When we started LOOK/SEE, we knew that we wanted the foundation of our brand to be based in sneaker culture. Why? Simply because it’s organic and we’re passionate about it. The current direction of my career is due to my involvement in sneaker culture. Many of my friends throughout the industry are the product of the connections I made in sneaker culture. You’ve already noticed that we had the pleasure of working with Michael K. Williams…he was kind enough to model our LOOK/SEE sunglasses for a photoshoot in June 2012. What you may not know is that our connection to MKW starts with a shared passion for sneaker culture.
My wife and I have always loved “The Wire”…you could easily say it is one of our favorite shows of all time. And of all the characters from “The Wire”, Omar Little was hands down the most memorable and iconic.
Before I left Nike, I caught word that MKW was a huge sneakerhead. So through one of my mentor’s at the swoosh, I connected with a good friend in NYC and sent MKW some LeBron 9′s. On a random weekend in January, I received a call from my friend in NYC…he had Michael K. Williams on the call. I’ve been around a lot of famous people, but I’ve never received a call from any of them. So when MKW called to thank me for sending him some kicks, I was blown away. We talked about all of the colorways of the LeBron 9 and how he was looking forward to checking out 21 Mercer over the weekend. We even discussed the Yeezy 2 and (at the time) the mystery around the release date.
In March 2012, I finally had the pleasure of meeting MKW. We had a great conversation over dinner at a Midtown steakhouse. I remember how much positive energy he had…it was contagious. I mentioned how bummed my wife would be knowing that she missed her opportunity to have dinner with Mike since she wasn’t arriving into NYC the following day. He immediately suggested that we reconnect later in the week once she’s in town so he could meet her. How cool is that, right? We closed the restuarant down (literally) as we were the last ones to leave. There was never a dull moment in our conversation. One of the most significant bits of inspiration I have ever come across was the Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech…during which Steve Jobs talks about how you cannot connect the dots (i.e. your experiences) moving forward…only backwards. So MKW and I talked about exactly that. Having the chance to learn about his story and how hard he worked to get where he is today was incredibly inspirational. In addition, he set me up with Rosie Perez (yes, THE Rosie Perez!) who is the Artist Board Chair of the Urban Arts Partnership. We ended up holding a LOOK/SEE x UAP design workshop in June 2012…all as a result of this dinner. In addition, Mike joked that we should run an “Omar Little” pair of LOOK/SEE sunglasses. To his surprise, we ended up making 10 pairs of our Triple Black frame with “LOOK/SEE for Omar Little” as the branding and “Omar comin’…indeed” as the color. Each of these limited pairs even included a small shotgun metal inlay as a final touch. We presented the pairs to Mike when we reconnected in June.
Anyways, four days later we met for dinner…again, but this time in the West Village. After a huge meal, we decided to go for a walk in the Village. At this point, my wife asked to get a picture with him and I can vividly remember MKW and my wife walking ahead of my other two friends and me. Apparently they were talking about dancing. My wife was in her own dance crew when she was younger and it sounded like MKW had a similar experience. Knowing that MKW – this phenomenal actor who played one of the most iconic characters in TV history – is going for a casual walk with us in the Village was too cool.
Before my wife and I took off to meet up with some other friends, MKW offered to help us in any way he could. There’s a lot of people out there who do that…they’ll say “let me know how I can help you”, and when you do, they disappear. I took Mike up on his offer and asked if he would be willing to model our LOOK/SEE sunglasses during a photoshoot. Immediately, he said he would without question.
In June, 2012, during the photoshoot I thanked MKW for his support of my wife, me, and LOOK/SEE. He said it was no problem and that we followed through with everything we discussed that night at dinner. He was kind enough to model our Triple Black, Reflective Medium Grey / Neon Yellow, and Reflective Medium Grey / Black models.
It’s not every day you get to meet someone so cool, so supportive, so genuine…and at the end of the day, it all started with a common interest in sneakers.
Founder & CEO