Over here at the Arcade we are all about shining the spotlight on up and coming talent. That is why we are pleased to introduce Elliott Curtis: tastemaker, sneakerhead, entrepreneur, and an all around good guy. Elliott’s entrepreneurial spirit took off sprinting in college, where as a Junior at Carnegie Melon, Elliott developed and taught a course called Sneakerology 101. The class explored sneaker culture from its 1970s roots in NYC to shoe design, manufacturing, industry issues and marketing. “Sneakerology delves into sneakers as vehicles of expression, personality, and culture,” says Curtis. “We use kicks as a microcosm that can provide valuable lessons regarding identity, business, entrepreneurship, manufacturing, design, and many other topics of importance.” Fast-forward to 2012 and Sneakerology is now offered through Skillshare. If that is not enough, it is now also a part of Skillshare’s Hybrid Classes; project-based, online learning courses with in-person workshops. In addition to all of this, Elliott also runs his own apparel line (vitaminTHICK,) and represents recording artist (and past Arcade44 feature) Brey Quick. As you can see, Elliott Curtis is a very busy man. Lucky for us, we pinned down Mr. Curtis to pick his brain and get a few answers.
What first attracted you to sneaker culture?
My love for sneakers is directly tied to my love for basketball… I can distinctly remember being in third grade and lusting over the Latrell Sprewell. (Not exactly a normal practice for an 8 year old) I wasn’t introduced to the whole underground cultural aspect of the sneaker industry, however, until I was about 15 and went to Concepts in Cambridge, MA for my first time. Back then, Concepts was located in the back of The Tannery, so you had to be in the know in order to find it. I legitimately felt as if I was part of this exclusive club by shopping there… and from then on, I was hooked.
How did you get linked up with Skillshare?
Interestingly enough, Peter, one of the community developers over at Skillshare, had written a term paper as a student at Harvard about sneaker culture, and he actually cited my class from Carnegie Mellon. We were connected by a mutual friend, and after learning more about Skillshare, I was blown away by the possibilities the platform provides from an education and community standpoint. Since then, I have given lectures in both Boston and New York City through Skillshare, and this Hybrid Learning initiative is taking things to a whole other level!
Favorite sneaker of all time and why?
Easy. Nike Air Penny II in white/atlantic blue. I wore these while playing for my first organized basketball team in fourth grade, so I am quite fond of this design. Whenever I see that midsole “wave” and the blue hue on these sneakers I can smell the gym that we played in on Saturday mornings in Brookline, MA.
Beyond Sneakerology, what are your current creative endeavors?
Aside from building out this Sneakerology Studio curriculum, I am working on growing my clothing company vitaminTHICK, rebranding for a couple freelance gigs, aiding Brey Quick as he gets ready to put out Light Year II, and responding to these questions.
- Annick Mayer