking art classes. So art is a huge part of my inspiration. Not to mention the fact that Iâ€™ve been wearing Reeboks since I was a kid, so I know how dope Reebok can be.
Among the colorways, you have some more understated ones as well as a really crazy version. What did you have in mind for the colors?
A lot of that comes from Reebok â€“ the collection isnâ€™t about standing back in the corner, theyâ€™re for people who want to stand out. Iâ€™ve been lucky to design and get some pretty amazing kicks â€“ did you see those metallic snake-skin Kamikaze joints? Now those are sick. But in the fashion and car world weâ€™d call those concept shoes. You know itâ€™s showtime when someone has those on.
Part of your role is to head up the Reestyle Collective, can you tell us a bit more about this project?
The Reestyle Collective is a whole â€˜nother project. Iâ€™m working with Reebok to enlist a group of mentors to help up-and-coming artists across the globe find their audience. The mentors will be people like me, leaders from the worlds of art, music, fashion, film and design, and theyâ€™ll help young people make their own footprints.