Hender Scheme is a brand that sort of turned from mere lore into a certified legend extremely quick. I remember seeing the original Air Force 1 homages and not thinking that they actually existed. Then, I saw someone wearing them in person and, all of a sudden, just like that, everyone had heard of 'em. So much so, in fact, that our own EIC here at Complex copped a pair that we subsequently reviewed. So, yeah, the veg tan sneaker brand has become well known for turning classic silhouettes into all leather works of art and High Snob got to talk with the brand's founder, Ryo Kashiwazaki, about his work.
Prior to starting the brand, Ryo worked in a factory and repaired shoes, so he doesn't like to call himself a designer, instead preferring the title of "maker," which is a very humble, Japanese thing to say. Since his brand caught the attention of fashion nerds and sneakerheads alike, he's now showing off new collections each season in Paris, something that's rare for a purely sneaker brand. As a result of the increased exposure, Hender Scheme's stockists have catapulted a solid 50%, though it still remains very exclusive and only in about 35 stores, a necessary evil to keep the craft genuine and the goods handmade. Perhaps the most important piece of knowledge we have here is that the larger sneaker brands, like Nike, whose designs Kashiwazaki has adapted for his own line, haven't come down on him in any sort of legal way, so we can plan on seeing see more clever, high-end adaptations in the future, even though the sneakers themselves are just a small portion of Hender Scheme's work, which includes a bunch of other equally covetable and ridiculously expensive leather pieces.