- Richard Riley creates one-of-a-kind crochet slippers inspired by designs of popular sneakers to spark a larger social conversation.
- Riley's unique designs are part of his brand, Fuggit, which he launched in 2013.
- Fuggit donates proceeds from its sales to families of those affected by sneaker violence.
- Riley told Insider that he hopes the unique slippers bring attention "to something that's nostalgic and familiar" while bringing awareness to the prevalent issue of sneaker-related violence in the US.
- Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
Richard Riley's grandmother taught him how to crochet when he was little.
He never imagined the intricate sewing technique could inspire a bigger movement.
In 2013, Riley launched the crochet-centric fashion brand and nonprofit organization, Fuggit, to honor the memory of his close friend who was killed that year as a result of sneaker-related violence.
"He lived his life every day without limits, and I remember when we were at his candlelight vigil, people were sharing stories," Riley said. "That was the moment where I said, 'I want to live my life like Mike lived his life.'"
Fuggit — which Riley told Insider is pronounced like the curse, "f— it" — is known for its crochet slippers that are inspired by designs of popular sneakers. The handmade slippers are meant to bring awareness to violent incidents that have ensued for years in the US over highly sought-after shoes.
In addition, proceeds from the sales of Fuggit's slippers, sandals, and other accessories benefit families who have been affected by sneaker violence.
Each hand-sewn Fuggit slipper is inspired by a shoe design that's popular among 'sneakerheads'
Riley, who described himself as a lifelong "sneakerhead," said he wanted to create something that fellow sneaker-lovers could connect with.
"As a child, my heroes were Michael Jordan, Emmitt Smith, and Deion Sanders, and the strongest-selling product all these individuals have associated with is a shoe deal," he said. "I'm drawn to these products because I remember the moment my heroes had in them."
Every slipper sold is inspired by a pair of classic shoes that were made famous in pop culture or among sneaker enthusiasts.
Fuggit's slippers range from $80 to $100. The brand also sells baby-sized versions of its creations designed in collaboration with SnkrBaby for $30.
Riley envisions his line of crochet footwear as a combination of fashion and social commentary
"It's a parody and interpretive art piece," Riley told Insider.
Riley added that he hopes to bring attention "to something that's nostalgic and familiar" but also start a dialogue about the reality of sneaker culture.
"We want people to be obsessed with what we created and the uniqueness of what we are doing, but on the flip side, our message — which is about ending sneaker violence," he said.
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