Welcome to the Fresh Pair post-show huddle! After episodes of Fresh Pair, we’ll link up with Katty Customs to talk about the latest episode and dig deep behind the scenes to uncover hidden gems from the design process that didn’t make the main show. On the latest episode, Katty and Just Blaze were joined by the King of the South himself, the Rubberband Man, T.I. and presented him with a fire Air Jordan 3.
Like the sneaker designed for Jadakiss, T.I.’s custom Jordan 3 pays vivid homage to the Atlanta rap icon with details that celebrate the King and Paper Trail albums, two classics that have helped to shape the sound and vibe of trap music. We linked up with Katty herself to talk the concept for her design and which elements ended up on the cutting room floor. Here is hoping somewhere down the line Katty gets to make a T.I. 2!
Let’s pull back the curtain and get the behind-the-scenes details of Katty’s latest fresh design.
What were you thinking with this particular sneaker, what was the initial concept? What did Just bring to the table?
This one was a fun one! We definitely wanted to incorporate the King album. A silhouette of his name, Just came up with that idea, having “King:” written on the back tabs. So he created the back tabs and we also wanted to incorporate the Paper Trail album, because that’s one of his best albums. What’s so cool about Paper Trail is the cover art. We were like, “Yo, it would be dope if we could incorporate that album cover, the actual cover on the shoe, and use some of the colors that are in the album cover.”
And I thought that would make a pretty cool shoe, something that he would also want to wear and put up in a display case.
Why did you guys go with the Jordan 3?
Those are one of his favorites, his go-to shoes.
Did you and Just run into any arguments or butt heads about any creative choices? What was the most challenging part of putting this shoe together?
Of course, it’s not any bumping heads, but of course, we’ll go back and forth over what we thought would be better. But overall, we came up with a great shoe. His ideas were good; my ideas were good. And some of them clashed, so the shoe wouldn’t look right with everything that we wanted to put on the shoe, so we had to decide on which parts look good on the shoe to make it a great shoe… if that makes sense.
What ideas ended up on the cutting room floor?
For the back tabs, we wanted to do a silhouette of the T.I. album cover, where it’s the black silhouette with his hat tilted. But Just was thinking, he’s a grown man, he may not want his face on his shoe. You know what I mean? But in my head, I’m thinking, “Yo, that’d really represent the T.I. King album.” “I think it’ll look good, it’s just a silhouette, it’s not necessarily really a drawing of his face.”
But ultimately, we decided just to use the name King.
What kind of leatherwork or external help went into this design, was there any elements that needed to be outsourced?
Yeah, we had outsourced the Rubber Band Man tags, where it says “the struggle.'” And then we also outsourced the tongue, where it was representing his family. We had those made by Laura Boos out of Boos Leather. She did her thing on those custom tabs. We were so happy to receive them and really that’s what made the shoe pop. That’s what really elevated the shoe, her creativity. It was nice.
The Jadakiss shoe had a lot of little details that kind of linked back to him as a personality, as a rapper. What pieces of T.I.’s career, aside from the King association, did you incorporate into the shoe?
Definitely, the Rubber Band Man tag that was on there. Because he mentioned in the interview that he still uses A rubber band around his money, but the interesting thing is It represents something different today than it did back then, but it’s still relevant. He still uses it, so I thought that was pretty cool.
What was your relationship with T.I.’s music going into the sneaker? Were you a big fan?
Definitely a big fan. His music is timeless. From when he first came out till now, it’s like his sound is always so different. I was excited to work on his shoe and also nervous too — because you never know, you create something for someone, telling their story on a single pair of sneakers. You want to make them happy, you want them to feel like we did a great job, so I’m always nervous about getting their feedback from that.
How’d you feel about his reaction?
I loved his reaction! He seemed happy.
What design element kept you up the latest, hardest element to execute?
The hardest element to execute was definitely using the Paper Trail album cover on the shoes. I’ve never done anything like that before. So, I had to use different methods and different things that I’ve never done to put that on the shoe. So that was a challenge, and it was exciting and fun to actually execute it.
How are we pricing this pair?
In my opinion, realistically, I would go for $3,500.
Nice. So 1k more than Jadakiss then?
What would the T.I. 2 be? What shoe are you using? Is it another Jordan 3?
I definitely want to do another Jordan 3. Using the back tabs with the silhouette of the T.I. King, because we still have those back tabs, so I figure we’ll do something with that, just so he could have the chance to wear those or put them up.