LA Sketches: Sneakers and the Man From Taroudant

15 February, 2022
Dream­er-design­er Khalid Naitze­hou, the man from Taroudant, in his work­shop at L.A.‘s Farm­ers Mar­ket (all pho­tos cour­tesy Julian DeGuz­man and SD Footwear School).

 

Khalid Naitze­hou was born into an Amazigh vil­lage in rur­al south­ern Moroc­co and moved to Taroudant with his fam­i­ly as a young boy. When he was nine, he began an appren­tice­ship with a local san­dal mak­er in Taroudant, where his hard work eth­ic, artis­tic pas­sion, and cre­ativ­i­ty was ignit­ed. “The first shoe mas­ter I worked for as a kid,” Khalid recalls, “made us cel­e­brate Thurs­days as our ‘cre­ative day,’ when we would use left­over mate­ri­als to cre­ate some­thing new, includ­ing bracelets, key­chains and san­dals. That was when my cre­ativ­i­ty real­ly kicked in, and it had the addi­tion­al ben­e­fit of mak­ing me good at drawing.”

Fast­for­ward to the present day — Khalid now lives in L.A. and owns a shoe repair shop at the orig­i­nal Farm­ers Mar­ket at Fair­fax and 3rd Streets, where he leads cre­ativ­i­ty projects and per­forms repairs for each cus­tomer with a unique approach and atten­tion to detail. Whether it be a heel replace­ment, arch sup­port, hand­bag repair, or cus­tom foot chal­lenge, he will design some­thing unique and comfortable.

In Jan­u­ary 2022, Khalid enrolled in a four-day Cus­tom Sneak­er Course offered by “SD Cus­tom Footwear,” to cus­tom-build a Nike high­top sneak­er. Khalid packed his bag with Moroc­can mate­ri­als not know­ing what he would cre­ate but that his design would be inspired by his roots and soul.

His cus­tom designed sneak­er is titled “My Jour­ney: Moroc­co to Cal­i­for­nia.” Khalid adds, “My busi­ness slo­gan is ‘inspired by Moroc­co, hand­made in Cal­i­for­nia’! One of my secrets is that I use all left­over recy­cled leather from com­pa­nies in down­town L.A., which makes my hand­mades affordable.”

The fab­ric along the high­top sides and the car­pet on the tongue are tex­tiles that he grew up see­ing, feel­ing, and work­ing with in Taroudant. The two cloth por­tions on the sides are con­nect­ed in the front with a bright red leather to rep­re­sent a bright future ahead and a black piece of leather in the back to rep­re­sent his her­itage and con­nec­tion to Moth­er Africa. 

As a young shoe design­er in Moroc­co, Khalid used to view the US as an exot­ic land filled with dif­fer­ent mate­ri­als that were not com­mon­ly used in Taroudant. The most unique leather that he dreamed of touch­ing and work­ing with was alli­ga­tor leather, thus there is a small accent piece of alli­ga­tor on the back edge of the high­top, which con­nects his past with the future that lies ahead. 

 

 

 

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alae ddine
alae ddine
7 months ago

Good job khalid, you make us proud 🙏🏽