DC dropped another special-edition Lynx OG in their Heritage series on Saturday in Tactical Black, so we caught up with the man behind the design, Sung Choi to learn a little more about the Lynx, see how it all began for Sung at DC, footwear trends throughout the years, the Supreme collab and more.
When you started at DC in 1997, what were things like and how did you get that opportunity in the first place?
I got involved with DC through Alyasha. We were working on a project when he got pulled to work on Dub and DC needed a Footwear designer so he recommended me for the position. Once I met Ken Block out in California, I was hired on the spot. Things in the creative department were pretty loose. Ken was in charge of DC and was designing all the shoes up to my arrival. Once I got there, DC sent me to Korea for two weeks to get a crash course in shoe development and manufacturing.
What were you doing before and where does your background in shoe design come from?
I was involved with a clothing brand called PNB Nation out of NYC throughout the 90s and was doing some side graphic work for James Jebbia (Supreme and Union at the time) but in terms of footwear, I had no prior experience outside of being an industrial design major in my high school in Brooklyn. (Shout out to Brooklyn Tech!) Plus I used to be a sneaker salesman while in high school at one of the oldest sporting good stores in New York called Paragon, where I learned about shoes attributes and performance through shoe clinics. So all my past experiences gave me a unique understanding of shoes from product to cultural view points.
The Lynx was the first shoe that you designed for DC from start to finish. Did you ever imagine that it'd have the impact on skateboarding as it did, not just in specific era but now as a timeless skate shoe silhouette? It's DC's most iconic shoe they've ever made.
You tend to not to think about stuff like that when you are in the process of designing—yes you want to create a shoe that is well received, but you really don't have any control over it once its done and gone out to the public. I'm grateful that the Lynx can stand the test of time.
You've mentioned before that when you think of the Lynx, you really think of Josh and Stevie. Did you have any idea that those two would adapt to the shoe as heavily as they did? I think those two come to mind for a lot of people thinking of the Lynx, which is awesome.
I think Josh and Stevie took a liking to the Lynx because it looked and felt completely different from any other skate shoes at the time and it really complemented their style on and off the board.
How long did it take you to design the Lynx? And was it more of a process designing this shoe compared to others you've designed?
Not sure how long it took to design the Lynx in particular but it usually takes about 4-6 weeks to conceptualize and lay out the design of a shoe. Then next, overseeing the design through development, which can take any where between three to six months.
Personal favorite Lynx colorway?
I personally like the tactical black, you know… it’s low key. Stealthy.
Any other notable shoes on your resume that you have under your belt that our audience might know about?
I also designed Kalis' first DC pro model as well as Stevie's first pro model, just to name a few.
There was a point when pretty much all skate shoe designs were minimalistic, vulcanized, basic. What do you think of this small resurgence of technical skate shoe designs?
I think there should be choices… too much of one thing can be boring.
Talk a little about the Supreme collab . Crazy that it’s the first footwear collab that Supreme ever did. How did that come about? Weren't you the mastermind behind that connection?
Since I was already designing for James [Supreme] before relocating to the west for DC shoes, it was just me getting on the phone and asking him if he was interested in doing a collaboration. He said yes and we just worked out the details, like removing most of the padding around the tongue and collar to make the shoes slimmer in profile, super low key branding so it can be worn as a casual shoe as well… during those days many skaters had skate shoes and chill shoes and I wanted to bridge the gap and make skate shoes more chill and friendly so to speak. The real challenge was to convince all the higher ups at DC why this collaboration would be a good thing for DC.
In your opinion, what makes a shoe timeless? Or on the flip side, what do you think sparks these trends and phases when it comes to footwear?
There are such things as classic or timeless shoes, but it goes through cycles just like everything else. More specifically with skate shoes, I believe if you have a synergy between a well-designed skate shoe that is supported by an amazing skater or a great team of skaters… anything is possible. It's always been channeled through the culture of skateboarding and the personalities that makes a good shoe greater.
Next big trend in skate footwear?
I want to see more progress with vulcanized skate shoes… There is so much more you can do with the vulcanized process but no one seems to take new approaches to it. If you are a skate shoe company and you want to know what the next big thing in skate shoes… get at me!
The DC Lynx in Tactical Black is officially sold out. Visit dcshoes.com/heritage for more info on their Heritage releases.