Customizing Clothing with Art

Photo by Rachel Coward

Photo by Rachel Coward

Rvinbow Coalition Concepts (aka BOCOCO) is a startup in Renton run by two Washington natives that’s transforming footwear and sports and motorcycle gear into customized works of art — and helping those in need in the process.

Z’heir Khali, a former high school and junior college football athlete, doesn’t have an art background, but that hasn’t stopped the self-proclaimed “sneakerhead” from pursuing his knack for fashion and desire to give back to the community. He sports what he creates, and people are always stopping him to find out where he got his cool shoes.

“I never thought that I could be somebody that could make money off of it. I really just thought that it would be something cool to do, and I would have my own shoes. I guess it just grew from there,” said Khali, who got the idea about a year ago after seeing a Bacardi ad featuring a shoe artist.

Today Khali and marketing and communications executive Kipepeo “Pep” Brown are on a mission to break down doors and become a staple within the community — and provide some pretty unique shoes and other gear along the way.

Whether customers are looking to jazz up new shoes with a touch of art, breathe new life into their favorite sneakers with a custom concept, or simply restore aging footwear, the company has a little something for everyone.

The custom concepts are currently available by connecting on their website, but the company is eyeing potential locations for a small pop-up shop.

“People don’t always get the opportunity to make it out (of a rough background) like I did, and that is where a sense of giving back comes from.”

Meanwhile, the company remains committed to giving back to those in need by regularly making and distributing meals for people living on the streets and providing custom shoes and clothes that may be flawed or did not sell.

“I come from a very rough background, and I know that the struggles that I went through as a child a lot of other people actually do go through. And a lot of people on the very opposite side of the coin know nothing about it and, therefore, they either view it in a way where they judge it wrong or they are too tenderhearted about it,” said Khali. “But I know that people don’t always get the opportunity to make it out of there like I did, and that is where a sense of giving back comes from.”

Looking ahead, Khali is not only interested in distributing cool fashion but also in breaking down barriers. “In five years, I would definitely see BOCOCO as a staple in the Emerald City community, not just in the consumer-producer sense. I should not only inspire similar businesses, but I should be able to break down doors and pave roads ahead for them with sponsored programs by Rvinbow Coalition that provide workshops, seminars, also pop-up shops for their businesses, whatever they may be — grants and employment,” said Khali. “[And] I’m really, really focused on sponsoring athletes, not just ball sport athletes but extreme sport athletes.”

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