Fashion may be evolving, but customs are forever – at least that’s the mindset of many custom designers and custom piece owners. There is something infinitely more special about a custom piece that reflects a person’s personality and tastes.
These pieces can become a cherished statement piece within anyone’s closet as well. What is even more unique is the exclusivity customs offer – while many people may own similar designs, not everyone will own the exact same pair.
That was one of the many things that designer Ruben Barraza had in mind when he opened up Majorwavez Lab, a studio built to design and showcase sneaker customs and offer classes to teach those skills, in a former bike studio.
Barraza, who is originally from San Diego, had moved to Los Angeles a few years ago. While working in retail and moving up the corporate ladder, Barraza was a sneaker customizer as well, and started to go viral for his designs, with one such custom design being a Caspar show with Metallica Lightning Bolts onto a Vans.
Heavily inspired by high fashion trends and vintage styles, his side career started taking off and he was getting attention from A$AP Rocky, whom he collaborated with for his Under Armour collection, and Kodak Black.
While Barraza started to receive more orders from others for customs, he felt like there was something else he could be doing rather than just being a sole customizer designing from home. Tying what he liked about his retail job, he came up with the idea of Majorwavez Lab, something he often refers to as the ‘Build-a-Bear’ of custom shoes.
When Majorwavez Lab launched, Barraza advertised free classes in the first week, which went viral on TikTok, and sold out classes within his first month. “Combining an experience and shoes in a time when we all want to experience something” was one reason why the Lab was successful. With Majorwavez’s continued success, Barraza has also opened up a location in the Northridge Mall, and a location planned to open up in Las Vegas.
While Majorwavez appealed to many sneaker lovers, some didn’t believe in the concept, making it difficult for Barraza to score sponsorships when he first opened. Nevertheless, he brought Nesquik on board two months in since its launch.
Nesquik is now offered in all the locations and shares a name with the lab in LA as well. After Nesquik, Barraza scored Puma, who offered him cheap and free shoes, and Angelus Direct, the paint company, with their own paint and shoelaces.
The creative possibilities with these sponsors have been endless. Majorwavez Lab has collaborated with Nesquik for Art Basel in Miami and ComplexCon, which also included PUMA. PUMA has also flown Barraza out to their Boston headquarters and had him teach their marketing team how to create their own customs. When it comes to future projects, Majorwavez Lap will reappear at both Art Basel and ComplexCon, and will also make an appearance at the PUMA flagship store in New York.
For those interested in learning how to create their own sneaker customs, you can catch a two to three-hour class at the Majorwavez studio in LA on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 1 o’clock, and schedule classes at both locations online: Nesquik LA Location & Northridge Mall Location.
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