Salehe Bembury is an American footwear designer and the Vice President of the sneakers and men’s footwear collection at Versace, an Italian luxury fashion company. He is the Creative Director at Spunge and is mostly known for his luxurious streetwear style. He is a former footwear designer at Adidas Yeezy, a fashion collaboration between American rappers, designers and German sportswear company Adidas, and also served at Cole Haan, an American brand of men’s and women’s footwear, as a footwear designer.
Where I am in my career now is a result of the jobs I hated and the jobs I loved, the successes and failures. It’s definitely about the journey.” – Salehe Bembury
Salehe Bembury was born on Friday, 3 October 1986 Salehe Bembury – Instagram (age 37 years; as of 2023) in Tribeca, New York. His zodiac sign is Libra. He completed his primary education at Calhoun School in Manhattan. He pursued a six-week pre-college Industrial Design Program at Rhode Island School of Design, United States. Then he pursued the eight-week pre-college Industrial Design Program at Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania. In 2005, he completed his bachelor’s of Industrial Design at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York. Salehe Bembury – LinkedIn. After his graduation, he moved back to New York.
Height (approx.): 6′ 3″
Weight (approx.): 60 kg
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Brown
Parents & Siblings
I don’t come from a traditional fashion background, but I got my passion and perspective growing up in downtown New York and having artist parents who had a bunch of artist friends. My parents did a good job of showing me all ends of the spectrum in regards to race, class and walks of life. That diverse upbringing influenced the person I am now.”
Wife & Children
Salehe Bembury is unmarried.
He has been interested in sneakers since his childhood. In an interview, he once mentioned his passion for footwear designing and said,
I’ve loved sneakers since I was a kid. I grew up obsessing over sneakers, sneaker culture, and most importantly sneaker designers. I remember seeing the Jordan 3 when I was a little kid and being like, Whoa. I remember seeing this all-blue And1 shoe that had a stripe up the front and no laces.”
In August 2009, Salehe Bembury joined Payless ShoeSource, an international discount footwear chain as a footwear designer and worked there for three months. In an interview, he shared his experience working at Payless ShoeSource and said,
My first design job was for Payless ShoeSource, which I was not excited about. In retrospect, it was extremely educational because Payless makes every kind of shoe. I was working on men’s, women’s, kid’s and formal. It was a really beneficial opportunity. “
In October 2009, he joined Fortune Footwear in the Greater New York City Area as a footwear designer. He revealed in an interview that he was not excited to work at the company but the experience gave him a lot of knowledge. He said,
Then I worked with Fortune Footwear, which was equally unexciting. But they work with brands like Birkenstock and Steve Madden, so I was getting educated, which is important for any young designer.”
Damon Dash – DD172
In June 2010, he joined Damon Dash as a Senior Footwear Designer and served for 6 months.
In March 2011, he was hired by Cole Hann company owned by Nike to join their “Innovation” team. There, he created the LunarGrand silhouette, a major turning point in the history of men’s footwear which used to take the traditional men’s shoe and add a colourful and modern sole. He was working under Jeff Henderson, an Engineer-turned-shoe designer who designed the Air Max 2009 and worked for Nike for 15 years. In September 2013, he resigned from his position.
After working for almost three years at Cole Haan, in August 2014, Bembury got in on the ground floor at Greats, a small start-up that aims to be equal parts function and fashion, and that has become the favourite of menswear icons like Nick Wooster. His supervisor at Cole Haan worked for Kanye West and encouraged Bembury to submit his portfolio. In September 2015, he resigned from his post.
Jeff Henderson who was working on a project with YEEZY in 2015, shared Bembury’s portfolio with the company. After a few months in October 2015, the company eventually hired him as a men’s footwear designer and he moved to California where he worked with Kanye West and collaborated with Kerby Jean-Raymond, a prominent designer at Pyer Moss. W Magazine He designed luxury collections of streetwear-style sneakers in the YEEZY’s third and fourth season projects. In an interview, he talked about one of his famous collections that had a corporate theme where he dipped shoes in flexible silicon to show the metaphor that models were weighed down by concrete in the corporate world. He said,
It was a metaphor for the things that bog us down in life or hold us back, whether it be social or financial.”
