INTERVIEW: JAMES REYNOLDS
Iconic football boot designs painted onto clogs. The work that you can't fail to smile at with nostalgia and admiration, from designer James Reynolds.
There's some amazing creative around football out there right now. From the reactive artistic content you see from the likes of Reuben Dangoor, (you've definitely heard of him) to the painstakingly handcrafted works of Diana Al Shammari, (@thefootballgal). Well for us, James Reynolds is well up there.
Now we know what you're thinking. James' work isn't always looking to challenge politics or how we view fashion. He is however, simply looking to bring a smile to our faces and create art with a trusty Klompen. And sometimes, well... that's all you need.
We loved his hand crafted works so much , we just had to speak to the designer behind the project, simply named 'Custom Klompen'.
adidas Predator Accelerator Klompen
by James Reynolds
CK: So, James – tell us a little bit more about yourself and your work as a creative…
JR: I work in advertising, writing TV ads and posters and things. I work on computers and screens a lot, so it's been good to turn off the laptop and get back to basics with something more physical and tactile. The project I am most proud of, other than Custom Klompen of course, would be Last Suppers, the Death Row last meal requests. It was such a simple project that made people think and feel something. I like work that people can make they own conclusions about, rather than me telling them what to think or feel.
Last Suppers, the Death Row last meal requests
Another campaign I'm quite proud of was Budweiser Open Trials. Essentially it was X Factor for football fans, or players who never quite made it. We've all got a mate who was amazing at school, or had trials at West Ham, or played in the same youth team as a superstar. So this was a chance for amateurs over 25 to se if they've still got what it takes. Starting with regional trials that anyone could attend, we had scouts and former players at each trial to select a number of players to go through to the next round at St George's Park. There they'd be assessed by David Ginola, Ray Parlour, Steve Clarke, Alex McCleish and Owen Coyle, who'd then pick two teams to play at Wembley Stadium. BT Sport picked up on it and made it into a docu-series
Budweiser Open Trials
During the 2018 World Cup, I was working at the BBC and they needed a poster for what happens if England actually won it. Everyone came up with loads of ideas, but after England were knocked out, they went with 23 Lions as a celebration of the whole squad's achievement.
CK: How has the project been received?
JR: There's been a lot more interest in the boots than the trainers. I think there is a real nostalgia and emotional attachment to boots. Everyone remembers their first pair, or a season where they were untouchable (all down to the boots of course), their favourite player and the boots they wore, or their first tournament that made them fall in love with football. For me it was Euro 96, and then France 98. You'd only see these players once every two or four years, and it was almost hypnotic. Shearer and Owen's Umbro Speciali’s stood out for me. Beckham and Zidane made those Predators iconic. And Ronaldo's blue, silver and yellow Nikes were like nothing I had ever seen before.
CK: Do you get many requests?
JR: I have had a few requests, and a few people asking how much they are and if they can buy them. I have never been interested in selling them or looked to make money out of them.
CK: Anyone famous copped a pair?
JR: Despite tagging the relevant footballers in each of the posts, no one has picked up on their individual boot yet. Although Rivaldo's son - Rivaldinho - liked his Dad's Mizuno Wave Cup post. Either he didn't show them to his Dad, or Rivaldo didn't like them.
CK: Do you see this as a never ending project?
JR: There are only so many boots, so I might have to diversify into other sports eventually. I've been thinking about doing a Jordan, the iconic red, white a black basketball ones. But basketball shoes don't really lend themselves to the proportions of a clog. As and when Raheem Sterling's signature Jordan boot is released, I'd love to do that one too.
CK: What's your ambition for the project?
JR: I haven't thought that far ahead I'm afraid. I've always thought it would be funny to do a Nike-style photoshoot with everyone looking very serious, but they're wearing clogs. Much longer term, I'd love to set up a workshop to help people paint their own clogs in their favourite designs.
CK: Lastly and we have to ask this, James…can we work with you on a pair?
JR: Of course. I'm open to suggestions for any boots that you think deserve the clog treatment.
CK: IT. IS. ON!
You can see more of James' work here.
All imagery courtesy of James Reynolds
Words by Cult Kits.