Never give up and to keep on trying things that you have not seen, the next step would be to manage your time correctly if you do not have any orders.
As part of my interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ruben Barraza. Ruben is a shoe designer and stylist coming from San Diego, California. Moving to San Francisco for college, he worked in retail at Guess and Urban Outfitters, before starting his own brand, Majorwavez. Barraza has always been passionate about trends and fashion, as well as shoes. When he started to work at Urban Outfitters, he was painting on his shoes and realized that it was drawing people’s attention as they were asking him where to find the same ones. Barraza started making customs, and one day, he had someone reach out to him by the name of Salehe Bembury which was, at the time, the main designer for Kanye West, boots and told him he had a project for him. He then started working for big names in the music and entertainment industry, such as A$AP Rocky, Playboi Carti, Ian Connor, Kylie Jenner, to name a few… Barraza has also collaborated with big brands, such as Nesquik, who was his first collaboration.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I would have to say overall working retail throughout college and always trying to hang out at pop-up shops and things like that definitely put me on this path. I’ve always enjoyed fashion and when I had an opportunity to showcase my art and work for different designers and brands I figured this would be the path that I would choose.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started?
I would have to say my first project or big project I was founded by a gentleman that was the main boot designer for Kanye West when he reached out to me on Instagram I didn’t know who he was but when I googled him I figured that it was fake, The following day I hopped on a call with him and he was with A$AP Rocky and I was still amazed of the opportunity and I ended up taking it. The project was for SSX Midnight rave and I was making shoes for Playboi Carti, Ian Connor, and A$AP Rocky this was the first start to my career.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I first started the most popular custom for me to make was a Vans shark tooth custom which resembled elements from Bape, I was selling more than I could handle at the moment and I came across a leather olive green vans and I was excited because they were on sale and I purchased about 10 pairs when I started the custom I approach it the exact same as I would with a canvas old school and little did I know when I pulled the tape off of all 10 pairs The design peeled off with the tape approximately wasting a solid 2 to 3 days worth of work.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I would definitely say my unique designs and my ability to hand paint to printing to sewing can definitely make my custom stand out more. I was also featured on Instagram for my different customs, and recently finished a project for Nesquik that involves using all three elements such as painting, sewing and printing on shoes.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I would definitely have a few tips, the first one would be to never give up and to keep on trying things that you have not seen, the next step would be to manage your time correctly if you do not have any orders.. you should be on YouTube or trying to figure out how to better your company or your customs, the third and last advice would be to do what you truly love although that might sound corny or cheesy if you like to create and you have enough capital to hire people I would recommend you do that! so that you can continue creating or putting yourself in a situation where you will continue loving what you’re doing.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I recently took a project with voting.org that was meant to bring awareness to all the events that are happening in the world such as BLM and voting. I ended up making a shoe Video that I posted on TikTok and my Instagram, the video was a short 18-second clip that had different crises is that going on in the world and had links on where to vote as well as voting deadlines.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
I would have to say this question ties around my favorite artist Drake he mentions “it’s not who does it first, it’s who does it right” And I feel like this does have a lot to do with the custom world or culture because a lot of people think that they’ve done everything first but there’s always an alternative way to do a project and if you can do it better than you might get more recognition than the first person that did it.
Do you see any fascinating developments emerging over the next few years in the fashion industry that you are excited about? Can you tell us about that?
Yes, I recently noticed that some companies were using VR reality to try shoes on such as the goat app and I could definitely see an app being made to customize your own shoe the way you want it I also think that due to a lot of online selling we will start seeing more of a cyber type of VR trend in the near future.
Every industry constantly evolves and seeks improvement. How do you think the fashion industry can improve itself? Can you give an example?
I recently noticed that Nike made a shoe that was produced by recycled trash, I believe the sole was made from either some type of cans and cardboard or sustainable resources. I can definitely see this being a trend and it being good for our environment I would definitely like to see more of this in the near future and staying away from animal cruelty or such things like that.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would have to say follow the footsteps of TOMS shoes. I believe they donate a pair of shoes for every pair bought. If I could find a manufacturer and have the capital for something like that, I think that would be awesome to help our Third World countries or places that really need shoes.. would be a dream to me.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
They could definitely check us out on Instagram and on Tiktok @Majorwavezz, I post daily and host weekly giveaways on there.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!