2020’s Footwear Designer of the Year Salehe Bembury Departs Versace

2020’s Footwear Designer of the Year Salehe Bembury Departs Versace 3

Salehe Bembury is departing his role as Versace’s Vice President of Sneakers and Men’s Footwear.


The emerging designer initially joined Versace as head sneaker designer in September 2017 after pitching the Italian company on LinkedIn. Once hired, he transformed the look, marketing, and distribution of luxury sneakers, and showed luxury businesses that investing in the category wasn’t just commercially viable for sportswear giants like Nike and adidas.

Although he worked for footwear industry heavyweights such as GreatsCole Haan and later YEEZY before arriving at Versace, it was with the Italian fashion house that he arguably had the most impact, namely with the “Chain Reaction” sneaker.

“The Chain Reaction for Versace changed my life,” he told Highsnobiety. “It’s both innovative in design ethos and execution. There are few silhouettes in sneaker history as unique as that sneaker. There are many sneakers in the market that have unsuccessfully taken a stab at overtness. The Chain Reaction is a sound balance of design, commercial appeal, and energy. It all comes down to design execution and storytelling.”

Bembury is rumored to be starting his own brand next year. That’s on top of his ongoing collaborations with New Balance and Chinese sportswear brand ANTA.

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