Skilled Denver fashion designer Andre Burks of SKRUB showcases intricate, artistic and polished artwork in the form of geometric designs, words and colorful impressions on footwear. Known for his painted designs on white sneakers, SKRUB is an up and coming master artist whose handcrafted designs on footwear have emerged on Denver streets and harmonized steadily with streetwear. To learn more about the SKRUB brand, his design process and future plans, 303 Magazine sourced his unique inside story.
303 Magazine: Describe SKRUB for us.
SKRUB: When people hear the word “scrub,” usually the first thought is the slang definition. Nobody wants to be a scrub. I enjoy the idea of turning a bad thing into a good thing or even to make a statement. Growing up I’ve usually felt like the odd one out or the outcast or the scrub. I want SKRUB to be a statement. It’s okay to be a scrub or an outcast, especially in this casted society. I want people to be their authentic selves and not let social media or others define who they are. I want people to connect with themselves and learn who they are. I feel like social media creates fake people and I want people to be able to take a step back and be authentic to themselves not influenced by what they see on the media.
SKRUB is just in its beginning stages. It wasn’t until October 2019 that I started to explore my creative side. I was attending [University of Colorado Boulder] CU Boulder and I would sit in class and doodle. I would put the pen to the paper and just let it flow out. The results usually surprised me and my friends. Later in the semester, I drew on my old vans with a highlighter and this is when I started to explore customizing shoes. Painting shoes became a relaxing hobby as I sat in my dorm room. I always knew I wanted to design clothes because of the ideas that would flow through my mind. My grandma made clothes for fashion designers in Los Angeles for most of her life. My mom has always been talented in her arts. She was really talented at drawing and got accepted to a school for art before joining the military.
I know that creating and fashion is in my blood and that’s why I get very passionate when it comes to creating. Once I figured out what I could see myself doing for the rest of my life, I decided Boulder wasn’t serving my life path anymore. I took a risk and at the beginning of 2020 and I withdrew from the semester and focused strictly on SKRUB. This decision led me to meeting tons of amazing people in the creative industry. I then found a team of creators that I now work with because we all push each other to keep creating and to accomplish our goals.
303: What types of fashion designs do you largely focus on?
S: Currently I’m focused on custom shoes. But my main goal is to start a clothing line. My main goal for SKRUB is to be a recognizable streetwear brand like the brands I look up to such as Kith, Kaws, Off-White, Supreme, RipNdip, and etc.
303: Many of your designs emit street style vibes. Is that an aesthetic you are geared more towards? If so, why?
S: I really enjoy street style clothing. It is unique, comfortable, and versatile. I fell in love with skateboarding because it was just a great way to relax and cruise. I could think and enjoy the outdoors. Cars have also always been my favorite since I was a little kid. I used to have so many hot wheels and a bed shaped like a car. You would never catch me without my toy cars. Now that I’m older, I’m trying to learn more about cars and the car community. I feel that most streetwear brands come from graffiti or skateboarding. I have plans for SKRUB to gain traction from the car scene. One of my goals is to be able to bring both my passion for cars and fashion together.
303: Take us through your design process.
S: My design usually starts on my phone. I will sketch out a design over a shoe that I plan to work on. Once I’m satisfied with the design I will begin prep on the shoe. This might include lint rolling canvas shoes to make sure the surface is clean before the paint. For leather shoes, such as the Nike Air Force Ones, I will wipe the surface with acetone so that the paint may stick better and leave a clean result. No shoe is done until I add the clear coat to ensure the design stays on and is protected from normal wear and tear. It may come as a surprise, but to this day I still have not sold a pair of shoes. Every shoe I have worked on has come from my pocket and sits in my room on the wall like a canvas. I do this because I enjoy creating. I like to be able to create things that were once only a thought. Once I have a serious client I will ask what design they have in mind. They might want a completely original skrub design. This could be one that I’ve already done or a completely new one. They might also have something in mind already. I’ll take their idea and make it a reality.
303: Where do you commonly find inspiration for your work?
S: I usually find inspiration on Instagram and just by sketching out designs on paper. I like to go out into nature and let my thoughts and surroundings mix into ideas for a new project. I also really enjoy seeing the types of clothing people would wear to parties at CU Boulder. People would make really fun and creative outfits and it gave me more ideas for SKRUB clothing. For original SKRUB designs, I like to think of a message I can put out to the world through my art. Most of my work features scattered letters. These letters aren’t just random. I think of a message I’d like to share with the world or I come up with positive affirmations and I begin writing the sentence on the shoe but without any specific order to the letters. I’m also a huge believer in the laws of the universe and the significance of repeating numbers. It started in August 2019 before I ever even thought of being a creator. I would see the number 44 everywhere and it was like a sign from the universe telling me I was going in the right direction. The number became more apparent the more I dived into my passion for fashion and creating. I like to think of it as guidance from a higher power. The amount of coincidences revolving around the repeating numbers I’ve seen is astonishing.
303: Have you found any inspiration from the current worldwide pandemic experience?
S: The current pandemic has given me time to reflect on myself and the brand. For a little while, I felt stuck and didn’t know how to advance. Now that I’ve had more time to reflect I’m excited to attack my new and old goals.
303: Do you have a favorite piece from any current or past collection of yours?
S: My favorite piece right now are the shoes I did for Chris Opher. This project taught me a lot about collaboration. The talented people I met while working on this project is why I love creating. Being surrounded by all types of talent brings a smile to my face and teaches me a lot. I felt like that project brought me a lot closer to the amazing people in my community. The process will always be greater than or equal to the result. I really love what I do and I’d do it for free if money wasn’t a necessity.
303: Where can customers find your work?
S: You can find my work on Instagram @officialskrub for custom orders You can direct message me on Instagram and there we can discuss design, price, shipping, payment, etc. For designs that I’ve already done and SKRUB clothing you can purchase those at www.skrub.ecwid.com
303: What are your future plans for SKRUB?
S: I have so many plans for SKRUB. I’m constantly thinking of what to do next and how to grow. I like to go with the flow and enjoy the process. In terms of goals, I want to find a manufacturer so I can start to learn more and bring to life some of my ideas. Once I have my first line of clothing, I plan to share it with the world in any way possible. I really want to bring my brand to the car community to get the name out there. I want to spread a positive message and help as many people as possible. I want to inspire others to chase their dreams. I have so much to learn still and I’m so excited. My ultimate goal before I leave this earth is to have left a positive impact. I don’t know exactly how yet, but I keep that idea in mind so that one day I may find an answer and take immediate action. I know that in time SKRUB will help me accomplish that ultimate goal.
Photos courtesy of SKRUB.