Salehe Bembury is an American designer. Currently operating his own brand Spunge, the New York City-native has become widely known for his footwear collaborations with New Balance and Crocs, among others.
Born in 1986, the Tribeca-raised creative graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in industrial design. After college, Bembury landed a footwear design role at Payless Shoe Source, an experience the now Los Angeles-based multi-hyphenate described as “a great place to get my feet wet” to W Magazine in October 2016. Between 2011 and 2020, Salehe Bembury had stints at Cole Haan – having a hand in creating the divisive, but industry-changing LunarGrand – and Greats, a Jon Buscemi company, but one of the footwear designer's biggest breaks was joining adidas Yeezy in the autumn of 2015. While at Kanye West's label, the Syracuse University alum helped execute men's footwear for Season 3 and Season 4 (the former was famously showcased at Madison Square Garden on February 11th, 2016).
On a whim on a random day in 2017, Bembury reached out to Versace's design director via LinkedIn with a pitch: What if the Italian fashion house got into sneakers? Donatella Versace hired him as Head Designer of Sneakers upon their first meeting in Milan with the American creative going on to create the label's Chain Reaction silhouette. Throughout the year, Salehe Bembury also worked with Kerby Jean-Raymond on Pyer Moss. Both Black designers have been vocal about the lack of representation within the footwear industry, with the 30-something-year-old LA resident also telling W Magazine that the small peer pool may have played an unconscious role in bringing both Black men together.