Sneaker popularity over the last ten years has expanded at an unprecedented rate and now, what started out as a subculture intertwined with music, sport and skateboarding has blown up into a leading economic industry. At the same time, we live in an age of growing creativity amongst young people, where individuals want to create and learn about processes which may result in their favourite pair of shoes. Luckily for us, learning these skills is no longer out of reach, as professionals of the art have moved in a more transparent direction when it comes to sharing their knowledge.
In a movement which began primarily in the US, sneakerheads now have the opportunity to have hands-on experience in the process of shoemaking by deconstructing and reconstructing iconic kicks. For the first time, this once in a lifetime experience is available in the UK as of last week. London Sneaker School (LSS) is the collaborative effort of a team with over 15 years of shoemaking experience, founded this year by Jase Cooper and Thomas Rowe (pictured below). Their aim is to develop LSS into a platform which teaches people about the ins and outs of sneaker assembly while bridging the gap between product and consumer. For the most part, the sneakers we wear on our feet are manufactured thousands of miles away on the other side of the world. This is something which the team at LSS are attempting to overcome, believing that “bringing production closer to home opens up new opportunities for creativity and expression by understanding our sneakers on a new level”.
How it works.
London Sneaker School will be offering a range of five-day intensive shoemaking courses, the dates and details of which being posted on their Instagram (@londonsneakerschool). The first course has already been announced and has sold out, due to take place on the 22nd of June 2020. This first set of students will learn how to make a pair of Nike Air Max 1’s using a range of modern and traditional techniques under the guidance of experts at LSS. The classes are kept to a maximum of four students per shoemaker in an effort to maximise your time shared with the professionals. A range of leathers and materials are available to use in order to craft your ideal pair of Air Max 1’s, allowing a substantial level of customisation creativity. At the end of the five-day course, you will have learnt how to use tools and machinery, gained a knowledge of the processes as well as go home with your own 1 of 1 Air Max 1’s!
Whether you’re an experienced sneaker customiser or a novice enthusiast, you will be catered for at LSS. The courses accommodate for everyone, so previous skill or experience is not required whatsoever! If you’re looking to deepen your footwear industry knowledge, start your own brand and want more insight or just want your own handcrafted sneakers, their courses are for you.
The sneaker making courses offered at LSS are available for the price of £1700, which can be paid upfront or in instalments over three months. When comparing the price to other similar programmes, this course is one of the more economical if you consider what you get out of the five days. One similar programme was introduced by popular sneaker customer and designer, The Shoe Surgeon, in 2018. His courses were based in Los Angeles and cost $3,000 (around £2,460), a substantially higher price than that at LSS. The Nike Bespoke programme is another sneaker customisation outlet costing £1,000 and allows you to design your own Air Max 1 or Air Force 1’s. The programme enables you to get up close and personal with materials, patterns and colour pallets. However, the Bespoke programme does not teach you how to craft your own sneakers, instead, you design them and Nike put them together for you! Furthermore, NikeLab is no longer offering Bespoke appointments in London, meaning it is only available in the US. Today, London Sneaker School have announced their next course dates. Their follow up session will take place on the 10th of August 2020 at their workshop in Hackney, London.
For more information on LSS, their next course dates and how to get involved, follow the link below to their website. I have also linked their Instagram account down below so you can stay up to date.
London Sneaker School online – www.londonsneaker.school
London Sneaker School Instagram – instagram.com/londonsneakerschool