“Sneaker” Steve Patiño has been on the vanguard of footwear & culture for two decades. The Queens native has called LA home for the past decade, but his NYC roots & sensibilities have never left. Despite his age, time zone change & all his success, he’s still the same overly excited teenager that was obsessed with sneakers inside. It’s the love & passion that drives him.
His journey to the summit of hypebeast kick culture began almost accidentally when an employee at the local Flushing, Queens sneaker store he frequented asked him to cover him for a few minutes so he could run out. It’s been 25 years, and in many ways, he has still never left.
Patino had a torrid rise from that same passion. He worked for free for months at that same kick shop, getting paid in free sneakers. That opportunity is all he really needed. To say he excelled in that store is an understatement. He leveled up the ranks at a torrid pace, becoming the store’s face and pulse. He was named buyer within the year, and started curating & discovering new brands, silos and had a supernatural gift for knowing what was next, and coming.
Within a year, he was on the radar in a big way in the sneaker & urban fashion world. His eye was bang on, and his innate knowledge of subcultures was a weapon. The brands and designers he dealt with on behalf of the store loved working with him, and his rolodex started becoming elite.
One such brand that took a strong liking to Patino & recognized his passionate potential was New Era. He began working for the iconic hat maker after they offered him a flex role where his skill sets and network could be fluidly used. He started reimagining hats and collaborations for New Era in wildly new ways, elevating the brand’s culture & profile.
That was just the beginning.
His time at New Era led to Patino being hired as the first global director of lifestyle for the skate sneaker company DC Shoes. The New Yorker swapped time zones and coasts as DC moved him to the LA area. Patino was a one man zeitgeist at DC, taking the company from just skate subculture to elite heights never before seen for sneakers.
DC Shoes under Patino's direction went from just skateboarding to the showrooms of Barneys, Collete Paris & DSM.
“I was part of the team that took DC Shoes to Barneys, Colette, Dover Street Market, and Atmos in Tokyo. Later [I] became a partner and President of Android Homme. I moved to China to learn every side of the manufacturing process and helped the company make luxury footwear. I was able to learn and work with some of the best luxury factories and suppliers in the world.”
Patino’s Android Homme was an instant hypebeast staple. The avant-garde, highly futuristic aesthetic was somewhere between Kanye’s “Graduation” energy and what one might imagine the coolest astronaut on the moon to lace up.
Android Homme was conceptualized in Los Angeles and produced in Portugal, thoughtfully constructed using opulent fabrics and equipoised proportions to achieve a highly unique, and then highly jacked, aesthetic.
As great as the past was, it’s the future that excites Patino the most.
The future is ALES GREY.
ALES GREY is a luxury lifestyle brand built from Patiño’s extensive knowledge of both the sneaker and fashion industries. Patiño’s brand, named after his son, is a collection of Italian-made sneakers and clothing, the majority dusted with Swarovski crystals.
ALES GREY's first collection & lookbook, a beautiful homage to 90's subcultures that deployed luxury, sustainable materials.
Patiño had wanted to “build a luxury company with purpose,” so a portion of proceeds from each pair of sneakers sold goes towards supporting the L.A.-based arts education program Inner-City Arts organization. The partnership came by way of his close friendship with LA-based music executive Justin Garza, founder of the Grammy winning collective Dream Adopters, one of the most exciting and future-forward entertainment management in global music right now. Patino & Garza have a long standing friendship & share a love of philanthropy, and when Garza, who is on the Young Professionals Board for the school, presented the opportunity, Patino was enamored. He knew it was the right move.
“After 20 years in the sneaker industry and after the birth of my son, Greyson Alessandro (where name of my brand is derived), it was important for me to create a way to leave a real legacy and pay it forward.”
“Art saved my life, so I am committed to giving back and created Ales Grey to be a company that is focused on giving back to youth arts for future generations through the Art Saved Me campaign.”
The first sneaker dropped was The Battalion, inspired by “retro vintage basketball shoes, skateboard sneakers, and Motocross boots from my days at DC Shoes.”
In many ways, Ales Grey is Patino’s full circle loop. From his 80’s and 90’s come up in NYC, he has crafted a fully sustainable, reimagined collection of sneaker silos. All pull inspo from the energy of mid 90’s subcultures of skateboarding, basketball & hiphop classics featuring luxury materials and patterns that are a wearable homage to the roots of the culture.
Shop and discover the entire collection here.