Behind The Collaboration with Alexander-JohnTM

Behind The Collaboration with Alexander-John<sup>TM</sup>

Alexander-John is an Artist, Footwear & Fashion Designer and an expert in Concept Design, Renovation & Rebranding. His love for the arts and instinctive ability to design and execute gives him a unique edge as a creator. Alexander has done Concept Design, Fashion, Art and Footwear Design for some of the world's top Entertainers and Fortune 500 companies. With a nimble business practice, Alexander-John can pivot from creating a custom shoe design to building a concept sneaker boutique without missing a stride.


In 2004, he started hand-painting and engraving sneakers. His work has been worn by the likes of Usher, Chris Brown, Caron Butler, Drew Gooden, and Busta Rhymes. In 2012, he created custom footwear for Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Emory Jones, Google, Microsoft, and Nickelodeon, all in the same year! His designs are highly coveted by the world's top designers and celebrities.

Take a closer look as we share an exclusive interview with Alexander-John.

Q: For those Flyers who don't already know you, please introduce yourself!

A: My name is Alexandra John and I am Creative Director and Lead Designer at Alexander John design. I design and create products for brands. I've been doing this since 2004. (I) Started off customizing sneakers and had the idea of collaborating with brands to make custom shoes that could be sold in their stores/online. So when I first started, I was doing everything in house, but then went from that to actual design and the overall creative lifecycle. I do a lot but everything is based in design, whether it's spaces, art or sneakers or clothing. Alexander John does it.

Q: What's one thing people know about you?

A: Oh, what's one thing people know about me? That's tough. Well, I think people know that I do. I design custom footwear…I've started to think a lot of people know me for that. They know that I've collaborated with Puma quite a bit. So, normally, those are the first things people go to when they say they know something about me. It's like Alexander John, you know, oh, he's a sneaker designer.

P.F. Flyers x Alexander-John™ Baseball is Dead

Q: What's one thing people don't know about you?

A: I think that people don't know that I was actually a chef before I started doing design in this way. I got a certification in culinary arts and worked as a cook for several years. I'm a big foodie.

Q: Tell our Flyers about how our collaboration with you came about. What inspired it, and why is it meaningful to you, specifically?

A: This collaboration came to be because of my connection with FFB Collaboration. They are a marketing agency that I've worked closely with on different collabs with other brands. Their Founder, Curtis, who is a good friend of mine gave me a call and said that he had an opportunity with P.F. Flyers. As someone with a retail background, I was very familiar with the brand and was excited to work with the company. I love heritage brands because they have a story and I felt like I had an authentic connection by knowing the brand and having sold it in the past.

So when I think about the brand, The Sandlot and baseball in general immediately comes to mind. I wanted to tell a story about my baseball card collection that I had growing up, then getting grounded and my stepdad taking them away. I came up with the concept "Baseball is dead" because that is how I felt at the time to cope with my collection being gone. So I use this collab as an opportunity for me to go back and tell a baseball story that I had. And, you know, it's basically meaningful to me because, you know, I never really got to tell the story. Nobody knows that I ever had a collection. And so this is really a true story. Like baseball was dead to me.

Q: Can you share more about what "Baseball is Dead" means to you?

A: Yeah, baseball is dead doesn't mean that it's actually dead. It was just my way of looking at it because I took a big hit. I took a loss. And I needed to imagine it that way so that I wouldn't feel that hurt or feel like, you know, I was depressed for missing my collection.

Q: What was your favorite part about the collaboration? And what do you hope our Flyers will take away from your design and story?

