YEEZY’s chief sample maker explains how to be successful in the industry
Cesar Idrobo is head boss and sample maker at YEEZY, which means the Colombian is both designer and shoemaker. With five years in the footwear industry under his belt, Idrobo has worked in some of the largest companies in the industry. After working at adidas, Nike and Pensole Academy, he is now a central figure in YEEZY proper, where he has been since 2018.
In an effort to highlight roles in the sneaker industry that may previously have been more secretive, and to impart some of his knowledge and insight into what it takes to be successful in the industry, Idrobo has spoke to Highsnobiety about his career so far.
Idrobo explains why his training in industrial design at Savannah College of Art and Design has laid the foundation for his success so far, what some of the most important characteristics and skills of his role are, as well as the YEEZYs he had put in. on its all. time podium. Read the interview below.
How has your education helped you get to where you are now?
It was the right key to open the right door at the right time. And I think having a focused education is extremely important. For example, Alexander McQueen, he had proper training in sewing before venturing into his brand. But first he had to learn, as we call him, the traditional ways of doing things. He had to learn the basics.
Just because you can draw a shoe doesn’t mean you can make a shoe. So I wanted to take the right measures. I had no idea it was going to get me where I am now, but I just had this urge to learn how to do something really well from start to finish.
Were you a sneaker enthusiast before you entered the industry?
I wasn’t in shoe manufacturing when I started the graduate program. I was not a fan, because it was difficult. There is a lot of physical and emotional work going into it. And at first I was like, “I will learn and I will do it because I have to do it because it is part of the curriculum.” The more I knew, the more I trained, the more I improved.
What advice would you give to people looking to break into the industry?
Finding a job in the industry is balancing what the industry needs versus what you like and love, and seeing how you can combine those two. At the end of the day, you’re going to be doing what pays the bills, which isn’t always what you like.
When it comes to industry learning, we now have YouTube. We have all of these online platforms that you can learn from. However, you have to be careful and you have to make sure that you are learning from the right people. What can end up happening is that people copy and reproduce the mistakes they learned on YouTube. And so you must first make sure that you are learning from the right source.
It’s like picking up stones from the Avengers. You need to collect the right five stones to be able to get started in the industry. So you need to align education, skills and find a need for a position, to have a good chance of being successful in the industry.
What else is important to know when it comes to sneakers?
You have to think of shoes as art. Pure art. Because you have colors, you have materials. You compose. You start out in 2D, and you compose materials, colors, shapes, shapes, and that’s art. Knowing how to compose well will help you create a work that has a real visual impact.
You have to know art. You have to know what beautiful things look like. What they feel. And in order to create great things, you must first experience great things. And I think learning design elements and design and art principles will help you become a better designer. And then you combine that with the expertise and the know-how skills of the shoes.
What do you like about your specific role in the industry?
Even in the industry, professionals have theories of how something works, but they haven’t gone through the process of actually doing it. And I think that’s one of my advantages. I’ve run the machines that make the shoes, so you know the limits of the machine, and then you know how to pull and push things to make things work when you’re working on a new design or concept.
What does your daily life look like?
I think an easy way to explain it is that I make shoes. I’m pretty much the runtime guy, the maker guy. So there are the ideas and then those ideas have to be realized. I therefore take care of this realization. I take care of bringing them to life.
What are the important qualities or characteristics for success in the industry?
Just preparation. It doesn’t have to be academic. You don’t have to go to college. You can now take private lessons. My teacher offers private lessons and he will show you everything you need. It’s as good as a class in a classroom. You don’t necessarily have to go to college, but you have to learn in the right places.
You have to develop your intuition. In addition, you must have a library of knowledge, a library of visuals as well. Not just traditional knowledge, but you must have a library of visuals. Things that look good, things that feel good. You must have that too.
Sometimes you have to be open to doing other jobs that will prepare you for that job you want. But if you hadn’t done that, you wouldn’t know what to do if you were in your dream job, for example.
It’s hard to pin down, just because these shoes are like kids and you love your kids the same way. They are special in their own way. The 450 is a great design. The Foam Runner is also a great design. And then, I mean, you can’t leave the Wave Runner behind. The Wave Runner is one of Yeezy’s mainstays. These are my top three.
To stay up to date with all the happening in the sneaker world, check out the best sneakers to add to your rotation this week, follow @highsnobietysneakers on Instagram and sign up for our newsletter for early access to the best drops sent straight to. your inbox.