By Keishel Williams
In the height of NYFW, model Shaun Ross celebrated the launch of his unisex shoes on Monday at a Lower East Side whitebox space filled with friends, family and close industry affiliates.
Ross, who is also a musician and actor, collaborated with shoe architect brand United Nude to create a heel that men can wear every day. The model told the intimate crowd of his love for the brand (he was “so stunned by the architecture inside of their shoes”) and how he made the bold move of approaching United Nude’s founder Rem D Koolhaas after a panel and pitching his shoe idea.
“We always wanted to have a heel for men that signifies us,” Ross told the crowd. “We wanted to have something that celebrates us, something that feels comfortable. Not always putting a heel on for this one special night – its a heel for when you’re going to the grocery store, you’re going down to see your next whatever, you’re going to see something corny, get the bag, whatever you have to do.”
During the event, Koolhaas later told Fashion Bomb Daily that he credits Ross with the tenacity and ability to make the design a success, something he believed he would not have been able to do if he had designed the shoe himself.
“People have asked me this [to design a heeled shoe for men] before, but I’ve always said no because I don’t know how to do that,” he said. He told Ross “if you want to do it with me and you’re going to actually promote it and you’re going to bring it to market and it’s going to be you who carries it, then I want to do it. And he said ‘let’s do it.’ ”
Guests were able to see the new Shaun Ross X United Nude product on display, high and low leather boots with a square-toe and geometric block heel that comes in both black and white. A few lucky invitees including Roman Sipe, Ross’ best friend and design partner, wore the structured footwear at the event.
“I have so much support, I look around me and I look at all of you guys, and you know it’s fashion week and there are so many A-list celebrities everywhere but this is the real celebrities right here,” Ross gestured to the crowd. “You guys took the time out to come celebrate me and something I’ve been working hard on.”
Known names who came out to support the model-turn-shoe designer included Ty Hunter, Claire Sulmers, Karrueche Tran, Diandra Forrest, Margie Plus and Tiffany M. Battle. DJs Coco and Breezy kept the crowd moving and Ross’ friend Rush Davis, featuring The VVorld, also gave a soulful performance.
It was pure black boy joy as Ross danced like nobody’s watching, surrounded by fashionable supporters and industry heavyweights at this new juncture in his career.
Images: Factory PR