Designer Salehe Bembury reveals secrets of his creativity

Sitting in a plush highchair across from Salehe Bembury’s small round table, as the conversation progresses, I can imagine how easy it was to relate to him. As he speaks, you probably get a sense of celebrity almost within reach.

American designers are rarely confined primarily to footwear, but they have made a career out of the desire to “do an associate design job at Nike, make some money, and that would have been it for me.” started.

After more than a decade of “just making what I love,” Saleje, 36, has amassed an impressive collection of pieces from brands including Versace, Yeezy, Cole Haan, New Balance, Vans, Crocs and soon Clarks. I was. So Salehe Bembury became a brand. When her house of fashion thinks of her footwear, they think of Salehe. His design ethos extends beyond his feet, into apparel, accessories, and soon home spaces.He actually not only leaves his mark on fashion and pop culture, but is inspired by nature. We are in a position to move the conversation towards enhanced comfort and functionality. In Salehe’s words, “A lot of what I create is ultimately for me. While many companies follow trends or create this model to please the consumer, I often create what I like.

We met at Sole DXB, an annual lifestyle and fashion event held in the Dubai Design District. Salehe is here as a showstopper for the apparel group’s footwear brand Crocs. This is the official UAE launch of Salehe Bembury Crocs Pollex Clog Sasquatch.

As such, a giant Sasquatch replica is on display inside the cavernous pavilion. Their array occupies a niche carved into the rear wall of the pavilion. (see box)

Wearing a hat and Prada sunglasses, Salehe makes an effortless appearance in a breezy checkered robe. This is a gift from a photo shoot he just did with fellow creative Hassan Hajjaj. Underneath are his trademark cropped pants, and on his shoes are Sandy his beige Crocs and none other than his Pero.

In an interview with Friday, Salehe told us about his journey so far. Like a coin pinched between his index finger and thumb, one turn reveals his head and tail.

Salehe is not an office worker these days. He’s enjoying the freedom to be his own boss as the founder and creative director of his own brand, Spunge, which he launched on Instagram last year. Through it, he unleashes his own creativity, alongside his regular high-stakes collaborations such as with Crocs.

“I left Versace about two years ago, almost four years later,” he says. “While there, I had the opportunity to do two of his collaborations with Chinese sneaker brands Anta and New Balance. can be an independent designer!

However, Salehe continued to work full-time while trying out independent projects. He recalls being told repeatedly, “You know you can do this yourself.” I need a paycheck…I need a paycheck. Salehe feels he needed “a compelling moment that made it a little easier to make such a terrifying leap.”

from there to here

So how do you go from ‘I never thought I’d be the one to put my name on a product!’ We have the people, the audience, the community, they are very interested and very interested in what happens next.”

Of course, Salehe’s primary interest and passion for product design since childhood is complemented by a degree in industrial engineering from Syracuse University in New York. New York is also where he grew up, where he spent 29 years before moving to California. Then came the Payless and Cole Haan stints.

Besides measures of luck and making the most of opportunities, another factor seemed to have worked in Salehe’s favor. It’s the most reassuring thought: “People are getting used to the idea of ​​being comfortable,” especially after Covid. It is permissible by a good tailor,” says Salehe.

This is also what drives Salehe into new product categories. “Perhaps one of the few positive things Covid has brought to our society is that as people we have become more aware of our home environment…why is this pillow sitting here? Do you need this?Now that you can step inside the house, it has finally created an opportunity for designers.One opportunity is to change what people wear on their feet. But creating something that someone has decided to keep in their home forever, and celebrating it with friends when they come over to their house…that’s a whole other occasion for a product Therefore, I would like to plan this space.

He would have done this alone, months ago. But now Salehe has a team to help.

I’m really just trying to find peace, says Salehe

“Until six weeks ago, I was a one-man team,” he says. “Whatever you see from me, I’ve done it myself and I’ve been wearing hats for a really long time. I felt very capable. I feel very versatile as a creative.” … but it came down to time management.

I asked him about his obsession with early morning hikes in the hills of his home in Los Angeles. “What a beautiful way to start the day at 4,000 feet. Hike to the top. Meditate for 10 minutes.

It turned out to be Salehe’s way of calming down.

“From the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed, my mind goes 1,000 miles every minute,” he says. “I’m really trying to find peace…to take my thoughts back from a calmer, more peaceful place.”

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