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Wild Style

On the surface, graffiti art and sneaker culture seem to have a loose association with one another. This can be contributed to hip hop culture, which ironically, some hip hop heads and graffiti historians argue have nothing to do with each other.

(Source: janettebeckman.com)

However, graffiti and hip hop came out of the South Bronx, so their histories intersect to some degree. In the 1980’s, the South Bronx had an abundance of abandoned buildings where early bombers could practice their handstyles and block parties where DJ’s experimented with mixing records.

(Source: redbullbcone.com)

While MC’s and DJ’s did their own thing, graffiti writers did theirs and the two subcultures grew with competition. Rap battles focused on who was the best MC, while graffiti focused on who could get up the biggest piece in the wildest place. These two movements caught the eye of the mainstream, as shown in films like Wild Style and Style Wars grouped graffiti and rap as part of the same youth subculture, which became known as “hip hop.”

(Source: flickr.com)

Rap and graffiti were about expression, and forerunners in the rap scene were mixing up their personal style with brand and logo heavy pieces. Of course, a big part of customizing their aesthetic was sneakers. While Nike and hip hop seem seem like old friends these days, they weren’t necessarily the first shoe hip hop heads started collecting. In 1985, German-footwear giant adidas first became associated with the NYC’s rap scene by way of the “Kings of Rock,” better known as Run–D.M.C.

(Source: solecollector.com)

Like the Hollis-Queens natives, early graffiti crews could be found rocking the class adidas Superstar.

(Source: thelovelyplains.wordpress.com)

At the same time Run–D.M.C. was doing the all-adidas fit, Nike dropped the first ever Jordan which became a hit with both sports fans and hip hop fans. Sneakers, specifically from Nike and adidas, became a staple in the golden years of hip hop style.

(Source: janettebeckman.com)

As rap music was tapped into by a wider audience, certain images became associated with hip hop culture—the classic shot in front of graffiti, the sneakers, the pose. Graffiti thrived on its own, becoming a definitive aspect of the urban landscape, especially in New York City.

 

Some of the first promo shots and album covers were taken out in the streets, where graced the building walls were graced with the era’s best graffiti.

(Source: dailymail.co.uk)

Almost thirty years after, the sneakers, hip hop, and graffiti all comfortably exist in the same community. In terms of art and personal expression, sneaker customizers are taking an approach similar to the early graffiti artists—anything can be your canvas. 

(Source: vice.com)

You still see you favorite rappers posted up in front a huge piece, but you're might also see than likely to see them wearing graffiti in the form of custom sneakers.

(Source: @chadcantcolor)

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Rosé Sneakers

When the phrase ‘rose gold’ is thrown around, it’s usually in reference to jewelry. Rose gold is the subtler version of your classic gold that’s not as audacious platinum. It lands somewhere between something a teenagers bedroom, a washed out tumblr page, a glass of rosé, a bracelet Drake would wear, and… a pair of Jordan's?

(Source: @r.charity)

In terms of clothing and footwear, rose gold is not as audacious as gold but not as loud or potentially tacky as hot pink. Instead this color walks a fine line in-between the two worlds—it’s kind of like the something for everyone shade.


(Source: @jennizerr)

Rose gold, or more perhaps more broadly, pale pink, is the ‘it’ color of the moment. This isn’t a new color of course, rose gold jewelry first came to popularity in Russia about 200 years ago. But right now, the pale pink/maybe it’s salmon/maybe it’s copper/maybe it’s rose gold color hue is popping up in almost every form of retail—from rings, to shoes, to clothes, to iPhones. It should be noted, that the color gods at Pantone declared Rose Quartz ‘Color of the Year;’ it’s not quite ‘rose gold’ per say, but it’s for the undiscerning eye, it’s very similar.


(Source: pantone.com)

In the world of jewelry, rose gold has gone in and out of popularity. Some years standard gold, always the classic, is in. Other years, gold is gaudy and the more chilly platinum is king. Then some years, in between the gold/platinum cycle, rose gold because the hot shade for your pinky ring. Now rose gold hasn’t just made its stamp on jewelry, the tech world hopped on to this as well.

It’s not entirely clear if the recent boom in rose gold’s popularity was kicked off by the Apple iPhone 5S, or if Apple’s product marketing was simply a symptom of the times. But with Apple’s ‘it’s not pink’ drop, more companies, tech-based and others, followed suit. Now ‘rose gold’ and other hues of light pink can be found everywhere. 


(Source: businessinsider.com)

It wouldn’t be entirely true to say pink sneakers are a new trend in men’s footwear. Pink itself has been a staple in the discerning Dipset historians wardrobe since Cam’ron showed up with the all pink fit. But one could argue that Cam’ron’s hue was more of a neon pink specifically than ‘rose gold.’ 


