What was it like designing Carmelo Anthony's first signature sneaker? You'd have to ask D'Wayne Edwards, former design director at Jordan Brand, who created the first five Melo shoes and taught Carmelo the ins and outs of the sneaker business. And D'Wayne is still teaching people. Although he's not officially with the Jordan Brand anymore, D'Wayne is still educating. In 2011, he transitioned away from sneaker design to found the Pensole Footwear Design Academy in Portland, Ore.
With the Melo 1.5 celebrating its 10-year anniversary getting a retro for the first time (dropping tomorrow), it was the perfect time to talk with D'Wayne about designing the sneaker. The designer reminisces about working with a Carmelo Anthony, who was a rookie to the NBA and having a signature sneaker, and the future of Pensole.
Interview by Larry Gallagher (@Writing_Rambler)
The Jordan Melo 1.5 is hitting stores again. How does that feel to have a shoe you designed be retro’d?
It’s actually funny, I was up at Jordan Brand a few months ago when I found out. I was over there visiting some of the old designers and they were like, “You know they’re bringing back the [Melo]1?” I didn’t even know it had been 10 years. I didn’t even think about it like that. I didn’t even know they had plans on bringing it back or celebrating a 10-year anniversary.
Now that your’re an alumni of the Nike design team, what’s your relationship like with the Jordan Brand?
Jordan Brand emailed me a few months before because they were doing a history of the Jordan line. They were doing the display and needed some info. They actually didn’t have samples that they needed and I had them. I was there dropping off a lot of Melo’s game shoes because they didn’t have them in archives. It’s just cool man. I never really thought about it. There’s little bit of a flashback to when I used to design for Melo, where I would watch games differently. Back then, I was just watching him, I wasn’t even looking at the other nine guys on the court. It was kind of cool to just flashback a bit and watch him play in the shoes.
As a designer, I could imagine you would have to watch every game differently, watching his moves, style of play, etc. as opposed to just enjoying the game?
Yeah you just have to watch the games differently. ‘Cause back then I was just really trying to understand who he was as a ball player. How he moved, what his needs were and that type of thing so it was interesting. I don’t watch games like that anymore. So now I’m just watching it, actually enjoying the whole game.
It was kind of cool to just flashback a bit and watch him play in the shoes again
So thinking back to when Melo first came into the league as a rookie, what was it like designing for him?
He was always a triple threat guy, but it seems like he uses that a lot more to his advantage. I remember talking to him about how back in the early Denver days, George Karl talked to him about doing 10-10-10. He wanted him to shoot 10 jumpers, 10 free throws, 10 layups so if he could focus on doing that every game then he would have a pretty solid game. The free throw part means he was being more aggressive. He still moves that same way, but I can tell that his game is a lot more mature. He controls the defense a lot more now than he did back then. He is using the defender to his advantage. He’s attacking the defender and being smarter about his game, because he was still raw and new to the process. He was new to the NBA game but he was still legit back then.