Treed was born out of a passion for fashion and nature. We caught up with Luke DZUNDZA to find out more about the UK’S most unusUal bespoke trainer creators.
When did Treed begin and where did the idea come from?
Treed really began early in 2017 when I was trying to think of aN eco-friendly and unique way that I could bring SOMETHING NEW to the fashion world. It felt like loads of brands and companies are pushing sustainable fashion but forgetting the beauty and the uniqueness of the materials involved in the process and the history behind today’s fashion industry. I mainly wanted to capture the individual characteristics of wood. Treed truly came together in April 2018 when I completed my first pair of bespoke shoes that I was really satisfied with, featuring a real rosewood red ebony wooden swoosh on a pair of AIR FORCe ones.
How do you make the trainers?
It always starts with lots of communication back and forth between me and the client, so that we are both fully clear on what we want to achieve with the final result, then it starts. The tools and material come out and I start to strip the shoe down by cutting different parts off, then sanding and preparing the different surfaces needed.
There are lots of different stages to getting the wooden elements ready. I normally start with some big pieces of timber and place the pieces of the shoe on the timber in order to trace them out, making sure i capture the most unique properties and characteristics of the wood grain, also making the symmetrical corresponding sides of the wooden features out of the same piece of timber. Next, I have the parts all marked out and ready to start the cutting. Once it is all roughly cut out using a massive variety of hand tools, I can start sanding to perfection.
Depending on which of the features are made from wood will depend on the method I use to mount them on the trainer. Once the wooden features have been added, I decide the other elements i want to include, whether that be painting, staining, including a velcro removable tag, metal charms, buckles, straps, or different laces. There are so many features and methods I can use to achieve a variety of looks. Then I finish the project with the box. whether the client wants the full package or just the shoe itself, I will always add my personal touch to the packaging to make the box one to hold on to.
How long does it typically take you to make a pair?
The turn-around on a pair of Treed bespokes takes around 30 hours of labour minimum, just on the shoes alone. but this can vary massively depending on the shoe style and the features I chose to include. Unfortunately, all the steps cannot be done in one hit… it all has to be built up over time and i want to give myself the maximum time in case it needs something else added. So therefore I allow myself 4-6 weeks’ production time. But in certain cases, if someone is in a rush, I will try my absolute best to meet a tight deadline. but these bespokes are not an overnight process.
Your full package including the box is amazing . Where did you get the idea to do this?
I got the idea for the full package from my own personal experience with purchasing items in the past. I found that however special the products are, they come in packaging that is normally thrown away and is never as special or lasts as long as the product itself. With the Treed package it is sure to stand the test of time and even if you have worn the sole out of your bespoke shoes you Can use the handmade Treed box for a variety of purposes. Not only is this just a pretty treasure chest housing your bespokes, it will be completely personal depending on the client’s needs, typically including a handmade wooden keyring, shoehorn, and custom lace swap pack to give you options on the look of your trainers.
Also I found that when purchasing a new set of trainers, I would always be on the hunt for an item of clothing to match the same colour as my shoes, but with the Treed package i am always working on ideas as to what items to include. Each item will match your bespoke shoes, with a massive variety of choices. that could be a Treed shirt with a removable wooden tag made from the same wood that features on the shoes, or wooden veneered sunglasses with the same grain as the trainers, or even the underneath of a snapback peak. The options are there to take your Treed package as far as you want to take It. i can even include environmentally friendly Treed shoe protection and an eco friendly shoe cleaner. The Treed package is for those who truly appreciate the craftsmanship behind the product and want to be part of the difference.
How did you get into trainers?
Riding BMX for me started the real passion that I now have for trainers. i started riding from a young age and my shoes would always get absolutely destroyed. pair by pair. There were no shoes designed for Bmx riding so i was on a continuous look out for strong shoes. but then the market started to change and you could purchase stronger shoes that were built for the job. However I was just never satisfied with the way they looked. So on the search I would look at shoes designed for a whole variety of tasks and sports and in the end I found the NIKE air force one high tops. The simplicity of the design and the structural support gave me the perfect canvas. From then on I couldn’t keep away.
What’s the plans for treed from 2021 and beyond?
i’m going to hit as many corona-friendly sneaker events and meet ups as possible while continuing to produce bespoke pieces! Im really hoping to grow my audience and bring some whole new concepts to life!