More Black designers are getting their proper shine this year, and Salehe Bembury — Vice President of Sneakers & Men’s Footwear at Versace — is the latest among the bunch to be recognized for his achievements.

Bembury, a renowned designer that’s credited with bringing the Italian fashion brand to the forefront of the sneaker scene, has been named the 2020 Designer of the Year by Footwear News.

According to Footwear News, Bembury helped introduce Versace’s Chain Reaction sneaker to the fashion world in 2018 and most recently its Squalo and Trigreca styles as well.

Additionally, this year he’s also been stepping into his own independent projects to further his impact in the industry.

“The majority of my time and attention is spent on Versace — that’s the thing that inspires me the most and what I have my head buried in most of the time,” Bembury told FN. “And because footwear is my passion, I’m able to work on the side things without really seeing it as extra stress. It’s just more fun for me. Because I manage my time and my work well, [Versace] was nice enough to let me juggle these different projects.”

Footwear News also reports that Bembury has had the opportunity to work with many well-known figures in the music and entertainment industry, including musician, John Mayer, who unveiled Bembury’s new-look New Balance 2002R in July, and actor Jesse Williams who helped promote the collaboration.

Bembury is setting himself up for a bright future in the fashion industry as he’s expected to release a project with China-based athletic label Anta before the year is up.


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“Not only was it a collaborative exercise from an aesthetic standpoint and building a full shoe, but I also created a technology that they’re going to use across the brand,” he told FN in regards to the brand collaboration’s potential impact.

Bembury is set to be honored in December at the first virtual Footwear News Achievement Awards.

Attendees can RSVP for the awards ceremony HERE.