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FlipitSF x Imaginary Zebra—Design Process

At Imaginary Zebra, we work with passionate people to produce passionate products, and that’s the exact reason why we initiated this project.

The Beginning
20139894 I met Brandon, the man behind Flipitsf, long before this collaboration. It was back in 2010 when I first knew about the intricate 3D keychains, but it wasn’t until early 2013 when I meet the man behind it all for the first time at DunkXChange, one of the highly sought after sneaker events.

His setup was seemingly modest, banner, glass case, hats, and some sneakers. But it wasn’t until up close that you see the authenticity of his collection— Original 1985 Jordan I’s, white. It’s those who understand the game that would appreciate these sneakers and not as a pair of “almost-30-year-old shoes”. Clearly, he’s a sneakerhead, an avid fanatic, if not with an addictive obsession, over sneakers. And beyond as a collector, he’s passionate about the culture.

I, on the other hand, am a design-nut, where I strive to craft and create detail oriented and (hopefully) beautiful graphics/products that not only satisfy those who would receive them, but myself during the design process. Seeing how deeply engulf Brandon is in the sneaker culture, I approached him with an idea of making something awesome that we can both enjoy very much during the process as well as having the opportunity to contribute both of our expertise. He was down for it, and that came the birth of this collaboration.


The Candidates
Over the course of weeks, We discussed over the details over emails, then we sat & met in downtown SF to refine them.

First, we had to choose our candidates. We’ve talked over many, whom I shall not disclose for they might just pop in the future, and decided on three most iconic figures that marks the milestones of sneakers and pop-culture alike—Jumpman, Yeezy, and, of course, McFly.

Then, it’s about the design, packaging, and overall aesthetics.

Step 1.) I create these characters using all the detail images I can find online and references from peers, who are into it.
“The Air Jordan 1 was released in 1985 kicking off not only the greatest legacy in sneakers, but also the greatest legacy in basketball history. The first round, third overall pick, Michael Jordan, was selected by the Chicago Bulls in the 1984 NBA Draft. Before landing in the NBA, Michael Jordan had a resume that no other player could touch. Jordan excelled in college basketball at North Carolina and helped lead Team USA to a gold medal in the 1984 Olympic Games. Wearing the Air Jordan 1, Michael Jordan soared in his rookie year. Jordan earned a spot on the All-Star team, finished third in scoring (28.2 ppg), brought the Bulls back to the playoffs, and not surprisingly was Rookie of the Year. Nike, a brand having troubles breaking into the basketball market, saw the potential in Michael Jordan as a player as well as a marketing icon and was immediately signed.”

“The Nike Air Yeezy is an official sneaker collaboration project between shoemaker Nike and American rapper Kanye West. Notable as the shoe brand’s first non-athlete full collaboration, two editions have been released as of 2013. The “Air Yeezy II” in 2012.

Amid wide anticipation, the shoe was released with 500 of each color way on June 9, 2012. While sold for a retail price of $250, the shoe gained notoriety for its wildly inflated resale value (with one online auction selling the shoe for a reported $90,000) the shoes have settled and a general resell value of $2,750.00. The Air Yeezy II featured two premier color ways Solar Red, and Pure Platinum.”

zeeb_character_designprocess-23“Nike auctioned 1500 pairs of this shoe on eBay with all net proceeds going directly to the Michael J. Fox Foundation. The Nike Air Mag has been anticipated for the longest as it first showed its face in the 1989 2015 released film Back to the Future.

Back to the Future, the first in a trilogy of films, was a box office success. In 1989, Nike Inc. designer Tinker Hatfield was asked to create a shoe for the second installment of the series. The shoes feature an electroluminescent out-sole, space age materials, and a rechargeable internal battery good for 3,000 hours. Nike has gone on record saying Mag is not meant for heavy activity and should not be worn for recreational purposes. Over 15 years later, an online petition that asked for the return of the shoes caught the attention of Tinker Hatfield. With the help of footwear innovator Tiffany Beers, they began to build the Nike MAG from scratch. They worked on the shoes for approximately six years and had to restart about three times. After thousands of hours of work, the shoes were a perfect replica of the 2015 Nike MAG worn by Marty McFly. They are the first rechargeable pair of footwear by Nike. Power laces, a prominent feature of the shoe in the film, are not present.

The price of the shoes increased as the demand increased. They started off at $10,000 and reached prices of $90,002 or greater.”


The Aesthetics
Next, we’d come up with a vision for aesthetics. On not just the packaging of this project, but how it should be perceived throughout the platforms (web, social media, posters, if any). Once we got it down, we execute. Like a boss.

Photographs, content within the picture, placements, lighting, and background were all part of the equations. Brandon & I listed out a series of items that would reflect the significance of the shoes, and the essence of wearer and the corresponding  era. It was quite fun setting these up.
Brandon came up with the actual shoes—1985 Jordan Is and the Nike Mag (dyam).

Jon (@JaeOhEn) came by with the Yeezy II. Yeezy_2

Brandon was Marty for Halloween once, so he’s got all his gear lock down. Including the hoverboard. Marty_1 zeeb_character_app-7 zeeb_character_app-8


The Content
Finally, it’s about the content within the package and the packaging of it all.

Each package includes a personal signed, numbered, and embossed card titled to the receiver, a limited edition 5×7 inch print hand numbered, housed in a matte black frame, and complemented with a respective keychain. All packaged by hand from our studio.

zeeb_character_designprocess-8 zeeb_character_designprocess-9 zeeb_character_designprocess-10 zeeb_character_designprocess-5 zeeb_character_designprocess-12
From us to you. Available 10/24/13 8PM PST.
We came a long way for this project.
Both of us spent a tremendous amount of effort to make sure we love what we offer, and I hope you do too.

Jumpman. Edition of 100.
Yeezy. Edition of 50.
McFly. Edition of 50.

First come, first served.
Exclusively through our online shop.

’til next time,

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