He served there for a year and in September 2016, he resigned from his job.
In September 2017, Bembury got his position as Head Designer of Sneakers at Versace by directly messaging his future supervisor via LinkedIn. In January 2020, Bembury became vice president of sneakers and men’s footwear at Versace. He also designs independently.
I reached out to a Versace design director and essentially proposed an opportunity. I explained that the sneaker industry is a billion-dollar business. Traditionally, that consumer would never look to fashion houses for sneakers.”
I didn’t think I’d hear back, but days later I got an email from The Office of Donatella Versace. My ideas were received well, and they asked me to travel to Milan for more conversation. What was going to be a two-page presentation turned into 40 pages. I presented to Donatella, and I was hired on the spot.
In December 2020, he launched his own brand and became the Creative Director at Spunge, the leading online destination for men’s contemporary fashion and streetwear in Los Angeles.
In November 2023, Crocs named Salehe Bembury the Creative Director of the Crocs x Pollex Pod. Hypebeast Alongside, he has collaborated with New Balance, one of the world’s major sports footwear and apparel manufacturers.
Salehe Bembury allegedly got searched while jaywalking across the street
On 2 October 2020, Salehe Bembury was stopped by the Beverly Hills Police while jaywalking across the street by using the GPS on his phone to get around. The officer asked Salehe Bembury to show his ID and then began to search his. Salehe was uncomfortable and nervously allowed the search. The officer asked Salehe Bembury if he was carrying any weapons with him. On which Salehe Bembury refused to have any. The officer later pats Bembury down as his arms are held behind his back. The Guardian He filmed the interaction on his mobile, where he said,
So I’m in Beverly Hills right now and I’m getting fucking searched for shopping at the store I work for, and just being Black. What’s unfortunate is I literally designed the shoes that are in the bag and I’m fucking being searched for them. I’m super nervous and this feels a little excessive.” GOAT
Later, he posted the video on his Instagram account and captioned it by saying,
I’m okay, my spirit is not.”
On 2 October 2020, Donatella Versace, an Italian fashion designer showed support for Salehe Bembury through her Instagram post saying she was appalled by the incident that happened at Beverly Hills.
- He has tattoos on the left side of his neck and both of his arms.
- He has gotten a sneaker tattoo inked on his right hand.
- He has a pigeon tattoo inked on the right side of his neck.
- He has inked Jean-Michel Basquiat’s tattoo on his right leg.
- In an interview, when asked why he camped overnight for a pair of sneakers, Bembury said he is addicted to sneakers like other people are addicted to drugs. He said
People buy drugs for different reasons. Some people buy them because they make money off of it, some buy drugs because of how it makes them feel, and others for how it makes them look. I think with sneakers, it’s exactly the same thing. There are just some shoes that when you lace them up, you feel like a superhero. There’s something really magical about that.”
- In an interview, when asked how about the change in racial equity, he said
This period of time has made me realize that I have a little bit more of a responsibility to bring Black people with me. That was something I already realized, but I guess maybe I’ve got to open up a few more seats on the bus. At the same time, it’s weird because it’s all of sudden an issue in the past three months. This has been my life experience; I’ve been privy to these things for so long. It was initially something that caused pain, but now I am numb. Now all of a sudden, there’s a sense of urgency, but I’ve felt this urgency for a while. And I find it a little strange, and maybe even a little disingenuous, when I see certain brands — and I’m not saying any specific brand — wanting to do things and it’s like, ‘You need to see someone murdered to make a move?’ This easily could have been communicated through simple conversation. It’s disappointing, ultimately.”
- On 11 February 2021, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the National Basketball Association, Canada Goose launched a limited edition of sneakers as part of a multi-year partnership with the NBA in collaboration with designer Salehe Bembury. Collater.al
- On 9 September 2023, Kohshin Finley, a Los Angeles-based portrait painter, painted his portrait for his first European Solo Exhibition at the Barbati Gallery in Venice, Italy.
- Salehe Bembury is very fond of hiking and fishing.