Sole Collector Los Angeles Event | Held July 7th, 2007
words & images // Nick DePaula
I'd love to say Retrokid, Steve or I had a direct hand in the theme and design of the Sole Collector Zoom LeBron Soldier I.
The truth is -- we don't always work entirely ahead of schedule.
We first approached the Nike Basketball team with the idea for a collaboration shoe less than three months before we planned to host hundreds in Los Angeles on 7.7.7. Three months.
As you can guess, that's not quite an ideal amount of time to put together a hyperstrike, let alone develop a shoe with premium materials, graphics and new textures. They said they were down for the idea, but timing would of course be a huge issue. "No guarantees," we were told, and we left the meeting with several backup plans already cooking. As far as we knew, it wasn't going to happen.
Roughly five weeks later, Steve and I happened to be on campus for a brainstorming meeting to discuss the several pairs of the Zoom LeBron IV PEs that we did release at the event, when Design Director at-the-time Ken Link and ace Developer Aaron Petrella stormed into the room.
I've never seen a smirk on Kenzo's face quite like that day.
"Got something for you guys," he said, somehow keeping the smirk the entire time.
His right hand came forward from behind his back, as he unveiled a black leather, lasered camouflage and red accented sample of the Zoom Soldier I. Our eyes immediately went to the strap.
There it was, perfectly placed: "SOLE"
Steve naturally shouted the only thing that could come to mind.
Knowingly proud smirk, again, all over Kenzo's face. The theme was intuitive enough, truly representative of a "soldier's" uniform, and there wasn't a single thing to change. The color placement, lasering, panels and accenting worked perfectly.
While it was one of the most awesome meeting surprises in the history of Sole Collector, things weren't exactly nailed down that day. Again, timing was a huge issue.
We were hoping for 150 pairs, and it was looking like 72 was realistic for the event.
With 7.7.7 just another five or so weeks away, we knew getting the shoes manufactured in Asia and off to LA would be a crunch, but we also weren't expecting anything close to what would go down on that Saturday.
Noon was the planned launch time for the event, and sure enough, the Fed-Ex delivery of 72 pairs of the Sole Collector x Zoom LeBron Soldier I showed up that morning at 10:30 am.
Timing and quite a bit of luck just so happened to be on our side, and we proudly launched the first shoe to feature our entire 'SOLE' bar logo.