Good artists borrow; great artists steal. Fashion is no stranger to reinvention. In an industry as cyclical as the sun and moon, reclaiming and reusing old ideas is the norm. Designers spin the aged as new, all the while working behind a carefully crafted façade of an original. This façade is vital in preserving the integrity of high fashion, an arena where authenticity is ironically among the chief virtues. Shoemaker Hender Scheme straddles this delicate equilibrium with effortless grace and the looks to match. The Tokyo-based company produces everything from sandals to notebooks, bangles to hand-held fans. All Hender Scheme products are made of natural vechetta leather (in a distinctive neutral tone) and feature impeccable quality. Though their accessories and handbags are beautifully made, we're all really here for the sneakers.
Hender Scheme unabashedly copies the silhouettes of industry stalwarts like Nike, New Balance, Vans, and adidas, remaking iconic shoes with their own craftsman twist. So much of excitement surrounding this company has to do with the craftsmanship involved in every pair. Each style is available in their signature color "natural" or all black and made of 100% natural full-grain leather. The shoe is then handstitched by Japanese shoemakers, manually copying the details of popular shoes. It’s no wonder then that their most popular collection is the “Manual Industrial Product” line of sneakers. The name refers to Walter Benjamin's concept of the Mechanical Reproduction. Benjamin, an academic researcher, was interested in the space a copy occupies and its effect on the position of the original. So, in the context of the aforementioned mandate of innovation decreed by high fashion: just how are these copies allowed?
In the case of Hender Scheme, jacking brand name silhouettes is their sneakers are viewed as just as good, if not better than the originals. By dropping the logos and all pretense of famous brand colorways, Hender Scheme allows the authority to lie solely in the shape and material. Besides, Hender Scheme is a relatively-small craft operation. The shoes also cost anywhere from $800-$1500 a pair. For big companies like Nike, these shoes do not pose a real threat to business and in a way they are a form of free promotion. Celebrities like Justin Bieber, Kevin Hart, and Big Sean have all been spotted wearing the natural version of the Manual Industrial Product 10, inspired by Air Jordan IV’s. My personal favorite is the natural leather Manual Industrial Product 01 aka Nike Air Force 1s (second from the right in picture above).
Hender Scheme sneakers are a great option that allows you to enjoy your favorite silhouette with quality to rival even the greatest Italian dress shoes. So if you’ve got a few thousand dollars to spend, Stay Schemin’ and as always, Stay Sneaky.