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  • How This Student Went From Shy Kid To Successful Footwear Designer

    Being a quiet kid has its advantages.
    by Kitty Elicay .
How This Student Went From Shy Kid To Successful Footwear Designer
PHOTO BY (FROM LEFT) Instagram/k_rey05, Kevin Reyes via Esquire Philippines
  • Parents tend to worry about a lot of things, including whether their “shy” child will be able to explore the world on their own and have many accomplishments in the future. But as the success story of Kevin Reyes proves, being a quiet kid can also give you an advantage, especially if you have the love and support of your parents to pursue your dreams.

    Kevin is a soft-spoken, 32-year-old with a really cool job: he designs your favorite Nike sneakers for a living. He was born and raised in the Philippines and attended college at the University of Santo Tomas. When he was 20 years old, their family had to migrate to the United States in search of a better life.

    The late 2000s was a challenging time for the Reyeses, Kevin recalls in an interview with Esquire Philippines.

    “I always will look back to 2009. It had been a while since my parents had work and they had three mouths to feed,” he shares.

    “It’s a testament to how lucky I am with the parents I have because they really did a good job of shielding me and my sisters from what was going on behind the scenes. They tried their best to make it feel like it was business as usual, but I could tell deep down that if we kept going, things could have gotten super difficult,” the footwear designer adds.

    When their petition for a Green Card was approved, Kevin’s parents had to make a tough decision to move to the United States and leave behind their two youngest children, both girls. Meanwhile, Kevin, who was in his junior year in college, had to temporarily halt his schooling.

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    “I was in my junior year when we decided to uproot and move,” he tells Esquire Philippines. “My parents and I flew out and there was literally no plan. We just had the clothes that we had and whatever money in our pockets. It was a restart.”

    Chasing his dreams

    As a kid, Kevin dreamed of becoming a cartoonist or designing sneakers for his favorite basketball stars. “I always felt like I had design in my blood. My mom was an interior designer in the Philippines. That’s where people say I get it from,” he shares.

    When he continued his studies in Industrial Design at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, where their family settled, this dream of his came true: he was able to take up Footwear Design with his major.

    According to Esquire Philippines, Kevin first caught the attention of sneaker companies in the East Coast and got an internship at New Balance and Reebok. Then, Nike came calling.

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    In 2015, he started work at the Nike World Headquarters. A few years later, he was able to design the Nike Mamba Focus – “a takedown model of the late great Kobe Bryant’s signature shoe.” His latest design for another NBA star, Giannis Antetokounmpo, will be launching soon.

    From a shy kid to the Philippines to a successful footwear designer in the US, Kevin is proof that dreams can come true if you work hard for it. Even better if you’re pursuing your passion.

    “Have fun in that journey. I knew that this is what I wanted to do when I was basically broke, I had nothing, not in the best living conditions, but I still wanted to do it. I was happy every day that I did it and I was willing to do anything really to get to my goal,” he says.

    Got a shy child? Click here for tips to boost his confidence so he can express himself more.

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