Exhibit A- Steve “RDQLUS” Gordon
Check out this week’s segment of Exhibit A featuring world class athlete, designer and sneaker enthusiast, RDQLUS, representing for Omaha, NE.
Steve “RDQLUS” Gordon
Where did you grow up?
North Omaha, NE
After being out in the world, I came on back to Omaha, NE
How did you get the name RDQLUS?
It’s not really complicated, I just always said the word “ridiculous” for everything. Just came up with a clever phonetic spelling of it.
Tell us about RDQLUS Creative & what exactly it is that you do.
RDQLUS CREATIVE is my business, specializing in brand development, identity design and creative direction for clients and companies of all sizes. I’ve worked for everyone from mom ‘n’ pop shops to Disney/ABC, T-Mobile and more.
Aside from publishing your own book, what has been the most monumental moment of your career thus far?
Truthfully, it’s still very related to that. I can’t single one moment but it’s more about achieving the level of expert by being tapped to stand on the other side and face back toward my peers and colleagues and impart the things I’ve learned and the experiences I’ve amassed. It’s tough working in a field that everyone with an silver computer thinks they can do what I do, but to me design is not about art but rather problem solving and communication.
The bar that gets raised and separates you from the herd is level of craft & communication, and sharing knowledge. I have been a mulit-time featured speaker & presenter at the HOW Live design conference, which is one of the premier design gatherings in the world. And being a published author, with the backing of one of the most known and reputable publishers in the design industry (Rockport Publishers) is huge for validating that achieved level of craft and experience. It’s just one of those steps to being viewed as an expert in my field.
How has your award winning design career influenced your passion for sneakers?
I started my career as an architecture major, so I love, revere and respect structure, and design at it’s most basic, fundamental level; form follows function. Art is subjective, however design solves equations. I dig that. The overlap for me is that I am a former world-class track & field athlete, Track & field saved my life, as sport has done for so many who grew up as I did. My athletic scholarship is what paid for college. I have spent 99.9% of my life in athletic apparel and footwear. So for me, my passion for footwear is the perfect storm of two very crucial aspects of my life coming together.
How and when did you start purchasing massive amounts of kicks?
It’s been a slow process that was never intentional. I never wanted to have a big collection. As a matter of fact I’m old enough to have worn most of the original releases of the retro kicks that have become immensely popular in the past 10 years. But I wore them for sports and training. I cleaned them up and rocked them for style if I could, but they were my ball kicks and trainers. Having had a great sports career, these shoes became landmarks and held legacy and history for me. As I got older and could afford to, I started to find and gather those specific shoes or categories of shoes that meant something to me.
How many pairs would you say you have right now?
I never disclose that amount, for various reasons. But I have a good amount.
How much is too much for a pair?
That’s a personal thing. There’s a saying in commerce that says, “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get from it.” So I think that comes down to what people are willing to pay as individuals and then what real, authentic value they derive from it. For me personally, I have never paid over $200 for a pair—including from the known & famous boutiques around the country. No shoe has yet been worth that to me, mainly because I know I can show some patience and eventually get it for under that. And yes, I have Concords, UNDFTD Puma 24K(s), and other limited-editions that so many find themselves paying through the nose for. So, as my brother Dee Wells of the OSD Live fam says, “Be patient! You’ll find what you’re looking for… eventually.”
What is sneaker culture like in Omaha?
Sneaker culture is small but still very vibrant but here in Omaha. We are a large metro area, despite what most would believe. We aren’t heavy on boutiques around here because we have space, that’s not our overall culture here. We are the land that perfected the plan of the modern mall, Wal-Marts and super-stores—all because we have space. So we still do quite a bit of our limited-edition hunting through internet and travel. But we do find what we want, and many of the hot “general releases” that do reach major retailers often sit or go on sale here because the stock is usually more plentiful than the sneaker loving population that would buy them. That can be a plus for getting your hands on some things, but a drawback from getting the companies to pay attention to us here.
Every wednesday night you co-host a show called OSDLive. Tell us about the show and how you got involved.
"OSD Live" is the world’s first live talk-show focused solely on the business & culture of footwear (pun intended). It is the brainchild of Dee Wells and Sean O. Williams. ‘Obsessive Sneaker Disorder’ is actually the crew behind it all. We are a group of like-minded individuals dedicated to the cause of "educating and elevating" the people who claim this sub-culture. We rare speak of "heat" or things that bear just surface popularity. That’s too simplistic, too easy, too overly done already. The OSD crew has the approach of speaking about the business of footwear, featuring stock reports, trend-watching (and hopefully trend-setting), and many other aspects that nearly never get talked about in most circles. We are not "sneaker heads," we consider ourselves "footwear aficionados."
I know I am a fan, but for those who don’t know, tell us about your app, Connoshoer?
