interview with Seth Brau of Five Three Footwear

All shoes are hand designed by Seth Brau.  The process begins with
an all white Vans shoe in either a slipon, authentic (low-top w/laces),
or chukka (mid-top w/laces).  Using fabric markers Seth creates an
original design that covers the entire shoe.  Every pair is completely
one of a kind, and no pair is ever repeated, ensuring 100% uniqueness. 
All of the work is done by hand and by Seth alone.  Each shoe is
individually signed, heat set, and then sprayed with a waterproofing
solution to seal in the color and prevent fading.  Shoes are available
by custom order only, online and at Conveyor in Fred Segal.

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What's the inspiration on the patterns on your work?

The inspiration for my work comes from a number of things. I'm a
skateboarder from Cali but New York is my home so I get inspiration
from the whole bicoastal thing, like palm trees and waves to highrises
and streets. I like to think of it as sort of a funky retro flavor,
embodying that whole old school skateboarding and surfing culture from
the 70's right into the 80's. Then there's also music, I'm always bumpin
tunes while I work, mostly modern new wave alternative rock stuff,
I don't know what you call it.

How long have you been customizing?

Well the serious customizing thing has been going on about a year and
a half now, but I've been doodling on my shoes ever since I ran out of
notebook space in elementary school.

How long is the process to custom a pair?

Anywhere from about an hour and a half to two hours a shoe, so around
3 to 4 hours a pair. Lately longer though, because I've been heat
setting the fabric paint, it makes the color last even longer and lets
me do some cool layering of colors, then there's also the 24 hours
drying period needed for the waterproofing solution I spray all the
shoes with. I try to do about a pair a day.

Are you considering future work on other types of shoes?

I'm always open to new suggestions. Some dude sent me a pair of
Adicolors which I had a lot of fun doing. I'm just sort of getting
into the whole sneakerhead culture, so I'm definitely lookin into
doing some nikes...maybe some dunks. But unless somebody commissions
something special...I'm going to stick to the classic vans.

Where are you located?

Right now, I'm home in La Jolla, CA. But this Thursday I'm returning
to NYC for sophmore year at NYU and I have no intentions to return

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