(Source: complex.com)

Light pink/rose gold certainly hasn’t been a stranger to women’s footwear, but the men’s sneaker world is following Apple’s lead with the rose gold hue (or colors close to it). Earlier in the year, adidas dropped a Raf Simons collaboration that was perfectly unisex.


(Source: highsnobiety.com)

Since we’ve only hit the halfway point in Summer ‘16, there’s still plenty of time to get your own rose gold (haters will say it’s pink) custom sneakers. Pick up a bottle of Angelus Petal Pink Paint and get to work. Be sure to drop an #angelusdirect on your customs so we can see them.

(Source: @NikeByNay)

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Custom Slides

Sometimes, there is nothing worse than the idea of having to put shoes on. This could be for a number of reasons—maybe you're in full chill-mode, or maybe it’s July and 100° outside. Whatever the reason, sometimes wearing a pair of sandals is totally appropriate. But if you’re not trying to get caught in the middle of the roast session, you might want to avoid flip flops or Birkenstocks, the preferred sandal at your local Starbucks.

 

Wearing sandals is a dicey topic when it comes to men’s fashion. Cam’ron famously made fun of Jay Z for wearing flip flops with the line, “How's the king of New York rocking sandals with jeans?” Mind you, Jay was basically a middle aged dad at that point in his career (even though this was pre-child and 10 years ago).

Clearly though, Cam-ron has a preferred sandal and the flip flop isn't it.

(Source: dipsetusa.com)

This is where slides come into play. Slides are like the acceptable, cooler cousin of flip flops. Some might call them shower shoes, but don’t let the haters deter you. Slides have long been a staple for post-game, post-party, pre-breakfast, it’s a 100° outside footwear scenarios.

(Source: @stayfreshcustoms)

While the sandal itself has been around for a couple 1,000 years now (Jesus rocked a pair), the slide is a contemporary spin that somehow allows the wearer carte-blanche. Basically, they slides allow you to look cool and stay cool in a situation that calls for sandals. The basic slide is essentially a strap across the top and a footbed; not hard to design, but it wasn’t until the 1970’s that the model which is popular today was created.

(Source: sneakerhead.com)

In 1972, German footwear giants adidas came out with the Adilette marketed as a post-game shower shoe that was easy to get on, easy to walk around in, and kept the player’s feet comfortable. Since its inception, the Adilette crossed over into the commercial market as a somehow fashionable, but easy-to-wear foot covering when your levels of caring in the “very low” range.

(Source: mtv.com)

The strange thing about the slide is that it can move between worlds with relative ease, so you might see a pair dressed up during NYFW or dressed down in the locker room, on your favorite rapper, or a regular Joe at the grocery store. 

(Source: upscalehype.com)

Maybe you’re not sold on slides because they have come in a limited color palette. Most ready to buy versions of the slide are going to be pretty basic; so black and white, unless you’re buying a pair of Gucci’s. That’s why we recommend doing what you do best and turning them into a pair of customs with Angelus Brand paint. You might not be familiar with the process, or need a little inspiration, so we made a step-by-step video for your custom slides need.


Of course, the Angelus Brand YouTube channel has more than How-To videos for slides. Be sure to subscribe for more tips and tricks and other information to meet your custom sneaker needs.

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Sneaker Con Los Angeles

Sneaker Con is coming to Los Angeles this weekend, and that means some of the rarest grails and a wildest custom sneakers will be in one place at one time. This year’s festivities will be hosted at L.A. Live by the  BET Experience on June 25th and 26th. Of course, Angelus Direct wouldn’t miss the fun, so we’ll be there with our Easy Cleaner Kit and gift cards.

(Source: sneakercon.com)

Beyond the hype of seeing who has what on their feet, Sneaker Con is a lightning rod for a growing number of small-business entrepreneurs that carve out a living in an industry where hundreds of billions of dollars go to massive corporations. Historically, buying sneakers, especially rare ones, left you with too little options; over the years this has changed drastically.

(Source: cracckicks.wordpress.com)

Most sneaker companies offer direct-to-consumer sales that increases traffic to their own retail stores and websites. This will be Option A for some sneakerheads. Think along the lines of a Niketown or an adidas store in terms brick-and-mortar operations (physical locations). While going to a footwear retailers own storefront is beneficial for customer experience, these stores are usually located in high density, or metropolitan cities with limited quantities.


(Source: sciame.com)

Then of course there is the [insertyourfavoritefootwearbrand].com website; this is Option B. In the digitial age, shopping is mobile and you can buy a pair of sneakers wherever you have wifi or a signal. The problem with eCommerce (online shopping) is that almost everyone who also wants those sneakers, say the Supreme Jordan 5’s for example, has a smartphone. Option B is limited now. Unless you have mad Internet skills or use a ‘bot,’ which is basically software that runs tasks like “add size 10 to cart” at hyperspeed, Option B isn’t happening.


