Jason Derulo knows a thing or two about sneakers. He sings in them, dances in them — and now he’s designing them, too.
For spring ’17, the 27-year-old star will continue his partnership with men’s footwear brand LVL XIII, for which he is a brand ambassador and investor. The new collection of made-in-Italy shoes includes a major sneaker focus, including bold styles such as ponyhair, patent and metallic high-tops.
During a recent photo shoot in New York, Derulo put his fashion side on full display and chatted with FN about his latest shoe project.
How did the partnership with LVL XIII begin?
JD: The founder, Antonio Brown, sent me a pair of shoes through a stylist I was working with. He sent them to me for a performance on “Good Morning America.” I wore the shoes, and apparently destroyed them, but I started looking at the shoes and became obsessed with his work. So I invited him to my place in L.A., and we hit it off.
How involved are you in the design process?
JD: It went as deep as going to rooms around my house and checking out the décor, and figuring out things I’m drawn to. We looked at fabrics and colors, and brought that into the brand. I’m not the guy who will put my face on something I’m not fully invested in. If I’m not a fan of every single thing we’re putting out, it can’t be a representation of me. This brand is my baby. I’ve been there every step of the way.
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Which styles are you most excited about from the line?
JD: I’m excited about the gold sneaker. We got the concept from my shower — my shower is gold! The shoe is almost like jewelry for a special occasion. I’m also excited about the more simple styles. We have a mid-top that will probably be one of the best-sellers. It’s a little more everyday, and not so in-your-face.
What makes a good sneaker design?
JD: To me, it’s something that complements your personality; it finishes an outfit. Men’s clothing is pretty basic, but shoes are the biggest accent. The shoe is an explanation of who we are. Whether it’s going to a dinner date or a huge party, I feel like LVL XIII can dress up any outfit.
Will the collection incorporate or ignore trends?
JD: It’s important to do both. You want to know what’s going on and what people are into. It’s a combination of pulling from a trend, and also pushing forward and doing something totally different — just like with my music. When the song “Talk Dirty” came out, people were like, “What is this?” It’s important to always shock.
How did you develop your eye for fashion?
JD: Part of being a musician is being a fashion icon. Finding the right stylist was very hard, and I went through so many people and personalities. It forced me to learn about fashion myself. I started checking out designs from America, Japan, Europe, immersing myself from the knowledge standpoint of fashion as opposed to just the surface.