One pandemic night two years ago, I was scrolling through my phone, brain matter liquefying into a slimy mush, when I came across a photo of an old pair of Nike sneakers that stopped me dead. They were beautiful, odd, slightly biophilic, and while I knew they were from the brand’s exterior-focused ACG line, I didn’t know anything else. After some light research and with the help of a DM from a friend who is fluent in rare shoes, I learned that these were the Nike Air Terra Albis II, which were released in 1998. A few googles later , I found an unsold pair of my size at BK towers (technically a slightly larger women’s size, but the colorway described as a “tide blue/aquamarine” was too good to pass up). Added to cart. To verify.
They quickly became the favorite kid in my shoe rotation, and I wore them everywhere we were allowed to go at the time: to walk the dog. Go out on hikes. To walk the dog again. At one point, I even managed to sneak them into a GQ broadcast, which led to a personal lifelong dream come true when a stranger on Instagram asked “ID on shoes?” in the comments.
Then, not even a year later, disaster struck while I was climbing stairs and one of the heels broke. The Zoom foam – two decades old by this point – had started to crumble and the outsole had started to peel away like a big scab. I went home and tried randomly to put everything back together to no avail. I thought the shoes were gone, but for some reason I had trouble throwing them away. For the next few months, they kind of sat on our shoe rack, never worn.
Then one day I saw an Instagram story that featured the work of goods services, a new kind of cobbler based in Los Angeles. Except Goods & Services doesn’t operate exactly like your average shoe repair shop. Instead, he attracted a devoted following by performing a truly out-of-the-ordinary reconstructive surgery: Birkenstock Bostons modernized with wavy shark-shaped soles. Rick Owens dunks, rescued from the piss-yellow abyss with new sticky outsoles. Merrell Hydromocs, which are sort of attached on chunky Vibram treads. It’s a real Frankenshoe lab, where dead sneakers are somehow reanimated and reinvented.
Maybe the store could even work some magic on my ACGs.
The mad scientist behind Goods & Services is Rory Fortune, a fashion industry veteran who got into DIY in 2016 when he moved from New York to Los Angeles. “It’s like learning to play the guitar or something,” Fortune tells me. “You keep going, you get a little better, you watch YouTube videos, you learn tricks.” Eventually, he bought his own treadle machine – an old mechanical sewing machine – on Craigslist for $500 and practiced his stitch.
Then he bought a few other big, bulky machines he didn’t have space for, and decided to open Goods & Services as a physical studio in 2019, and is currently based in the arts district of Los Angeles. .