If you don’t know who Jeff Staple is by now, I hope you will do some research. Jeff’s pigeon theme, which is an ode to New York City, has adorned some of the most well regarded sneaker releases (Pigeon Dunks anyone?) and continues to be the common thread in his clothing and accessories line. As the Founder and Creative Director of Staple Design, Jeff applies his creative skills to corporate clients’ branding needs. His Staple Pigeon brand continues to produce well curated creations and collaborations. The Puma Suede he produced last year was near the top of my favorite pickups for 2016. I was lucky to connect with Jeff for these five questions and I’m thankful for his time and careful and well considered responses.
1. We all have that one moment or pair that was an “aha!” moment in sneakers. What was yours and how would you describe it?
Air Jordan 3.
I was in the 6th grade.
That shoe just didn’t look like other shoes before it.
I vividly remember walking into social studies class a little bit late. Everyone was in the class already. When I walked in with them on my feet, everyone looked at me. And then looked at my feet. Including the teacher. Ever since then, I’ve been hooked.
2. If you had to choose only one sneaker to have- currently in your collection or not – what would it be and why?
Nike Pigeon Dunk.
Cuz it meant so much to the culture. And I’d always want to have that piece of history that I was fortunate enough to be a part of.
3. Who or what is your biggest and best design inspiration?
Hiroshi Fujiwara of Fragment.
I’m honored he calls me a friend. (Maybe even a best friend.)
We navigate this industry very different from each other. But I learn so much from him about how to live life—and treat other people. This then filters into my design work and my business decisions. No one can replicate the amount of incredible work Fragment has been able to output, but I’m trying. Haha!
4. Hypebeasts. Resellers. Sponsored posts. Influencers. Doing it for the Gram. What is your take on the current state of sneakers and social media?
It’s a zoo. But with all the complaints you mentioned, what it IS doing is bringing more people (and more customers) into the fold. And what this means is that sneaker companies (and also ALL lifestyle brands) see a bigger opportunity. Which means they allocate more funding, more talent, more opportunities—which is good for all off us. Even the OGs.
5. In 30 years, people in the sneaker world will look back and say Jeff Staple was….?
Damn…I don’t even know. To be honest, it’s incredible that people still talk about the Pigeon collabs in the manner they do. I only set out to make a great design. I never set out to make something immortal. But it looks like the Pigeon is heading that way. So if people are still discussing things that I have made 3 decades from now, I honestly don’t care what they will say. I’d just be happy my name is still being mentioned.