This month on In the Wings, we’ve been chatting with entrepreneurs. Last week, I got a chance to sit down with Noel Alvarado, a custom sneaker designer here in Milwaukee.
Originally from Puerto Rico, Noel came to Milwaukee at four years old. He grew up with artistic passions, particularly in fashion, buying a new pair of shoes almost every week. He turned his passion for kicks into his career.
For a few years now, Noel has been airbrushing shoes for Milwaukeeans looking to add a one of a kind look to their shoes. After stumbling upon the craft via social media, Noel quickly took to the designing game, elevating it and creating his None Above brand.
He built a local client base in Milwaukee that has a people coming back for more sneakers. He was working on a pair of Milwaukee Bucks Air Force Ones when I met up with him.
“[This guy] wants all the Wisconsin teams… he comes back for more every couple of months.”
Noel designed and painted a few pair of shoes for NBA basketball player Charlie Villanuella. He has also painted sneakers for international athletes and college level players.
His first professional athlete client was Dannell Ellerbe, a former linebacker for the Miami Dolphins. Instagram heightened his marketing.
“Instagram is more for the athletes, celebrities, stuff like that. Facebook is more local.”
Noel currently paints out of the 2035 Studios located on Milwaukee’s northside. The studio has a collective of visual artists and musicians working on their crafts within the same space.
Check out more of Noel’s designs in the gallery below our interview.