LOS ANGELES, United States — When the cast of Saturday Night Live flies you across the country to have you design a pair of shoes, you must be doing something right. The specially designed shoes were featured in the finale of the legendary American sketch comedy show’s 34th season.
The Creative Recreation story began in 2005 when Robert Nand and Richard Cofinco set up Creative Recreation in a small office in Orange County, California, benefiting from their shared experience as shoe designers at Vans. Their aim was to go beyond the traditional separation of men’s athletic and dress shoes to focus on the intersection of the two, thereby creating a brand new market segment which has subsequently been targeted by high-end fashion brands including Lanvin, Jil Sander and Pierre Hardy.
Nand and Cofinco developed a series of four standard shoe silhouettes which serve as canvases that can be embraced by distinctive colour palettes and carefully selected materials ranging from leathers, suedes and artificial snakeskins. Over the years, they have developed 23 different shoe patterns, releasing about 200 different styles per season in limited runs, offering something more like a collector’s piece than a mass-consumed athletic shoe. Indeed, many fans of the brand, including young creatives and hip hop stars alike, collect the shoes religiously.
Fans of Creative Recreation also love the aesthetic versatility of the stylish sneakers. A pair of high-top Di Cocco’s in black patent leather can be worn with a tailored suit or with a pair of shorts and a tshirt, with equal panache. And, the shoes are instantly identifiable—not because of an obvious logo—but because their standout design aesthetic is a signature in and of itself.
The market has responded with enthusiasm. In a time when designers are having to compromise and brand’s sales are shrinking, the team at Creative Recreation is doing quite the opposite. in 2006, Barneys New York approached the brand to do a limited release shoe to be sold exclusively at their New York stores, becoming a highly coveted release for Creative Recreation aficionados, season after season.