Written by Najmudeen Nathan Strawn
Alex Nash aka NASHMONEY the orchestrator and conductor of the sneaker mash-up found his way to the world’s ‘desert metropolis’ known to many as Dubai for the 2nd Annual Sole DXB Sneaker Summit.
His journey, a special one as he was tasked with a mission unlike any other: create a custom shoe that represents Dubai and the sun drenched granule lands that surround it.
In order to complete such a task, Mr. Nash would need to grasp Dubai in a few quick days and to do that meant understanding Arab, Asian, African, and Western culture all rolled into high-end mentalities surrounded by blue-collar realities. Now, where do you find Sole in all that?
Actually, at Sole DXB, the handcrafted, sewn together collective of Hussain M, Josh C, and Kris B who put their passion for kicks and creative talent together to establish the Middle East's first and only annual sneakerhead and cultural event.
This past April saw Sole DXB’s second event kick-off and with it, full support from the likes of Nike, Puma, G-Shock, DC, New Era, New Balance and many others along with over 4000+ visitors including special invited guest, Mr. Alex Nash.
Upon arrival, several days before the event, the Sole DXB three and NASHMONEY met for the customary “Welcome to Dubai” Sheesha in the heart of the fabric/haberdashery district Satawa; a fitting place to start a crash course on the city and for Nash to discover the soon to be ingredients for his next creation.
After deconstructing and breaking down Dubai the way he does with sneaker customs, Alex Nash laced up and became NASHMONEY ready to build the city’s next big feat – a VISVIM FBT x New Balance 1500 Hybrid.
Sole DXB thought about what shoes would best represent the group and what it’s establishing for the region and city. At its essence, the collective fall into their own category of style – Luxury, Performance, and Lifestyle. With that, Sole DXB finds its balance within the sneaker culture and inspiration in choosing Visvim and NB.
Visvim a high-end luxury brand out of Japan known for its superb quality, attention to detail, original design, quick rise to success and sought after shoes perfectly mirrored what Dubai has become known for over the last 10 years; almost in tandem with Visvim’s growth, so what better shoe than the Visvim FBT.
To traverse the city’s urban and desert terrains with comfort and ease, New Balance was chosen as the perfect counterpart. Again, another brand that mirrors Dubai with its’ iconic look and feel, rich history and unwavering tradition, forward thinking, along with style and performance, NB was definitely the choice…the NB 1500 to be exact!
CONSTRUCTION: ‘The Bedouin’
Constructing the ‘Bedouin’ Hybrid meant The integration of the FBT UPPER and nb1500 is Seamless (not really) in a lime green signature NASH cross stitch around the quarter and vamp panels of the FBT matching the NB colorway and his check stitch on the overlapping quarter and vamp overlay. Cleverly maintaining the Encap sole.
The NB1500 upper construction is showcased with branding only on the medial side, as the main aim was to demonstrate the FBT's simplicity of style and design on the lateral side.
Using the vamp, lateral quarter panels, facing and tongue of the VISVIM to bring its simplicity as a formal shoe to the performance and style aspect of the NB1500 and its Encap sole. The counter heal panel and extra cushioned collar around the ankle of the NB are used as a clean integration to the FBT, internally and externally for visual aesthetics and comfort true to both brands.
The tongue dressed up with a lime stitch where the VISVIM woven label used to be, along side a tonal and subtle branding execution of the hybrid "SOLE DXB" and "NASH" with letter embossing stamps in the thick hi quality cowhide Humbly Complimenting the FBT. Maintaining the VISVIM class by staying away from the loud and garish.
With the foundation set it was now time to tell the full story of the culture of the Middle East and the reason of being here in Dubai. The FBT gave us the perfect canvas to convey this aspect of the custom, the skirting.
As Visvim traditionally do to demonstrate the theme of Native American design and a story behind each shoe through various materials and fabrics;
Our consensus was to use Majlas fabric.
A Majlis is traditionally made of a colourful wool like fabric used for visitors coming to your home; something Bedouin’s would construct in their travels across the desert. It seemed very fitting, as it matched the social aspect of the Sole DXB event.
Adding the shoelace lock and rustic beads to show modern styling on top of local heritage styling.
Lastly the traditional Visvim shoe BAG made from the maroon/burgundy Majlis lined with a contrasting line green satin fitting our Bedouin Hybrid. Perfect for the traveling Bedouin to carry these gems in.
In the end we have a shoe from Boston with NB, Japan’s Visvim and Dubai right in the middle both literally and figuratively with NASHMONEY stitching together a truly global shoe, and that represents Dubai and the spirit of Sole DXB. This is The Bedouin.