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Q&A: Sneaker Palettes

"Sneaker Palettes" a Q&A with James Drakeford also known as Mr. King JD (@mrkingjd) by Authentic® - JD is an avid sneaker collector, designer, photographer, and manager of one of the Midwest's top sneaker boutiques, Sole Classics.  

views from the infamous #ShoeRoom

Authentic®: How long have you been into collecting sneakers?

JD: I've really loved shoes for as long as I can remember. I fell in love with shoes around the same time I learned how to spell shoes. I've never really considered myself to be a "collector", although, I guess I am one by default. But I shy away from that title because a lot of "collectors" tend to be the people that accumulate shoes just to have them and not necessarily to wear them, I'm pretty much the opposite. I won't buy a shoe unless I plan on wearing it. Like many shoe-heads, I didn't get heavy into buying a lot of shoes until I got older, around my senior year in high school. I went crazy once I started making my own money, I could finally get what I wanted, when I wanted it. I haven't looked back since.

Nike Air Force 1 Hi "Pendleton" ID by JD

Nike Air Max 1 Lunar ID by JD

Authentic®: Have you always been into designing shoes/arranging color palettes? 

JD: Not always, but for a long time, yea. I started off just being a fan of everything that was releasing. I'm still the same way now, I appreciate what other people and brands bring to the table as far as new designs and color-ways go, but I definitely love having creative control and being able to put different color palettes and materials together. Now, I really look forward to opportunities to customize shoes. I've always had a knack for putting colors and patterns together, ...complementation. I'm a little addicted now, there's nothing like the feeling you get when it's #MailDay and it's a package of a pair of shoes you designed. 


Authentic®: Many go crazy over your Nike ID designs (photographed above), have you ever designed styles from any other popular brands?

JD: Lol Yea, a few of my Nike ID designs have gone viral online... I was just talking about this the other day on Twitter; how the pictures that go viral are always posted by other people, my designs don't get as much love when I post them for whatever reason. Lol But no bicker. And I have had my hand in designing a couple pair of Vans with the team at Sole Classics (SC). The Vans x SC collaborations are always super fun. Having the opportunity to create something that represents you and where you're from and being able to share it with the world is definitely a blessing. I also customized a couple pair of New Balance (NB) 998's this summer/fall. I was really pleased with how they turned out, the suede quality was superb, clean stitches, no sloppy glue jobs, gotta love that good ol' American craftsmanship.

Vault by Vans x Sole Classics collaborative sneakers by the SC design team

"Bramble Berries n' Cream" New Balance 998 (Made in U.S.A.) by JD

New Balance 998 (Made in U.S.A.) by JD

Authentic®: Describe your design process? What's your inspiration? 

JD: The process differs from project to project, usually I create based on a feeling or mood, and other times I create based on a story or event. Colors are huge to me, I always want to create something that is unique/special to the eye, usually the colors and or the way the colors are put together can achieve this goal. I want each shoe that I put together to catch people off guard. Every shoe doesn't need to be loud or extremely colorful, but they all need an "it" factor. 

Vault by Vans x Sole Classics Style 36 LX "SC Flyer" by Sole Classics design team

Authentic®: What's next on your design radar? 

JD: Million dollar question *scratches chin*. I'm still loving the Pendleton options on right now, so you can probably expect to see another pair or two of Air Force 1's or Air Max 1's before the year ends. And last but not least, 2016 is Sole Classics' 10th year anniversary, ...expect excellence. 

"Toucan Sam" Nike Air Max 1 ID by JD

Well, that wraps up the Authentic® Q&A with JD.  You can checkout more of his work at and catch his daily antics via @MrKingJD on Instagram & Twitter.