(Source: complex.com)

For customers who don’t live close to ‘single brand’ retailers, or couldn’t score want they wanted on the company's website, option C is your mass market retailer. These are the sneaker, clothing, and sporting goods stores that you might find at malls and shopping centers in medium-sized cities. A mass market retailer like Foot Locker accounts for $5 billion in footwear sales because they have 4,000 accessible locations. Typically, they sell multiple brands, but might have limited supplies of the more hype releases. Foot Locker had Yeezy’s, but only at certain locations (typically larger markets) and you better believe people lined up, so Option C might be a bust too.


(Source: wsj.com)

Option D is your boutique sneaker stores, but those will have lines and websites that get overloaded with eager buyers. Option D is similar to Option A and B, so you will face pretty much all of the same challenges. Supplies might be even more limited, stores might only be in metropolitan cities, or they might not even sell the product online.


(Source: thehundreds.com)

This leaves many desperate sneakerheads with Option E, which is by far the most controversial option; Option E is the resale market. The resale market thrives on exclusivity and markups on holy grail sneakers that hit the +300% range. According to Josh Luber of the sneaker-centric online marketplace StockX (formerly known as Campless), the secondary market on sneakers has generated something close to $6 billion.


(Source: sneakernews.com)

Of course, those $6 billion will not be made at Sneaker Con, or other sneaker conventions alone. But the steady rise of Sneaker Con represents the shift away from how, where, and by whom sneakers can be purchased. Depending on how you look at it, the last buying option for rare sneakers leaves everyone happy—companies get paid, resellers get paid, and sneakerheads come up (if they’re willing to pay a markup).

Be sure to stop by and say what’s up or check out the live sneaker customs to see our acrylic leather paint in action!

Authenticity Guaranteed? The Battle Against Fake Sneakers.

When the name Kanye West pops up online, people are bound to pay attention. People want to know what he said (or yelled), what he did, and for sartorial crowd, what he wore. It’s no doubt that Kanye is the biggest trendsetter right now. Not only are his Yeezy’s are the most sought after sneaker, when he wears anything else, they become a hot commodity. This massive following is great for Kanye’s personal brand, but it also fuels a legions of bootlegs and bad imitations that try to capitalize on his popularity.


(Source: highsnobiety.com)

Earlier today, Angelus Direct-sponsored artist Mache teamed up with Chronicled, Inc. to lace up Kanye West and his daughter North with two pairs of custom adidas for North’s third birthday. One might assume that child of two of the biggest celebrities will get the wildest gifts, but a pair of custom sneakers from the customizer is particularly special.


(Source: complex.com)

Many call Dan "Mache" Gamache the master of sneaker customs, and this is for good reason. Mach might be the most seasoned customizer, with 10+ years of practice to perfect his craft. Over the past decade and more, Mache has built a who’s-who clientele list that include sports stars, musicians, and even sneaker companies. So it goes without saying, if Mache is involved, the result isn’t simply a ‘custom sneaker’ but a work of art on a sneaker.


(Source: solecollector.com)

It’s no doubt that these half-uncaged adidas Ultra Boosts are a hot commodity since Kanye was spotted wearing a pair. The question is, because this color scheme is Kanye related, will more olive-and-green Ultra Boosts customs start to pop in the #angelusdirect thread? Probably.

(Source: solecollector.com)

The Angelus Direct supplied paint job itself is proof enough that these sneakers are authentic, one-of-a-kind Mache’s, but they also have a neat little tag on them to further prove that. The sensor tag is from a San Francisco based tech startup called Chronicled Inc, a company that aims to digitally authenticate sneakers with a smart chip.


(Source: @chonicled)

Marshawn Lynch is one of the backers behind the Chronicled. If you didn’t know, Beast Mode is a huge sneakerhead. He took his love of sneakers to the football field with a pair of custom cleats done by artist SolesbySir (who we featured some months back); so Lynch’s involvement is no surprise in the company.

Ideally, by establishing origin, cataloging proof of purchase, and categorizing sneakers into a database, Chronicled aims to eliminate fake sneakers. Recently, custom sneakers have been brought up in the conversation about authenticity. Most fakes are identifiable, but with so many sneakers are being customized, and so many designs being stolen, things get a bit murkier. With an established customizer like Mache as an early adopter, Chronicled might be the next tool in creating truly one-off customs.

(Source: @chonicled)

It’s unlikely that up-and-coming customizers and sneaker artists will knock off Mache’s custom adidas for Kanye and North, but you’re bound to see more customs “inspired” by his work; this is where the smart tag comes in handy. Right now, the custom sneaker community is working diligently to police itself for fakes and stolen designs, as we recently experienced (obviously don't steal other people's work).



With tech-based innovation like Chronicled, authenticity is a screen tap away for rare and customized sneakers.

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