Some designers find it impossible to separate their face from their line. The brand operates at its peak with them at the helm, and the success of the artist mirrors the success of the art (or the other way around).
Especially in the case of YRU and ESQAPE, you’d expect a designer equally loud, manic, and in-your-face. It may surprise you to learn that Zabastian Amadeuz a.k.a. Z, the founder and designer of the YRU shoe line and ESQAPE apparel and accessory line, actually leans on the quieter side. He doesn’t waste his time with shameless self-promo, which gives his designs that much more room to do their thing. And damn, do they.
When you step into Zabastian’s crafstman-turned-showroom at the peak of a residential Echo Park hill, you sink into the idea of vintage Los Angeles: natural light pouring across hardwood floors, acoustic instruments gathered in a corner, a pair of 6″ tall sequin-covered platforms tennies–wait, what? The retro haziness is abruptly replaced with iridescent 3M yoga pants, neon O-ring collars, even a pair of shoes with literal wings. Wings. But nothing about this stark contrast feels jarring–it’s more like a breakdown of both brands’ effortlessly cool DNA. To help break things down further, we sat down with Z to talk inspo, creative process, and having a fan in Lady Gaga.
You’re turning the footwear game on its head in such a big way. Where do you gather design inspo?
How does ESQAPE differentiate from YRU? Are they the same girl, are they similar girls?
Where’s the coolest place you’ve seen your pieces in? Who’s the coolest person you’ve seen them on?
What’s your creative process like when a shoe is coming to life? Walk me through it.
ideas & designs are always in mind
the ones that keeping popping in and saying “MAKE ME”
are the one’s that get put on paper,
then unexpected occurrences happen
colours come together, materials are selected
and they’re sent off to our production team overseas
there they are assembled.
and more interesting things happen then
because they evolve into life, and many times are unique to the original idea
If you could go back and change one decision you’ve made while building this brand, what would it be?
Any advice for newcomers who are trying to get their own brands off the ground?
focus on the people & positive intentionz
have strong dedicated people around you
always use this ~
Finally, of all the pieces you’ve designed, which is your favorite?
currently would say this gal: