Mockups are labor of love over three years in the making. They were designed, developed, and financed by Louie Gong of Eighth Generation, one of the nation’s most successful custom shoe artists. Louie is a Native of mixed heritage (Nooksack, Squamish, Chinese, French, Scottish) who was raised by his grandparents, father, and stepmom in Ruskin, B.C. and in the Nooksack tribal community. Growing up in a home with no running water, Louie’s background serves as a stark contrast to his current success.
In under five years, Louie catapulted from a unknown beginner artist to appearing in major media like the New York Times, being the subject of the documentary UNRESERVED, exhibiting at the Indigenous Fashion Show at the Vancouver Winter Olympics, speaking nationally and overseas, amassing nearly 60,000 fans on Facebook, and hand-drawing almost 200 different custom shoes. As former president of MAVIN, Louie is also a national leader in the mixed race movement, and amassed over 18 years of experience in the education field (read more about Louie in his bio).
Louie still finds time to give back — through giveaways, instructional custom shoe videos, pro-bono design work, and providing workshops on art and identity to folks of all ages and across the nation. While sharing his knowledge about shoe customization through over 40 custom shoe workshops, Louie recognized that it was out of reach for people that didn’t have much money or art experience. In response, he created Mockups, a DIY design toy intended make the process of creating custom art more accessible and less intimidating for people of all ages and artistic abilities (and classroom friendly!). Truly a “DIY” project from start to finish, Louie arrived at the final Mockups prototype after three years of trial and error, product development, and expending money earned through workshops and public speaking.
By launching Mockups, Louie’s goal is to inspire others through innovative business practices guided by cultural values. He also intends to follow the advice of his father, who once said “If you want to be successful, you have to have the courage to risk failure.” As his past projects can attest, Louie’s definition of success means creating new pathways for expression, empowerment, and self-determination.