Good news: this summer, we’re doing a mini customization tour in Los Angeles, hosting a series of three local artists from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines at our Studio City store. Their mission? To create one-of-a-kind boots and shoes for Dr. Martens customers.
Sebastien White is a true creative. Originally from Montreal, Canada, Sebastien spent the last ten years living in Australia as a clothing rep, building a successful creative agency off the Sunshine Coast. But in 2017 — lucky for us — he began a new chapter as a designer and creative director in Los Angeles. Having customized clothing for big musical acts like Smashing Pumpkins, Plain White T’s, Ho99o9, Surfbort and Crystal Castles, we were excited when he agreed to visit our Studio City store for a customization session. And on Thursday, July 26, it happened: Sebastien showed up with studs, chains and paint, and set about turning regular Docs into wearable art. Check out pics from the event below, and read on to learn why Sebastien’s message is about peace, love and equality, and the inspiration for his street photography.
What is your favorite thing to do in LA?
Walking around The Last Book Store or the art galleries and then hitting a happy hour.
Tell us about your first pair of Dr. Martens.
I was in 10th grade — and they were the classic 1461 black shoe. It was the first day of high school, and I was really shy. I sat down at my desk and some guy leans over and says to me “nice shoes,” then tells me how he’s going to steal them from me. I believed him. Welcome to high school, right?
Why did you want to do a customization event with Dr. Martens?
I have always wanted to work with Dr. Martens. It’s a dream come true! I started focusing on painting and studding leather jackets over the last year so it’s a natural progression to work on my favorite leather shoes.
What was the inspiration behind your customization?
I usually think of a theme. Either from a song or old film. Then I build a story or layers of meaning. I was listening to a punk band called The Damned and the song “I Just Can’t Be Happy Today,” came on. I went from there touching on themes from punk’s past mixed with current issues going on in this country. I wanted to promote a positive message of peace! Life is complicated and it’s our duty to stand up for love, equality, and peace. Choose love — not fear.
We love the photo shoots you do on your blog and that your models seem to often be people you’ve only just met. What do you look for in models and locations for these shoots?
Yeah I always keep my eyes open walking around LA. I look for interesting-looking characters; I prefer non-model models. I feel like they come across more authentic. I like to shoot people in their environment to make it more personal. You can feel emotion through photos if you shoot someone this way.
We hear you own snakes, tell us about them?
Haha! Only one snake and her name is Lucy-Fur. She is a sweet Mexican black king snake! I got her tattooed on my left arm.
All photos by Sebastien’s wife Mynxii White, who also put together a video from the event. Also, keep your eye on Lethal Amounts Gallery; Sebastien has a gallery show there with Mynxii, debuting the end of 2018.