In an interview with Complex, Jon Buscemi shares the creative process behind the notorious 100mm sneaker. The shoe instantly became a hit when it was released. Celebrities like P Diddy, Justin Bieber, and J-Lo were photographed wearing the luxurious $890 shoe. Aldo, Forever 21, and Zara created bootleg versions of the shoe at a more affordable price. From then on, Buscemi created a new generation of luxury lifestyle shoes.
His interest in the footwear industry began during his youth as a middle school student. Buscemi and three of his friends started a customizing business to earn money. They sold custom sweatshirts, t-shirt, and hats around the neighborhood. The money he earned from the business was used to build and grow his sneaker collection.
Buscemi worked on Wall Street after dropping out of college but was later hired at DC where he predicted trends and styles for the company. Buscemi later moved on to co-found Gourmet, a streetwear brand based on food. At Gourmet, he designed a shoe which required him to deconstruct a Nike Air Jordan 7 an 11 and reconstruct them with a Keds sole. The shoe was an instant success. However, their celebrations were halted when Gourmet was sued by Nike. Buscemi and Nike were able to settle with Nike without the legal suit and Buscemi decided to open his own brand Buscemi.
Buscemi, the brand, debuted with ultra-luxurious miscellaneous items such as a dog leash with an 18k gold clasp and a leather tie. The 100mm sneaker was inspired by the Hermes Birkin bag. Buscemi has “always been enamored by the Hermes Birkin Bag. It’s been like something that’s always been on my mind, from the cultural part of it, the allure of it. Something about a coveted product always kinda gets me off.” Buscemi created the 100mm sneaker by deconstructing the Birkin bag. He attached the handles flap, and strap-latch of the bag onto a classic, basic sneaker design.
The shoe reportedly takes 24 hours to put together. In the Complex interview, he explains that that sole takes 2 hours to make. The hand-painted edges take 12 hours, followed by 5 hours of sanding. The final paint coat takes about 5 hours to finish before the shoe is ready to be worn. The time and precision of the manufacturing process of the 100mm sneaker is the quintessential part of the shoe that makes it so unique and valuable compared to its bootleg, cheaper counterparts. The sneaker is well put together and therefore is durable and adds an element of style and luxury that cannot be replicated.
Until now, the 100mm shoe has carried the Buscemi brand to its current state of notoriety. Buscemi is looking to expand his company beyond footwear into small leather goods and collaborations with other artists.