Savvy shoes for self-expression

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By Christy Han, Staff Writer

There are various ways in which Harrisites choose to express themselves, such as writing short stories, getting involved in FON and SING!, or joining Hawkapella. However, some students express themselves using a simpler method: decorating sneakers.

Sophomore Katie Sie decided to decorate her Converse sneakers, stating, “I wanted shoes that represent how I want to express myself and I couldn’t find them on the shelves of any store.” She continued to say that she colored her sneakers bright blue because some of her friends commented on how she often only wears black pants.

Similarly, senior Tiffany Li decorated her Converse sneakers at the Converse’s Off to Prom event for teens, which was hosted at YouTube Space in Chelsea Market. Teens were given a free pair of Converse sneakers to decorate themselves. Tiffany stated, “I didn’t just want a basic pair of Converse. I’ve always wanted to personalize my own sneakers and this event allowed me to do that.”

She drew flames and the city skyline on the shoes and added some gems as an extra touch, saying that she was inspired by sneakers that she saw on Instagram. She also expressed her interests by adding the names of some bands and singers that she loves, such as One Ok Rock and EDEN.

Some students also decorate sneakers for other people and make money from designing shoes. Sophomore Megan Chang is currently decorating sneakers for others, as she finds that she is able to take an activity she enjoys and practice her skills, while making a little money. She stated, “I started decorating sneakers after a project in eighth grade where we had to paint sneakers for ourselves or another person. I chose to paint cherry tree sunset sneakers for my mom; she took them to her office to show off and then started getting requests for more.”

As for the types of designs that she puts on the sneakers, she explained, “The designs I put on the shoes are mine to decide, the client gives me a topic to base it on like sports, shows, etc. and then I draw out a design, or fine tune many different ones into a cohesive piece, integrating things, such as their favorite colors, animals, other interest, etc.” To add more of a personal touch, she always adds the name of the client onto the back heel area.

Katie and Megan use acrylic paint when decorating their sneakers; Megan sometimes uses waterproof spray when she is decorating sneakers for older children. Megan also buys colors in bulk, uses liquitex paints for dying laces, and used Winsor and Newton acrylics and Princeton brushes for everything else. Tiffany used fabric markers and fabric glue, adding gems and patches as a special touch.

For people who want to try decorating sneakers, Megan explained, “[Painting your sneakers is] relaxing, allows creative development of design, and is a good way to learn marketing and to earn a bit of money.”