ALF: To tell you the truth up until recently I didn’t spend too much time on them I really just threw them together.. some of the photoshopped ones are a low resolution because I’m at the mercy of the image quality I am able to obtain. I’ve been drawing them lately and it allows me to create my ideas more freely the drawing takes a bit more time but has been more gratifying.
ATA: How do you know when a shirt is ALF approved?
ALF: I mainly draw from subjects that are familiar with or grew up to. I’m very inspired by 80s and 90’s popular culture icons, ones who have stood the test of time …or even some random ones that most people may not be familiar with as a nod to the people who get it …But sometimes a person’s facial expression that “makes” the edit… That’s why it’s been awesome drawing them because I have more creative freedom with the details.
ATA: How do you decide, what situation or trick to put each of your subjects into?
ALF: Its too easy to just crop someones head off of their body and put them on a skateboarder… I like finding images where a person’s body language speaks to me …as a skateboarder I can usually identify several scenarios for an image. I’ve had folders of images that I’ve set aside and I start pairing up variations that I think will work. I usually come up with several variations of each design.
ATA: Do you plan on bringing back (from time to time) any of your past designs for a limited run? (My Bawse Rick Ross shirt is finally starting to wear out)
ALF: Yes, I’ll do limited re-releases from time to time.
ATA: What are your favorite Everybody Skates designs?
ALF: It’s hard to say… #EVERYBODYSKATES’S creative language has consisted of photoshop edits, embroidery art, and hand drawn Illustrations which is all a slightly different execution of my idea but I think some of the most recent had drawn ones are like the “Hearts and Hammers” or the one I did as a parody to Obamas national portrait.
ATA: How difficult was it for you to transition from pro-skater to designer?
ALF: I never had to transition, I’ve been involved in the creative process of most of the brands I rode for since my H_STREET days. I’ve designed everything from ads, apparel, footwear, graphics etc between then and now.
ATA: How long have you been designing shoes?
ALF: I’ve been designing and developing footwear for over 20 years now. I’ve worked with over 20 brands and have created over 100 manufactured shoe styles.
ATA: How did that start?
ALF: I was approached in 1996 by an upstart footwear brand that wanted to give me a signature shoe and allow me to design it. I agreed and during the creative process of designing my shoe I knew it was something I wanted to continue doing after skateboarding.
ATA: What are some of your favorite shoe designs?
ALF: I had an awesome time working with the guys at Gravis and favored a lot of the shoes that came out of that process… I designed Dylan Rieder a loafer that I really liked a lot.
ATA: I understand that you designed the Stevie Williams shoes. I had the Stevie Williams in wheat and was one of my all-time favorites. There was no skate shoe like it. Did the Jordan 12 have any inspiration in that design?
ALF: Yes, Most of Stevie’s shoes at the time were inspired by Jordan’s.
ATA: How did you go about designing that shoe?
ALF: The Design brief for the Stevie shoe I design called for a basketball-inspired design but due to the time restraints on that project, the design would utilize the bottom part of his prior pro model. I drew and presented several ideas and the one that came out was the one selected by the committee.
ATA: Are you still designing shoes?
ALF: Yes, I’m working on several projects for a new client, details are under wraps at the moment.
ATA: What is your opinion on the state of streetwear today?
ALF: I think it’s interesting to see 90’s fashion come back… Its rad to see kids wearing the same clothes I cringe at in old photos of myself.
ATA: What is your opinion on the state of kicks today?
ALF: For me I’ve always appreciated shoes with midsoles especially as I get older …I cant see how some of these guys are doing what they do in vulcanized shoes.