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Salehe Bembury

Designer, Spunge

The designer’s futuristic footwear designs have led to collaborations with some of the biggest brands in sneakers, including New Balance.

Biography

Salehe Bembury is an independent footwear designer whose futuristic design vision has achieved broad influence in the worlds of streetwear and high-end sneakers. 

Bembury rose to prominence in the industry designing footwear at Yeezy and Versace before collaborating with some of footwear's biggest and hippest names. He worked with New Balance to create its popular “Peace Be the Journey” 2002R sneakers, and has had a tie-up with Crocs since 2021. His ribbed Pollex Clogs have been a viral success for the brand.  

Born in Tribeca, New York, Bembury got his start in footwear as a designer for Payless Shoe Source before joining Cole Haan’s innovation team in 2011. While there, he created the LunarGrand silhouette, which paired classic wingtips with Nike soles. His portfolio caught the attention of Kanye West who hired Bembury to design for Yeezy in 2015. 

Bembury created signature styles for the brand’s season 3 and 4 projects, including the suede military-boot inspired high-tops that became a must-have item for hypebeasts.

In September 2017, Bembury reached out to Versace via LinkedIn, proposing to turn around the luxury brand’s sneaker category. He was hired that same month, scoring an early success with the Chain Reaction, a $920 shoe that along with the Balenciaga Triple S helped turn the then-nascent chunky, “ugly sneaker” trend into a bonafide phenomenon. 

Since leaving Versace in 2020, Bembury has embarked on a series of collaborations with New Balance, Crocs (where his deal has been extended to 2025) and Moncler, where his avant-garde designs have caught the attention of luxury brands and major retailers alike.

Vital Statistics

Born
10 March 1986
Nationality

United States

Location
United Kingdom
Member since
2023

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The people shaping the global fashion industry, curated by the editors of The Business of Fashion, based on nominations and on-the-ground intelligence from around the world.