I’m glad you dig the app! Thank you! The initially name and loose concept was thought up by my partner Joe Olsen, who brought me (and RDQLUS CREATIVE) in to create the framework and backstory with the authenticity of a devout footwear lover. The app allows for the building, documentation, cultivation and sharing of your own footwear catalog. It should be known that it is not only for sneaker lovers. We love to see dress flats and I am personally a huge fan of the style and design of women’s heels and pumps. So Connoshoer is for everyone who has an affinity for footwear—those connoisseurs of shoes.
The app was developed independently and privately funded—free of any brands or industry push—because I wanted it to be personal and customized to the user. This is the building of your own catalog, not the opinion, endorsement or ownership of any one blog or entity. It’s a very extensive app which prompts the user to input information about the footwear selection, thus building a user-driven database of millions of pieces of footwear. A blogger can use it to document trends and style. A collector can use it to simply document what’s in the stacks. A style-minded user can use the search function to find the right footwear in your collection for that perfect outfit. The added bonus is that it is connected through all other social-media networks, making it easy to share your collectibles with the world-at-large, easily. The app was developed & made public in the span of an astounding 6 months, and has been live for one year now. We have nearly 4000 users with active collections that grow by the day.
What do you envision for the future of Connosher?
Well, interring that you should ask that. Currently, ‘Connoshoer’ is only available on Apple’s iOS platform. This was due to many factors, notwithstanding the cost of developing a mobile app. Our initial round of funding is done, but that was a blessing in disguise, because we have brokered a deal for full control of the ‘Connoshoer’, and thus the future of the app and where we can go with it. The first major move now is to get our brothers & sisters using the Android mobile platform a complete version of ‘Connoshoer’ and welcome them into the fold—which we feel would nearly quadruple our active usership, adding millions of new shoes to the mix.
We know you were involved in track and you are currently a coach. Which do you prefer, style or performance?
As an high-level athlete there is no comparison—performance is the rule of the day. If I can get a side order of style with that performance, that’s even better. If the style is directly tied to the performance, then that’s the golden nugget.
What is your favorite brand? Why? (Track & Casual Street wear)
Let’s start with training/track & field. I’m a devoted Adidas man, myself. They are quietly the standard for innovating tech and at least attempting to move the needle—succeed or fail, they push. But that is necessary because what then trickles down is tech that sticks and changes the game. Aside from recent innovations of Lunarlon and FlyKnit, you know what you’re going to get from Nike. But Adidas has offered up adiprene+, the older version of the A3 tech (I wasn’t a fan of where it went after kicks like the Twin Strike II and the A3 Control. all-time favorites of mine), and now SpringBlade technology and the most proven of them all so far—Boost (which is what I train in now). Close seconds to that would be Mizuno & ASICS.
As for casual street wear, I really have no standout favorites. I appreciate and really like so many varieties. I love tech running ASICS because they have a severely underrated style to them—they are so wild with stylish designs that actually function. Reebok was not an also-ran back in the day; they were a standard. Kicks like the Commitment, Question, DMX-10 Run and Twilight Zone are amazing even in today’s design landscape. Crazy to think their looks hold up even now. And you can never go wrong with a pure white pair of Adidas Pro Model “Shell-Toes.” I mean, c’mon. A classic that rocks with everything. That’s probably not the answer you were looking for, but there are just too many good things in the world to pick one. But if you’re asking what I would grab in the event of a zombie apocalypse, then that’s easy; my Reebok Court Pump Victory or Commitment(s). Tough as nails, good fit, I can stomp and run… and still look good!
As a designer and sneaker enthusiast, what do you see in the future of footwear?
I am disappointed because I think the industry is just churning out more of the same, but who could blame them when they are making tall money? There is no real innovation in design. But I think that the consumer has a lot to do with that. When we put our collective, proverbial foot down and stop clamoring for only retro rehash, companies may be forced to bring new innovations and unique new twists on the things we love to the forefront. I see far more innovation and thoughtful design coming out of the Pensole Footwear Design Academy (run by my friend and footwear design great, D’Wayne Edwards). I think the truest future of footwear lies in its roots; performance athletic footwear. And the students like those of the Pensole program will be the tip of the spear, bringing those two new things to light. Those things will always trickle down into the style realm.
I saw a few of the items on your site were sold out!! Where do you draw inspiration from for your RGC designs?
The clothing and apparel design side of what I do (RDQLUS GOODS & CLOTH or “RGC”) began as just an outlet for me to push out some design ideas and really build my brand. People react differently to tangible things and “design” is a rather intangible, nebulous concept. The public reacted very well to it. But I still wanted to manage it and not go for mass production. Everything I make is limited-edition, custom and when it’s gone, it’s gone. I love the idea of exclusivity and well-crafted goods.
For those looking to support the RGC line or pick your brain about design where can we find you?
RDQLUS CREATIVE (brand development, identity design, creative direction & consulting): http://rdqlus.com
RGC (apparel, accessories & hard goods): http://rdqlus.com/shop-rgc
Connoshoer: http://www.connoshoer.com http://facebook.com/connoshoer
Twitter & Instagram: @rdqlus1 / connoshoer