A: My favorite part about the collab is I was able to show the design to the team and it was well received. Collaborations are sometimes harder when your designs go through rounds of edits, but the team really loved my initial design idea. That was my favorite part about this collaboration because that's the hard part. Everybody wants to know, like, getting people to accept your design as is, you know, so I really love the collaboration for that. And what do I want people to take away? I want people to take away that, you know, to me, this is a story that I've had that, you know, I wasn't really able to share. But I think that at any age, you know, you still these things stay with you and you know, just like a heritage brand has a story and it has a connection and connecting points. It's healthy to be able to get the stories out that ensure you know more of your identity and allow people to get to know you more. So I feel like out of all the stories I've told, they are through sneakers, and they are mainly about me or my experiences. This one is more personal because I got to tell the story from my childhood and I think many people should practice reflecting back to their younger selves and who they were at that time.

P.F. Flyers x Alexander-John%u2122 Baseball is Dead

Q: Our personal mantra is: "Run Faster. Jump Higher. Fly Free." What does it mean to you to Fly Free (as it relates to your personal life or professional life or future dreams)?

A: To fly free to me is being able to express myself as a creative. Having my ideas not be interrupted. I think that's what people mean when we say free and freedom. It's really like no strings attached, you know, no restrictions. And as a creative I think I should write the story and be able to tell it. Sometimes you get collaborations and you have to tell their story. But this is my story. So that's a part of my life and creativity. Flying free means my creativity is uninterrupted.

Q: How would you define your personal style?

A: Um, my personal style, I would say I'm a chameleon. I love to be able to wear street wear, camo and you know, jewelry but then I love putting on a tuxedo and I like getting dressed up in suits. I dress to fit the occasion, you know, on a daily basis depending on how I feel. It all plays a part into the colors that I wear that day.

Q: Where do you draw inspiration for your personal style and for your own brand (brands/artists/places you admire)?

A: Um, my personal style inspiration. I think as I said before, it comes from where am I going. What am I trying to say? I believe that clothing is communication. And we are saying something whether we like it or not through our clothing. I want to effectively communicate daily so I may have a meeting where, you know, I'm going to be a creative director so I need to, you know, put on an outfit that will say that to them. And that may be the reason why I make those choices that day. So I'm inspired by where I'm going. What I'm trying to obtain and what I want people to know about me. And that's what shapes you know how I look and what I'm what I'm wearing for the day.

I don't necessarily draw inspiration from brands or people. I would say that I've lived in a lot of places and that's probably why I dress so eclectic and can wear a lot of things. I lived in over 15 states, you know, as a kid, and I absorbed East Coast, Southern and Midwest vibes. So I've got a good collection and a good handle on all of these different looks from just being somebody who grew up all over.

P.F. Flyers x Alexander-John™ Baseball is Dead

Q: Tell us (and the world) about YOU, who you are, and how you're changing the game in your niche/world/domain–or how you want to in the future.

A: At the core of who Alexander John is, I would say I am a maker. I am in the business of thinking creatively and bringing those ideas to life. I'm constantly changing the game by adding what I feel was untapped or something people haven't thought about. And while being innovative I'm hoping to add something that has a use in the future by the next person or the consumer. And so how I'm changing the game is I am somebody who's willing to think through the process of designing and producing it and sharing that with the rest of the world so they can as well. I've been in fashion for a long time, but I've actually been making things you know, since 2004, and progressively learning new technology & equipment. I tend to have the conversation with the next generation that regardless of how talented you are, if you cannot make the things that you think of then you know, you aren't really as useful or seen as someone that people put a lot of value in. I mean, we all need things made, you know, so being a maker I think, is very important. You have to be able to control your dreams.

Q: When or how did you first hear about P.F. Flyers?

A: So I first heard about PF flyers when I was working in retail in Cleveland, Ohio. I was a buyer for a store there. Then in 2007 we actually picked up the brand and started selling it to customers.

Q: What is your favorite P.F. Flyers sneaker (style/color)?

A: The All-American in suede!

Q: Is there anything we didn't ask that you'd like us to know or share with our Flyers?

A: No, I think we covered everything.

Q: Where can we follow you on social and stay connected?

A: @alexanderjohndesign on Instagram

P.F. Flyers x Alexander-John™ Baseball is Dead
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