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Sneaker collabs have been killing it in 2013 and the Reebok Question has been the canvas for more than a few of the hottest cook-ups. Diamond Bar, California's BAIT is only a year old, but they linked up with the iconic brand to put their spin on one of Reebok's all-time classic sneakers—and the outcome is pretty ill. We had the chance to get some background from BAIT's CEO, Eric Cheng, about the inspiration behind the collab and how you can grab a pair in a few weeks.
How did the collaboration with the brand and such an iconic sneaker happen?
Initially we were working on a design for the Reebok AXT pump—we found out that the Question Mid was available for the project, so of course we hopped right on it.
What inspired the design?
We wanted to see a Question that hasn't been done before. It's not an original idea, but we thought it'd be great to see a snakeskin Question. At the time, there wasn't one and we were just looking to design and fill that void.
We also had our conceptual narrative that would tie into our previous project; the Saucony Shadow 6000 Blue Apple. That shoe we designed is the forbidden fruit, while these are the instigating serpent.
Tell us about the process from initial ideas to the final outcome.
Ideas come in many ways, but for the Question Mid, it came naturally and almost instantaneous. Part of it was due to the fact that we were already having several different concepts for the AXTs. Snakeskin can't necessarily be placed on any shoe and have the expectation to look right, but for the Question Mid, we had no doubt it would fit.
Once the concept was solidified, we dove into several mockups of material/color blockings. From there we narrowed it down to that one design and refined all the details through sampling.
A lot of designers love an idea on paper and then when they see it on the shoe it doesn’t exactly work. Were there any speed bumps in the process?
Definitely. Having a design on paper is very different from having it in your hands. This has to do with the ability to visualize the idea as accurate as possible—and it's just one of the challenges. There are other factors like impracticalities, miscommunications, or if the right materials can be sourced for the idea. The sampling process and everything in it, is what will refine that glorified idea and grind it down to a reality.
What were the first impressions after receiving the samples?
"It can be better." We only had two shots [sample rounds] at the design, and we wanted to make them count.
What were the first impressions after receiving the final version?
We are proud of the final version. We had a few other ideas/details that were not fully executed, which would have made the design better, but at the end of the day, we are grateful to have the privilege to work on such an iconic shoe.
When will these be available in the streets?
They will be released on August 10 at our flagship store and at a BAIT Iverson Tribute Pop-up shop in Los Angeles. Limited pairs will be released online at BAITme.com the day after. They will be going for $180 with a complimentary BAIT snake tee.
We also had the privilege to work with Coolrain on 2 versions of an Iverson collectible, the "Bubba Chuck", that features BAIT gear and the BAIT Questions. We released Coolrain's signature "Trigonal" version last week at San Diego Comic Con. The original edition will be released in conjunction with the Questions. There are only 10 units for each version, which are all handmade and signed by Coolrain. We are very excited for the release.
Can we expect other collaborations with elite shoes like The Question in the future?
Yes. We are looking forward to a handful. We'll keep everyone posted.