Hailing from south Los Angeles, King Kang has turned herself into one of the best sneaker customizers over the span of a 20-year career. With her father in the real estate business, Kang, who always loved drawing, went to school for interior design and began her career in that field, until she realized it was not exactly her cup of tea. Fortunately, she found new inspiration at the same time.
"It was around 1997, 1998, around that time, and [my brother] was in junior high. That's when that trend where people started to airbrush their Guess overalls and their jeans, and just airbrushing everything." Kang said. "My little brother saw that I could draw fairly well. He's like, 'What if you tried to paint on shoes?' That was the first sort of inkling to do that."
Kang had found her passion. She started a company, King Of Sneakers, which grew into a service that both customizes sneakers and provide the information and tools people need to do it themselves. King Of Sneakers provides paint, brushes, laces, leather, stencils and anything else you could ever need to transform your shoes to reflect the vision in your head.
A talent for drawing wasn't Kang's only success factor over the years. She always had a passion for sneakers and what she calls the "desire of wanting them," but she was unable to buy the styles she saw in the stores. Kang says she didn't get a pair of name brand sneakers until the fifth grade when she got some L.A. Gears. Now she can create whatever she wants.
And create she has. Kang has worked on custom kicks for everyone from Los Angeles Rams defensive end Williams Hayes to boxer Dominique Dalton to Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas. Her business is thriving as customized kicks become increasingly popular, especially in the world of sports.
"It's just now coming to the forefront of popularity, even though I've been doing it for 20 years," Kang says.
Check out the video above to learn more about King Kang, King Of Sneakers and the world of customized kicks.
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