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The unique creations of Stella Stockbridge - Sneakerjagers interview

August 26, 2023 5:30 PM
The unique creations of Stella Stockbridge - Sneakerjagers interview

Sneakers shaped like subways, music studios, or Foot Locker stores; Stella Stockbridge from England makes it all. At a young age, the artist began designing sneakers. Her designs can be seen around the world and are one of a kind. In an interview with Sneakerjagers, she explains how her passion was born and how she goes about her work.

Get to know Stella

Stella Stockbridge (@shoesbystella) is a 20-year-old artist from Aylesbury, England. Four years ago, during the corona pandemic, she began painting sneakers. "The first sneaker I used as a canvas was the adidas Superstar. It was a disaster, nothing went as I had planned," Stella says, laughing. After some practice, she picked up designing again during the lockdown. "This time I started sharing my creations on social media."

Stella Stockbridge

Stella's designs can be recognized out of thousands. The designer calls herself a "creator of sneaker dioramas," a mash-up of her passion for sneakers and miniatures. Stella takes her inspiration from pop culture and uses hip-hop references in her projects. The use of bold colors and unique details make Stella's designs a feast for the eyes.

"Designing sneakers started as a small project alongside my education. When I graduated, I started working full-time on my designs," Stella says. "About a year ago I started to find my niche in sneaker art and now here we are."

N.W.A. project

In February, Stella posted an N.W.A. inspired sneaker on her Instagram, unaware that this sneaker would change everything. "The response to this sneaker was overwhelming. In three weeks I went from 15 thousand to a hundred thousand followers, which was bizarre." The sneaker, designed on behalf of a client, took inspiration from hip-hop group N.W.A. and came with portraits of members Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Eazy E, Yella, and MC Ren.

Stella Stockbridge

"I am thrilled that this very sneaker turned out to be a great success," Stella says. "With this project, I broke new ground, with a unique approach to designing sneakers, and it's very cool to see that this project got the attention it, in my opinion, deserved."

The Nike Dunk High was used for this project, although the model is hard to see reflected in the final result. Details are placed on the toecap and the heel that reference Compton, the place where N.W.A. was founded. The doors seen on the sneaker reference the hip-hop collective's first concert in Skateland.

"The client I made the sneaker for was very specific in his wishes for the design. The pair had to have a distinct hip-hop theme and, he said, had to be unique," Stella says. "Since the N.W.A. sneaker, he has ordered three other sneakers, one of which I am currently making. For an artist, that's the biggest compliment you can get."

Foot Locker

Since the N.W.A. project, Stella's designs have been skyrocketing. "After the N.W.A. pair went viral, my inbox exploded with new requests. I am currently working through the projects one by one and plan to accept new requests again after the summer." In addition to requests from clients, the designer also received messages from major brands, including Foot Locker.

"Foot Locker approached me asking if I would create a sneaker for them since they were big fans of my work. I received the Nike Air Max TN model from them, which was a pretty challenging sneaker to work with, and started sketching," Stella said.

The project was inspired by Foot Locker stores. The upper is detached from the sole and serves as the “roof” of the store. With sneakers on the walls, mini Foot Locker employees, and customers, the diorama is instantly recognizable. The end result was shared among thousands of sneaker lovers and was a massive hit.

Stella Stockbridge
Stella Stockbridge

"I am very happy to have been able to design this sneaker for them and hope to do more of these projects in the future with Foot Locker or other brands," Stella said.

Design process

Looking at Stella's creations, it is clear to see that each sneaker is made in its own way with a variety of inspirations. "It's hard to pinpoint exactly where I get my inspiration from," Stella explains. "Sometimes I look at a sneaker and an idea pops into my head, and sometimes I get inspired by things I see when I walk down the street. It kind of depends."

All the ideas Stella saves in a folder on her phone. "It's sometimes hard to keep track of all the ideas I have left," she says while grinning. "After forming an idea, I start sketching out a concept." Sketching a concept begins with pen and paper. When Stella has a clear idea, she designs a mock-up of her idea with a digital program.

"Once I have a clear vision, I start making the sneaker," Stella says. Making the sneaker can take about two to three weeks. "I'm working on several projects at once now, so it can sometimes take a little longer then, but I like the variety in my work."

With each project, Stella challenges herself. "I don't know if I can keep surpassing every design, but I'm constantly thinking of ways to keep improving myself." After her recent designs, she has set the bar very high for herself but seems to surpass her designs time and time again.

Full-circle moment

The year 2023 was an eventful one for the young artist. "I'm glad I found this passion at such a young age. I never thought I could turn my hobby into my career, it happened more or less organically. Art was always my passion and combining this passion together with sneakers was a full-circle moment for me."

Stella is currently working on several projects that we will most likely see pass by on her Instagram account in the coming weeks. She also has plans for upcoming designs, including a Stranger Things-inspired sneaker. "Since the last season came out, I can't get that idea out of my head. There are still so many ideas on my to-do list."

Stella also finds inspiration from colleagues in the profession. "It's very cool to see what other designers are doing. How everyone can bring their own vision to a silhouette and create something completely different is very special to see." Here, the artist hints at the release of the Martine Rose x Nike Air Shox MR4, which was released in 2023. "How she gave that model a unique touch is, in my opinion, how you design sneakers."


For now, Stella has plenty of projects on her schedule. How she sees her business in five years, she finds difficult to answer. "That's hard to say, if I had told myself 5 years ago what would have happened these last years, I wouldn't believe myself. I hope I can keep doing this in the coming years and work on bigger projects."

The project with Foot Locker was one of Stella's first collaborations, but if it's up to the artist, certainly not the last. "It was a lot of fun to be able to work with such a big name, I would like to do this more in the future. In addition, an official collab with my own sneaker would be a dream come true. Who knows."

If you are interested in Stella's designs, take a look at her Instagram account @shoesbystella. Keep an eye on the news page for more items like this one.