Published: 21st June 2020
From Marvel to Heavy Metal: Why Rahul Dev's artsy shoes are the style statement you need
Rahul used to work at Amazon but he quit his job in 2018 to paint shoes full-time. He was confident that he will be able to put his skills to good use and he is very successful at what he does today
Would you believe us if we told you that Rahul Dev makes a living by painting shoes? He started his brand Unhinged Customs back in 2016 and it hasn't been an easy journey but today, his work speaks for itself. The detail and finish he achieves are no less than a work of a professional who has been honing his craft for almost a decade now. "Actually, I used to sketch using charcoal but never experimented with paints because I thought they were too messy. One day, I wanted a Chelsea jersey but did not have the money to buy one. So, I bought a pair of Converse shoes instead and painted them," says the 28-year-old. And that's how it all began. Currently, he paints on Converse, Vans, Air Jordan, Nike and other high-end shoe brands and earns anywhere between Rs 7,000 to 15,000 per order.
Rahul Dev | (Pic: Unhinged Customs)
What makes Unhinged Customs a hit is the research that Rahul puts in for his clients. "Clients usually have a vague idea that might not translate well on a shoe, so I have to research accordingly," says the Hyderabad-based artist whose family hails from Kerala. He used to offer his clients a choice of three options but later found the process to be quite laborious. Imagine coming up with 30 to 40 designs per week. Phew! Talk about exhausting. Especially if he does the sort of research that requires him to watch 500 episodes of the Manga series Naruto! It is this attention to detail that has enabled him to exhibit his work at Comic Con in New Delhi and Sunday Soul Sante in Hyderabad. His shoes are being worn by people in the US, New Zealand, Canada and Dubai too. "I would like to work on handbags and other mediums soon," says Rahul who sometimes has to import special paints for high-end shoes.
So, what design would you like on your shoes? Los Angeles Lakers, Spiderman or something completely unhinged?
Some of the shoes he has worked on
For more on him, check out instagram.com/unhingedcustoms