Dominic Chambrone: The Shoe Surgeon
Custom shoe designer, Dominic Chambrone, is better known to his fans and his clients as The Shoe Surgeon for his unique ability to deconstruct and reconstruct a shoe, giving it new life. With a dream job and dream clientele to make it all happen, you would think that Chambrone had it made but as the expression goes, don’t judge a person ‘til you walk a mile in their custom made shoes.
“I’m bipolar,” says Chambrone, something that wasn’t known to him until his first manic episode. “I received my first major custom shoe order and I was stressed and freaking out and I just jumped right through the glass of my second story window. I don’t know why I did it.” Chambrone and his custom ‘kicks were in high demand and while the designer was happy to have the business and complete the orders, the quantity was just too large for one person. “I’m not a factory,” Chambrone explains. After being rushed to the hospital, Chambrone woke up wondering if he was dead or alive. “I was still so out of it,” he explains, “I can’t really explain what it was ike to go through a manic episode but it’s like your in a dream, you don’t know what’s real. Most of the time I was like ‘sell my sewing machine, I never want to sew again’ because the machine was in my nightmares and I never wanted to see it again.”
Fortunately Chambrone’s sewing machine hung around and so did he, overcoming his episodes and his fear to a point where he has the actual sewing machine tattooed to his inner right arm. His other tattoos include a surgeon-masked skeleton depicted on a stiletto with a straight razor for a heel, a rose-covered SoCal tattoo and the words ‘Charlotte’ to represent the City where “The Shoe Surgeon” all began. “I was making shoes before but something out there really kept me going, kept it alive,” he says of the city.
As for his current projects, “Work is awesome, I love getting up every day. I have to touch a shoe every day and just get some kind of work done.” Chambrone is still making custom shoes. His celebrity clientele includes Black Eyed Peas member will.i.am, Rick Ross and Justin Bieber. “It’s funny because all of [Bieber’s] fans started following me and writing me asking me to make them shoes for a hundred bucks and his fans don’t really have the money to pay for my stuff,” Chambrone says of his own Bieber madness.
And as for future projects? “I like high fashion, crazy shit that no one would really wear unless they were really into it. That’s where I’m trying to base a lot of my new designs. My old stuff was more sneaker stuff, my old stuff was The Shoe Surgeon. My new designs are going to be under my new signature line – Dominic Chambrone.”