Academy of Art University’s Industrial Design alumni Kevin Reyes already has a slam dunk career designing footwear for Nike. Sneakerheads will remember the “Mamba Focus” designed by Reyes, which launched in 2019 in honor of NBA legend Kobe Bryant.
In a recent interview, Reyes talked about his experience designing the new “Giannis Immortality,” a sub-line released as part of NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo’s incredibly successful Zoom Freak signature series.
Choosing the Academy
Reyes was 20 years old when their family gave up everything in the Philippines to start over in the US. His mother was an interior designer back in the Philippines, so with design in his blood, Reyes chose to attend Academy of Art University. It was here that Reyes found inspiration, encouragement, and perseverance.
In another interview, Reyes recounts what it was like to pursue his education, support himself and his family, and the importance of having passion for what you do.
“When I always look back, [when] I was working my way through University…and pulling all-nighters. It was also really fun because I was just getting lost in the creativity and the work that goes into trying to create something that pushes the envelope on whatever it is.”
By the end of his senior year in the Academy’s School of Industrial Design program, Reyes pushed the envelope and designed a shoe that was functional, affordable, stylish, and with his Filipino basketball-loving friends in mind. He called the two-way everyday shoe the Neo.
With a BFA from Academy and the Neo in his portfolio, Reyes was able to intern with New Balance and later begin his career as a Nike Footwear Designer.
The Big Shot
After completing several successful shoe designs with Nike, Reyes says the “Giannis Immortality” is the big one he’s been waiting for.
“I felt I was able to run away with it. I really hope that people feel that when they see it. And feel great when they play with it on the court.”