THE SHOE SURGEON
In a time when YouTube wasn’t around to watch tutorials, how did you learn to create shoes from scratch? How long did it take to hone your skill?
DC: It’s taken me over 15 years to learn how to make and reconstruct shoes. My journey began by doing an apprenticeship with Daryl Fazio for a couple of years, who specializes in shoe repair. I also took a week long course in Oregon for traditional dress shoes. At the time, I couldn’t find anyone that was making sneakers from scratch, so I had to work hard to find the knowledge myself. I pieced together everything I’d learned from previous experiences and started making sneakers by hand.
What is it about shoes specifically that has motivated you to keep practicing your craft for so long?
DC: No one gave me the answers, I thought the craft didn't really exist. The fact that it was so challenging is what attracted me to it.
You’re known for reconstructing already existing sneakers. Would you ever consider making your own shoe line to sell to the public?
DC: For the past eight years I’ve been working on developing original sneakers as well as working on my own line that will be introduced to the public this year. High-end sneakers and boots, for men and women. Starting this journey has been an eye opening experience and I’m putting my all into
making sure everything is perfect. My team and I are very excited to bring this new line to life and disrupt the industry with what we are working on.
Tell us about the class you teach to individuals on how to make custom sneakers.
DC: I founded Shoe Surgeon Shoe School in 2016 because I’m passionate about sharing the craft of shoemaking and I want to give people the guidance that I didn’t have when I first started. The Shoe School gives students the opportunity to learn from my team and I on how to fully deconstruct and reconstruct a sneaker in four day period. What we have built is so much more than a school. This is truly about the experience we provide.
We’ve hosted our classes all over the country and internationally. Our students make lifelong friends and get the opportunity to network with other creatives. This year we will be teaching in Los Angeles, New York and Paris as well as introducing silhouettes that have never been taught before.
The market for sneakers is highly competitive, do you watch what the competition is doing or avoid looking altogether?
DC: I don’t believe in competition. I am hyper- focused on my own craft and building my business so I don’t worry about what other people are doing. In the industry there is enough room for everyone as long as you are authentic and dedicated to your art. My goal is to always lead and not ever worry about anyone or anything else.
What would you say is the most rewarding aspect about your craft?
DC: The most rewarding aspect to my craft is the ability to grow a platform where I can connect with people on a larger level. What I've created isn't just about shoes, it’s about changing lives.
What are three things you cherish most in your life?
DC: Number 1 - My family. My wife was someone who always helped me with the business and the chaos I created. My son, Emil and daughter, Celine help keep me grounded -- everything I do is for them.
Number 2 - The ability to create. I cherish that I can use my creativity to do something I love every day.
Number 3 - Soccer, when I play it's the only time I’m truly free from everything. It's like a true escape.
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