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Re-working and updating the site. For now contact me this way: contact@emmanuelabor.com

Also, I can be found on Twitter/Instagram : @emmanuelabor
Tumblr as well: laborpanes

Thanks

10/2012

Cement Lions

“…I’m way harder than the concrete; I say what my mind speaks…”

I can’t front. I’m not a fan of the Lebron 9. It just doesn’t work for me. But I have to admit, they’re dope for customizing! The paneling really lends itself to some creative options. This is just the first of many custom 9’s on deck.

For this pair, I used the black cement III’s as my point of reference. An all-black upper surrounds panels with the infamous cement/elephant pattern and red swooshes. The tongue is grey carbon fiber with a red liner. To play to the Jordan III theme even more, I added red eyelets.

Aquamamba

To some, crossing a Kobe shoe with a Jordan color way is blasphemous. To me, it’s not that serious.
In this instance, I applied the air Jordan “Aqua” VIII theme to a pair of Kobe VI ID’s. Sitting on top of a clear outsole, is a black snake scale upper with purple and teal accents. To top it all off, AQUA is embroidered on the tongues.

tale of the tapes

“where my killa tape at…?”

I’m an old head. In this day and age of mp3’s and cd’s, I actually kinda miss cassette tapes. I mean they’re inconvenient if you wanna hear a particular song, but as far as a tangible music source, I dig em.
A few years back, one of my first reconstructed sneakers was the “Purple Tape AF1”, based on Raekwons Only Built 4 Cuban Linx cassette tape. Aside from being a certifiable classic, I always thought it was dope that the tape was purple, and I wanted to pay homage.

Thing is, the craftsmanship wasn’t the best. The concept was there, but I needed more practice.  Fast Forward to 2011, I was asked to recreate them, and a pair based on Nas’ Illmatic cassette as well. With my reconstruction skills up to snuff, I was ready for the task.
Both pair feature lined paper graphics with song lyrics from each respective tape. On top of that, there’s actual cassette tape strewn across for added realism. “…one love keep it real yo…” The mid panels are transparent images of the actual tapes and are topped with transparent swooshes to boot.




bringing sand to the beach

When Nike developed a series of LA-centric Kobe VI’s (3D’s, Orange County/Sunsets, East La)

in relation to the NBA all-star game being in LA, I decided I wanted to make a few of my own LA themed Kobe’s, since I’d be in LA for the festivities.
The 1st pair I did was based on the LA smog…you can see those here:

http://www.emmanuelabor.com/?p=202

Once I saw the “Glass Blue” VI’s,

I felt they’d be a perfect base shoe for my next concept…Venice Beach!

Ever since I saw the movie White Men Can’t Jump, I’ve wanted to play at Venice Beach. The idea of hooping right off the ocean was so dope to me, so Venice has always held a special place in my heart.

But Nike threw me a curve ball and didn’t release the Glass Blues in time for my LA trip. I was still determined to make this shoe a reality, so when I hit LA, I visited Venice, and was able to bring back some sand with me. I held onto it till I was able to get my hands on the base shoes…

This is also my “response” to the Lebron 8 “South Beach” shoes,

but in keeping with my need for “realism” or authenticity in my work (see Magneto AF1 with magnetic swoosh, tennis ball customs made of felt, Hardwood Classics with genuine basketball rubber, etc), I wanted to go further than a colorway and actually incorporate sand…and sand from Venice Beach no less. These shoes feature sand colored paint work, with sand on each individual scale. The glass blue midsole, and glitter filled outsole, perfectly represent the Pacific Ocean. To finish them off, I dyed the tongues and liner black and painted the swooshes black as well.

Letter to the Better

Destroy to Create.  That’s the tagline Nike came up with for their Destroyer Jacket line.  It’s a phrase that is so fitting for what I do…break a shoe down (destroy) to make a completely new shoe (create).

I was contacted to come up with a UCONN inspired shoe on a Lebron 8 base. At the time, the Destroyer Jackets were getting a lot of pub and I’ve always been a fan of lettermen jackets. The contrast of the wool body with the leather sleeves, and the chenille patches appeal to me, and I decided to apply this to a pair of shoes.

I came with the dark navy melton wool and dark navy kid leather. The base shoes already had a bright red tongue which fit perfectly within the UCONN color scheme.  A white chenille swoosh made the shoe complete.

