James Goldcrown has long been championing a message of positivity and now he’s bringing that message to the footwear market through a collaboration with Skechers.
The muralist, artist and photographer has repurposed some of his signature Love Wall heart designs for a line of shoes for the brand that will launch Monday, in advance of Valentine’s Day.
The initial Skechers x JGoldcrown collaboration will include Uno and ’90s retro Roadies sneakers, Bobs from Skechers canvas slip-ons and sandals for women and girls. The range will be expanded to include performance, sport and Foamies product along with apparel in the spring and fall.
The West London-born Goldcrown said he met Skechers’ Jeremy Saul, head of strategic partnerships, at an event prior to the pandemic and they immediately hit it off. “We were both London boys supporting awful football clubs,” Goldcrown said.
They started discussing the idea of a collaboration and Goldcrown visited Skechers’ Southern California offices to meet the team and work with the shoe designers to bring his artwork to life.
“They understood where I wanted to go with the design,” he said, adding that the result was a “large-scale project” that will include some 30 styles. “They’re based on different murals I’ve done around the world — some are louder than others.”
Goldcrown said he feels blessed that the partnership came about when it did. “It kept me busy throughout the pandemic,” he said. “I’m very grateful.”
And the timing couldn’t be better. Goldcrown’s message of hope and love is one that is needed in this stressful time. “Something as simple as a heart can really touch people,” he said. “So hopefully we’ll spread some love.”
He said the world is often challenged by various disasters and “my work helps identify the healing process.”
Goldcrown didn’t start out as an artist but as a photographer. After leaving school at age 16, he worked as an assistant for British photographer Rankin, the founder of Dazed and Confused magazine. That afforded him access to fashion shows and designers, and he continued to work for the magazine when he decided to move to New York City.
He also found fame by filming the documentary “To Die No More” in Africa about the AIDS/HIV epidemic.
However, he quickly learned that photographers were “paid peanuts and worked the hardest,” he said, admitting, “I fell out of love with fashion.”
So he started selling his artwork on the street and tourists scooped it up. But his true calling emerged in 2015 when a Love Wall mural he created at Art Basel in Miami went viral.
Ironically, this success led to Goldcrown working with a number of brands in the fashion and beauty space, including Giorgio Armani, Rag & Bone, Sephora, Tom’s and others. He said he was ignored or turned down constantly when he cold-called brands asking if they needed a photographer, “and now, 20 years later, they’re knocking on my door. I have a love-hate relationship with fashion, but it pays my bills.”
In addition to Skechers, he said he’s talking to Stuart Weitzman about a potential project as well as some “baby brands in London.” But for now, his focus is on the Skechers collaboration.
“James Goldcrown’s message of love and positivity is exactly what the world needs right now, and bringing his uplifting designs to our brand is something that we know Skechers fans everywhere will appreciate,” said Michael Greenberg, president of Skechers. “We’re excited to feature these iconic prints on styles from several of our divisions, including our Bobs from Skechers charity collection that has always spread the message of love by helping kids and shelter pets.”
Saul agreed, adding: “A collaboration with James Goldcrown and his message of spreading love couldn’t have come at a better time. The Skechers x JGoldcrown collection builds on Skechers’ success in developing collaborations with brands, artists, influencers and celebrities that drive an emotional connection with existing and new customers. With our attention to product and world-class marketing, we’re always looking to create buzzworthy footwear and apparel lines that push boundaries in unexpected ways.”
Each pair will sell for $85 or below. The line will be available on Skechers’ e-commerce site initially and in its stores on Feb. 4. It will roll out to select international stores on Valentine’s Day.