After being named 2020’s Footwear Designer of the Year earlier in December, Salehe Bembury has announced his departure from his role as Vice President of Sneakers and Men’s Footwear at Versace. Bembury, who has been with the Italian luxury house since September 2017, confirmed to HYPEBEAST that his current contract with Versace will be expiring at the end of the year and that he intends to pursue new opportunities in 2021.
Along with continuing his collaborative efforts with New Balance and ANTA — partnerships that produced one of 2020’s most highly-regarded sneakers and two high-tech, affordably-priced hiking shoes, respectively — Bembury will launch his own brand in 2021. Details of what will be produced by this brand are forthcoming.
During his time at Versace, Bembury brought a jolt of energy to the brand’s footwear offerings. Most notable among his creations were the 2 Chainz-approved Chain Reaction, an Apple-inspired retro sneaker, the wavy SQUALO and — most recently — the patterned Trigreca.
“Donatella Versace offered me a life changing opportunity, and Versace offered me a platform,” Bembury told HYPEBEAST. “Often individuals that look like me are not put in the same position. This significant detail was not taken for granted and ultimately I hope that my role is used as a vehicle for progress. I am forever grateful for what was bestowed upon me and extremely proud of what we were able to achieve.”
For more footwear news, check out a a September profile on Bembury, written ahead of his New Balance collaboration’s launch, and take a deep dive into how New Balance won 2020.
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