To go the extra mile, I made the box resemble a lettermen jacket as well.  Wrapped in the same melton wool, red snaps and chenille letters, the box compliments the shoes, and makes what I feel is a pretty awesome package lol

Check the video to see some of the construction process

all of the lights

“turn up the lights in here baby

extra bright, I want yall to see this

turn up the lights in here baby

you know what I need

want you to see everything

want you to see all of the lights”-Kanye West

So besides the original Star Wars trilogy, TRON might be one of my favorite movies.  The actual story/plot was whatever, but the imagery turned a young me out! I still remember seeing Jeff Bridges in that light up digi-suit whippin a light cycle. Easily the coolest thing ever.

Ever since then, I’ve been a sucker for things that light up. Watches, hats, shoes….whatever. Back in the day when LA Gear had the light up shoes, I was DYING for a pair. I never got any, but I always wanted some. When I got into customizing, in my 20′s, the idea of light up shoes was still appealing to me and I had to make it happen.

The 1st attempt was with the Iron Man/War Machine dunks that can be seen in my gallery. I was happy with the result, but not satisfied. Next was my Darth Vader Blazers(also in the gallery). I lit up the swoosh on those. Pretty cool, but still wasnt exactly what I had in mind. I wanted the sole to light up. As a freshman in high school, some senior had a car that had lights in the under carriage and the car looked like it was floating on a bed of light. I wanted that same effect with a pair of shoes.

My original idea was gonna be a pair of high top air force 1′s. The idea was mediocre at best, and I ran into a ton of obstacles. I ended up deading the idea of doing the project all together.

A few weeks ago, I decided to revisit the idea, since I try not to be a quitter. I changed the base shoe to Blazers, and I changed the look of the shoe in general. I based the look off a T-shirt I saw that mimmicked Sam Flynns costume.

Other people have done TRON shoes. Adidas did some years ago. Vans made some for the Legacy movie. A few customizers have even done pairs. None of those lit up though, and to me, if you’re gonna do a TRON shoe, it needs to light up! For the new Legacy movie, Adidas did a few more pairs, this time they lit up, but they really didnt “say” TRON (in my opinion). They were basically Adidas with lit up stripes.

I wasn’t going to have the entire shoe light up, but I still wanted a lit effect. I created detailing that was reflective and mimmicked a lit look when light hit it a certain way. The bulk of the shoe was done in black ballistic mesh. The toe and lace stays were done in black ripstop. I added that to play on the idea of a grid that is present in the movie, since ripstop material has a grid-like texture.

The final touch was lighting up the sole. Its what makes these shoes TRON shoes. Even at my advanced age, I get giddy when I think about hitting the switch on these shoes as I walk in the dark….

“..more than meets the eye…”

Transformers.
I LOVE Transformers. Not these newjack Transformers that look like twisted metal either. I’m talkin OG, 1980′s Transformers, when Megatron was a gun, and Bumble Bee was a VW Beetle.


Back in 2006, SoleCollector held an event at Niketown Seattle that I participated in. I brought a ton of shoes, and one of the pairs, was a lime green and purple pair of air force 1″s with a Decepticon logo on the heels. They were based on Devastator, a robot that was formed when the group of Decepticons called the Constructicons joined together.

As a kid, I’d always wanted the set, but moms wasnt really tryin to break bread on the group, and I only got one of the Constructicons.
Fastforward to 2011. I was going through pics of some of my old work and ran across a picture of the AF1′s and felt I wanted to give that theme another go. I wanted to work on somethin other than Forces or Dunks, and happened upon a pair of eggplant Penny 3′s. Perfect! When the paint dried, something was still missing. The shoes just looked like lime and purple shoes. I posted a pic on Facebook and some people thought they were Joker customs, which wasn’t what I had in mind. I decided to swap out the Penny logo for a Decepticon logo. I used a color-shifting material to harken back to when Transformers toys came with rubsign decals that let you know if a toy was an Autobot or Decepticon.

Add some purple laces and my vision was complete!

For Medicinal Purposes Only

I guess you COULD say I’m a poser.  I mean who makes a 4/20 shoe, but doesn’t even smoke?  Me, that’s who.  Although, to be honest, these shoes are less about the cannabis, and more about the container it comes in when bought legally. That little amber bottle.

The green suede liner with sparse purple stitching, reference the bottles contents, while the upper itself is done up entirely in a transparent orange vinyl. The white patent leather heel tab represents the bottles cap, and the purple sole reveals the strain of choice.

This shoe almost didn’t get made. There were at least 420 setbacks; flu like symptoms, material inflexibility, the midsole being the wrong shade of orange, and a slew of technical difficulties;  but with rumors of the “Cheech and Chong” dunk being cancelled, I felt the need to rep for my friends that do use….for medicinal purposes only of course.

Monster Mash

I took the Lebron 8′s and combined them with one of my favorite shoes, the “Monster” Air Max 95′s.  I’ll let the video tell you the story.  Heres a few pics though

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