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Detroit artists design custom Vans shoes for Black History Month

Shoes are made to order

Two Detroit artists are getting national attention for their custom shoes. Sydney G. James and Tony Whlgn designed custom VANS shoes to celebrate Black History Month.
Two Detroit artists are getting national attention for their custom shoes. Sydney G. James and Tony Whlgn designed custom VANS shoes to celebrate Black History Month.

DETROIT – Two Detroit artists are getting national attention for their custom shoes.

Sydney G. James and Tony Whlgn designed custom Vans shoes to celebrate Black History Month.

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“I knew I was gonna use black and green. She’s black, like, she’s coming out and fully aware of her blackness,” Sydney G James said.

Sydney G. James is a fine artist and muralist from Detroit. Through her art, she explores themes of racial and gender positioning of the Black woman in America.

“I wanted to go Black excellence. I feel like a lot of the conversation in this country has been in black and white,” Tony Whlgn said.

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Tony Whlgn is a visual artist from Detroit. He described his art to Vans as “an imitation of his life and those he’s encountered.”

“A lot of people don’t get opportunities coming from our side of the city and let alone an opportunity that’s global. I think it means that another boy or another girl that has a passion for creative arts -- that they can possibly do it too,” Tony Whlgn said.

The shoes cost $90 and are made to order. Click here if you’d like to order a pair.

READ: More Black History Month coverage


About the Author:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism