Interview with Shoe Customizers of Diversitile Custom Clothing

I recently caught up with the creative minds behind Diversitile Custom Clothing after they had just been knocked out of the Clash of the Customizers despite a strong showing each round.

State your name, age, where you are from and or grew up?

Chris Campbell, 24 grew up in Cocoa Fl. Richard Gordon, 24 grew up in Fort Lauderdale. John Terramoccia, 25 grew up in Fort Lauderdale.

What if any art based education have you had?

Graduated with B.A. Animation degree (Chris), B.A. Graphic Design/Digital Media Degree (Richard), and Studio B.F.A Art degree (John).

When did you start and what got you into customizing?

In early summer of 07 Chris had a friend that owned a clothing store that wanted something different to attract customers. So the owner contracted him to paint on shoes. Then in the fall of 2007 Chris gathered togther a group of fellow artists and presented to them his idea to make a business out of hand painting shoes.

Is customizing a full time gig? If not what pays the bills?

Unfortunately customizing is not a full time gig yet, but all three of us pay the bills doing various freelance jobs in our fields.

So since Diversitile is made up of 3 people what does each artist bring to the Diversitile dinner table?

As stated before, Chris is the brainchild behind Diversitile, he brings his photo realistic drawing and painting skills and overall creativity to the table. Richard brings his techinacal ability and digital design skills (graphic and web design) as well as his organizational/management skills. John brings his unique creative vision, which he expresses through his mastery in typography and graffiti as well as his unique painting style.  We would also like to give credit to an artist that help us get started, Mark Thor, who not able to continue with  Diversitile because of different goals. We completely respect that and wish him and his family all the best! We all have have different skills and abilities, and each of our creative visions are combined to make Diversitile what it is.

Have you learned, gained, or experienced anything significant as a result of customizing?

Our experience is a little different than most when it comes to customizing due to the fact that we have a group. We learned quickly that the brand is more important than the individual, which is contrary to the norm in sneaker customizing where the individual usually gets all the credit, however with a group we had to learn humility in order to build the Diversitile name.

What are ways you try to spread word of Diversitile, or way in which you market the brand?

We began on myspace adding as many friends as we could, and then utilized other internet resources like facebook, email, our website, blogs and most recently twitter. We also rely heavily on word of mouth marketing, events and our print materials such as flyers and business cards.

Craziest customizing request?

Most reciently we got custom request from a return customer who wanted to top the first shoe that we did for him. Here is an excerpt from his request:

Me in a lab coat holding a scalpel (I have attached a small pic), IV antibiotics pole, medication pill, white blood cell and instead of red blood cell could you place a band-aid instead (again all of them in cartoon style)?  Back of the shoe @ the heel I would like the word ‘good’ on it.  At the collar of the shoes, I would like a fine writing of ‘to heal and granulate.’ “

Do you listen to music while working? If so what’s on your customizing playlist?

Yes usually music is playing in our work environment anything from Kings of Leon to Tupac and Biggie.

Favorite food and beverage?

We like to eat pretty much anything and everything between the three of us.

If you could have one super power for a day what would it be? And why?

Have the power to fly since our shoes are fly already.

If you could pick one movie or TV show to have been an actor in which one would it be?

Peter from Season one of Heroes.

Most memorable or famous customer you have had?

Michael Jordan’s son Marcus Jordan.

What are your favorite clothing brands or styles?

The Hundreds, Johnny Cupcakes, Huff, H and M, Echo, Zoo York, and Express.

Name a book you would recommend?

“The Magic of Thinking Big” by Napoleon Hill

Anyone you would like to work with?

There is a number of talented customizers out there that we would like to do collabos with. Jester, Sharp, and Emanuel Labor to name a few.

10 years from now, where do you see yourself, and or Diversitile?

While we each have individual goals, we all would like to see Diversitile being a full fledged brand including cut and sew clothing, t-shirts and sneakers.

What are the plans for the rest of 2009 and the next year?

In 09′ finish some ideas we have for a few more shoes and in 10′ Launch our new run (both sneakers and tshirts), our new website, and our new marketing theme.

Customizing sneakers has grown and changed a lot the past 10 years from a few guys hobby to some people now making living from it. Do you have any predictions on where customizing will turn next?

It all depends on where the current heavy weights in the custom sneaker game want to take it. The possibilities are endless and it is just a matter having the drive to take it there. One thing that Diversitile has always strives to do, is be more than just “That sneaker guy.” We want to create a profitable business and on top of that feed the culture as a whole, if that makes sense. For customizing, that sky’s the limit as we are concerned.

Any advice for those beginning customizers or those wanting to start customizing?

Trail and error are the best teachers, you may learn allot from advice, but you will learn the most from the mistakes you make.

Final thoughts, shoutouts, or news you’d like to share?

We would like to shout out and give much love to our fellow customizers that we went up against in the “Clash of the Customizers”, and to let everybody know to be on the look out for Diversitile in 2010. “The Take Over is Coming!!”

Big thanks to the guys at Diversitile Custom Clothing for taking the time to answer our questions. After the run of creative custom shoes they created this past year I’m extremely excited to see what comes next from this crew!