“When you think about the Air Max it has such an amazing concept — you’re thinking about what constitutes the future of running, what constitutes the future of flight, what constitutes walking on air.”
Kyle Ng, founder and designer of Los Angeles-based creative house/fashion label Brain Dead doesn’t think about clothing in normal terms. His designs, which grow organically out of his own interests, have a sort of practicality about them that makes them effortlessly cool while featuring a unique spin or interpretation that elevates them above the competition. He’s not so much a sneakerhead or fashion-obsessed — despite owning hundreds of pairs of shoes — as he is someone who locks onto designs and concepts, led and inspired by a constant desire to operate against the grain.
“For me, Air Max represents so many different things, so many walks of life that really inspire me in my own designs and my own work to really look at the world differently, to really see how you can interact with life.”
In this episode of Uproxx’s Studio Visit – created in partnership with Foot Locker — Kyle took us into his home studio in Los Angeles where he broke down how the Air Max and his early experiences at Foot Locker helped to inspire his design ethos. For Kyle, his childhood trips to Foot Locker helped develop his appreciation for design as the shelves were always stocked with the newest, most futuristic shoes, which for Kyle were the Air Max Tuned.
But Foot Locker was more than just a visual candy store for Kyle, it helped inspire his own outlook when it came to creating.
“A place like Foot Locker is a laboratory to build DNA for culture. What people think of streetwear has really changed, back in the day it was really about culture and what people were wearing.”
Before there were ultra-hip sneaker boutiques in every city, with around-the-block lines of people clamoring to cop a specific pair of sneakers, there was Foot Locker, with breadth and depth of product easily accessible to everyone, and that same commitment to democratization and accessibility is at the heart of Kyle’s designs.
“There are so many different avenues and lanes for that shoe to resonate with people of all spectrums, and that’s what I try to do with what I make, not just resonate with signifying a culture, I want to represent everyone.”
To put it simply, Kyle Ng isn’t in the business of making fashion, he’s in the business of making culture, and that’s why his work with Brain Dead continues to resonate. To find out more about Kyle Ng and his design ethos, check out the new episode of Discover Your Air above.