A bespoke service like no other. No.One Cares…about Family.
When No.One approached me to cast my hand towards a bespoke Delta model, I instantly knew I had to get my Dad in on this awesome opportunity.
My Father is an engineer by trade. In jest, a self proclaimed “genius” at that, but with a level of humility and through evidence, one of the worlds best engineers in a past life (co-signed by the Queen might I add). From building planes, tools, homes in the UK and laying down foundations in Tanzania via roads and a major port for trading. He even rigged up a small device to help me learn how to tie shoe laces, but has never created an actual shoe (except more recently when he helped me bring a conceptual piece to life for Takashi Murakami).
I put a lot of my abilities and working methods in design down to my Dad. Having worked with him as a part time tradesman throughout my life, I’ve had a level of excellence & precision hammered into me. “Do it right the first time, so you don’t have to do it again”. I’m grateful for that kind of insight from a young age, I think it certainly instilled a strong work ethic in my younger brother and I.
There’s a few reasons I wanted to get my Father involved, bar him obviously being an engineering genius. He has an eye for the intriguing, with sometimes questionable taste (runs in the family) and that’s noted in his love of craft. Baring all that in mind, most of my life I’ve known he loves a good cupsole sneaker, especially something that reflects an 80s/90s style Cross-trainer, so why not get his mitts on the highest quality out there. Most importantly, he’s not been in the best of health for a year now and I selfishly wanted him to know the feeling of “designing” a shoe and seeing his vision become reality.
The process was quick and simple. I presented him with a range of colours and materials available. I gave him free reign to do whatever he wanted, to go crazy within certain bounds. In shock, I expected him to go nuts, but the reality is he had no hesitation and knew what he wanted straight off the bat. Black Full-grain Veg Tan leather quarters, facings, tongues and mudguards with a vivid contrasting of Pistachio Mohawk Roughed suede for the underlying vamp and toe box. To finish it off with white leather tongue binding and natural leather lining.
I speak on behalf of us both, but the final product was way more impressive than we ever anticipated. No.One certainly know how to make a pair of sneakers. From the day we sent the specification off to Mark and the team, we had been itching to see them in the flesh.
The No.One team really delivered! We were speechless. The experience of opening the sealed packaging, seeing the custom labels with our names in the signature No.One font type was dazzling. I haven’t handled a package so preciously in years. Opening the magnetic lid to gain a hit of fresh glue, we removed the tissue paper to unveil a pristine pair of shoes. The finished product was beautiful. The level of craftsman and detailing is spectacular. I hadn’t seen that kind of childish grin on my Dad’s face for a while, he was like a kid on Christmas morning. His appreciation for the craft is undeniable and that’s evident in how he looks after the pair today. After any interaction with them, they go back into the box placed just as they arrived.
The first time we wore the shoes it was at the outdoor Tennis courts during our shoot. Originally our friend and photographer, Chris Ramsden wanted shoot them at a Royal Tennis Court in Manchester. He wanted to place them in a court that embodied the level of highness that the No.One oozes .
Alas, due to us being lowly peasants, we were denied access. However, Chris had a replacement nearby at Wythenshawe Park. It wasn’t as regal or pristine, but that wasn’t the point. In creating these shoes, my Father and I shared precious moments together and were able to reap the joy of wearing something we created jointly. It’s funny how something as simple as shoe can bring so much pleasure.
On behalf of my Father and I…Thank you to the whole No.One team for bringing us together and giving us the opportunity to share an experience that won’t ever be forgotten.
Photography by Chris Ramsden @ceeramsden
ConceptKicks © 2013-19