Photography by Durty Harry
When OG streetwear label Lemar & Dauley first relaunched last year, many were pleased to see the brand make such a strong return to the world of apparel. But one burning question remained. When was L&D going to release some sneakers? Highly coveted collaborations with brands like adidas and DC Shoe Co can be found in the brand’s storied archive.
Recently, Lemar & Dauley teamed up with FILA in order to present the “Mojito Cage.” The kicks seamlessly blend the aesthetic of both companies, perfect for the fast-approaching summer months. Drawing inspiration from the season, L&D decked “The Cage” out in a buttery smooth mint pigskin suede upper, with floral detailing found on the shoe’s interior. Although you might have thrown shade at FILA in the past, you’re going to want a pair of these kicks.
Mass Appeal had the chance to chat with L&D co-founder Kareem Blair to get the full scoop on the Lemar & Dauley x Fila “Mojito Cage” ahead of its Friday drop.
Mass Appeal: You’ve worked with other brands in the past on sneaker collaborations. What made you choose FILA for your first shoe since relaunching?
Kareem Blair: We were presented with the opportunity to collaborate and at first weren’t quite sure what we would do with them. Initially we met up to discuss apparel. We thought of doing something that was very nostalgic in the realm of tennis, like the iconic headbands and wristbands.
But when we met up and sat down with them, they showed us a few sneakers. They wanted to do something fresh and completely new with us and we were game for that. They showed us two models, a low-top and a high-top. The high-top was perfect. We felt that for the first time collaborating it would be best to merge where we had common ground, which is the sport of basketball.
MA: What was the significance of choosing “The Cage” model?
KB: “The Cage” is a classic FILA shoe from the ‘90s. It was one of their premier streetball signature shoes. It was definitely one of their sneakers that was seen around the NBA at the time. When we saw it we thought it was perfect for how people immediately recognize Lemar & Dauley.
MA: Can you speak a bit about the shoe’s design and structure?
KB: When we chose “The Cage,” it was a matter of figuring out how to give the silhouette an elevated L&D rendition. We wanted to create something that sneakerheads would covet, but not necessarily a sneaker that looks like it was designed for sneakerheads.
The first material we used was pigskin suede. It’s super soft and allows you to see all the different tones. There’s neoprene used for the heel panel, around the ankle support and on the tongue. One of my favorite things about it is the interior lining, which shows our needle-point floral on the sockliner, insole and back of the tongue. The lining has a nice fuzzy texture to it. We were trying to give it the same feel as the exterior. Real plush.
As for the colorway, we had to figure out what color we would like a year in advance of the release. One of the colors I’ve been into for years has been this shade of Ocean Green/Seafoam Blue. The colorway plays on the Montauk-esque summer vibe we’re going for, while also playing on the color of ocean waves, along with seasonal drinks like mojitos and the mint leaves that garnish them.
MA: Who did you have in mind when designing the sneakers?
KB: Just about anyone can throw them on. I think the shoe allows each person to interpret it how they want it. In all honesty I wouldn’t spend too much time on the court in them. That being said, they look good if you do choose to play ball in them. You’ll stand out when going up for a layup. (Laughs.)
MA: What are some of your favorite personalized details on the shoe?
KB: Besides the shoe itself, I’d have to say the packaging. We combined both companies’ patterns on the box. Because it’s called “The Cage,” the box is wrapped in a chain fence pattern. But when you slide it up, the entire base of the box is in our floral pattern. The box also has a convenient plastic handle so you don’t need a shopping bag to carry it.
MA: Do you have anything else releasing to coincide with the kicks?
KB: A limited reversible mesh jersey will release along with the sneakers. One side has the needle-point floral with our script logo on it. The other side is a clean navy blue with the mint-color FILA logo branded on the chest.
Lemar & Dauley also made a bunch of items this season that match up perfectly with the kicks that are solely ours.
MA: How long before we can expect another shoe collaboration from Lemar & Dauley?
KB: We definitely have a handful of shoes with a huge sportswear brand ready for 2015. Apparel-wise, we’ll be doing some stuff with Mitchell & Ness soon. And then of course our Fall 2014 collection will be releasing in late July.
Yo! Adrian encourages you to shout his name like Rocky.