Glenmorangie Scotch recently joined forces with Dominic Ciambrone, founder of The Shoe Surgeon and a titan of the bespoke sneaker industry, in a year-long partnership that features a limited-edition drop, studio concerts, and workshops.
The partnership seeks to invite a wider audience to experience the world of whisky and the intersection of sneaker culture and single malts.
Inspired by a “what if?” mindset, Glenmorangie’s director of whisky creation, Dr. Bill Lumsden, said the distiller’s free-wheeling yet scientific whisky-making approach is mirrored through Dominic Ciambrone’s reimagination of timeless classics and celebration of customization.
Throughout the year, the partnership will showcase the merging of whisky and bespoke fashion culture in several different ways.
Glenmorangie branding will be integrated throughout The Shoe Surgeon’s studios, and the distillery’s portfolio will be poured during events throughout the year including concerts and customization workshops.
Ciambrone said he and his team “operate at the highest level in everything we do. Glenmorangie is about elevation, luxury and craftsmanship. We’re proud to partner with those who share the same vision and standard for quality and excellence as we do.”
Dominic Ciambrone recently visited with The Whiskey Wash about the Glenmorangie partnership and all things sneakers and single malts.
The Whiskey Wash: How do the worlds of whisky and sneakers meet?
Dominic Ciambrone: “We’re both focused on creating elevated, luxury products and experiences. If it’s whisky or a bespoke sneaker that you’re designing, at the end of the day it’s really about craftsmanship. That’s where I feel that Dr. Bill (Glenmorangie’s Head of Distilling and Whisky Creation) and I share an interest, we’re both breaking boundaries within our industries and creating the unexpected.”
TWW: What are some of the similarities between whisky enthusiasts and sneaker heads?
DC: “A lot of people look at us being limited to sneakers, but it’s more than that. I think we all have our own level of taste and it’s really the shared love of a beautiful product … whether it be your favorite glass of whisky or your favorite sneaker. Each presents its own unique experience and a mutual appreciation for the craft.”
TWW: Tell us the process to making a legendary, bespoke sneaker.
DC: “It starts with an idea or project presented to us … each one is entirely its own. Sometimes clients are very clear as to what they’re looking for and give very specific ideas or direction. Other times, we have total creative freedom and that’s where the magic happens.
“The design process is really where I express myself. For my collaboration with Glenmorangie, for example, there are a lot of similarities with the way that Dr. Bill expresses himself through whisky making. Both processes require imagination to create something truly unique.
“Aside from my own creativity, I have a talented team of designers who work closely with me and the client to execute their visions into a reality. From there, we bring these concepts to life with the help of our in-house production team; sourcing and sampling begins to bring these designs to life.”
TWW: How do you choose or blend the right whisky for the sneaker culture?
DC: “I think it all depends on what you’re looking for. For us, it’s truly about the experience. It’s the feeling you get when you walk into our studio, or wear one of our shoes. We’re always striving to provide a luxury experience. Luxury is the standard and synonymous with us and Glenmorangie … in that, partnering with them was the right choice.”
TWW: Are the demographics of whisky enthusiasts changing, and/or is the sneaker culture aligning to the whisky demographic?
DC: “Both. I think you’re seeing both areas changing as they become more approachable. Scotch can have a stereotype of an old man’s drink, and I also think sneaker culture and luxury fashion can seem intimidating to consumers, so with this partnership we’re really trying to make these categories more inviting and diverse.”
TWW: What is a day like at the Shoe Surgeon’s studio?
DC: “Everyday at the studio is different. I wanted a place where people can connect, regardless of their background; a space where creatives, artists, athletes and entrepreneurs alike find common ground and tap into their creativity. You never know who’s stopping by. We have workshops going on with SRGN Academy, futbol and basketball runs during the week after hours; it’s truly a safe space for us all to enjoy the moment, get creative, have some fun and be present.”
TWW: What can we expect from the collaboration and what’s in the future for these two innovative partners?
DC: “There will be a limited-edition sneaker drop and studio concerts. Before designing the sneaker, I’ll be going to Scotland in July to really get immersed in the brand and meet Dr. Bill. Glenmorangie’s also created an amazing bar setup in our new LA studio for guests to enjoy, and we’ll be serving specialty cocktails during our summer basketball league at the studio.
“I grew up in the hospitality business, so creating a full sensory experience for consumers has always been a goal of mine as I develop my brand, so it’s great to partner with a brand that focuses on providing that same experience.”
Gary Carter has been at the helm of metro newspapers, magazines, and television news programs as well as a radio host and marketing manager. He is a writer/editor/photographer/designer by trade, with more than 30 years experience in the publishing and marketing field. Gary enjoys working to build something great, whether...