Jeff Staple, or Jeff Ng, was born to Chinese immigrant parents who did not approve of his passion for Art. That did not deter him from his dreams.
In 1997, Jeff Staple walked into a boutique in New York City wearing a shirt he printed in his silkscreen class at Parsons School of Design. He had no intention of even wanting to start a brand. He walked out of that store with an order of twelve T-Shirts. This moment proved to be a catalyst for Jeff in fashion, that same year saw Staple Pigeon founded and launched. What started as a small T-Shirt line handmade by Jeff Staple, grew organically and began to gain visibility in NYC.
In 2002, Jeff founded a creative agency by the name of Reed Space (named after his high school Art teacher) a store where he organised events and art exhibitions, while using the space for inspiration.
In 2005, Jeff was in the process of building this burgeoning brand, when Nike approached him to be part of a special project, the Nike SB Dunk Low “City Pack”, composed of four sneakers dedicated to To-kyo, London, Paris and New York. Jeff Staple was commissioned to design the NYC Dunk.
On February 22nd 2005, the release of Jeff Staple’s Nike SB Dunk Low “Pigeon” marked the emergence of sneaker culture and hypebeasts on-to the national media scene. The design wanted to combine the world of skateboarding and the soul of New York City in a single item, Sta-ple took inspiration from the City’s most frequently seen bird, the pi-geon. The colourway was inspired by the colours of a pigeon: grey and white to represent the bird’s wings and body, and an orange sole to represents its legs, while the upper was constructed in nubuck to recre-ate the softness of their feathers. With just 150 pairs made, 30 for each of the 5 skate stores in NYC (Rival, Supreme, Recon, KCDC and Reed Space) only Jeff’s Reed Space released numbered pairs.
The night before the drop, Jeff noticed that something big was about to happen when a dozen people were already lining up outside his store. The next day there was a crowd of over one hundred people with po-lice helping a bouncer to contain the crowd. The NYPD arrested about twenty people, including thugs waiting on shoppers to rob the lucky ones who had managed to buy pairs, with many customers let out of the back of the store and escorted by police to taxis and vehicles.
However, the moment that cemented the notoriety of the SB Dunk Low to mainstream recognition is February 23rd, 2005, the day after the release. The New York Post headlined “Sneaker Frenzy” on the front page, recognising the phenomenon generated by the Nike SB Dunk “Pigeons” as a force and relevance never attributed to any sneaker. Page seven reported the Dunks had already reached a value of over $1,000 on Ebay. The story shook Nike, especially since knives, machetes and baseball bats were found outside the store. People thought that everything had been orchestrated from the beginning by Jeff, a thesis that was reported even in the following days on the New York Post.
From that day the interest in sneakers increased. A cultural phenome-non that involved art and music in an increasingly interdependent way also started to grow more and more from the hype the Nike SB Dunk Low “Pigeon” caused. The rest is history.