Big Fish owner and sneaker enthusiast Leck Lilayuva wins shoe design competition

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“The vote took place around 6 p.m. Wednesday night and ended at 6 p.m. the next day, California time,” Leck said. “I got people to vote in five different countries. America, Czech Republic, Amsterdam, Bangkok and France. I called all my friends and told your friends to vote. I was just shocked. Even a few other guys over there said ‘you know nobody’s going to win with her in this.’ “

The name of her winning design is an intensely personal story that has two important meanings that Leck wrote about in his biography for the class. Fishscale is urban slang for “very high quality cocaine, usually immediate and uncut.” Doesn’t look like regular coke – it’s flaky instead of grainy, ”reads one Urban Dictionary definition.

In his youth, it was a big part of his life. When Leck left that behind, he and his wife Jana worked in restaurants together and in 2010 opened and continue to operate the big hit Big Fish.

From his class biography:

“Fish scale is the most appropriate word that combines past and present so perfectly, simply because of its metaphor and irony. So much the same … but so different! The color (white / black / blue) dictates the tone (of) the beauty of a fish in the water.

“Over 20 years ago, I discovered the world of partying. The cocaine, “fish scale” was my demon. It brought out who I was but surpassed any ambitions of who I wanted to be. At the moment, it looks great. After many nights of partying and sinking the next day, I always found myself in the mall of a bookstore reading self-help books to try and feel better. After my “last party” I was on my way to this bookstore and walked or was rather universally drawn to a travel agency. I ended up buying a one-way ticket to the United States scheduled for the next day. I was at the bottom. It was in 2004.

“I returned to the United States and ravaged my cold addictions. Hurricane Ivan arrived two months after my return and destroyed my hometown. It humbled me deep inside. (In) 2006 I met my future wife and in 2007 we got married. I grew up in the restaurant business. My wife fled communism 23 years ago from the Czech Republic. We also met in the restaurant business. After working together in a few restaurants, we decided to open one on our own.

“Jan. 5th, 2010 Big Fish was born. So I went from fish scale to … fish scale. My life went from negative to positive, oh baby baby.

At first, Leck thought the story might be too personal to share, but ultimately decided to accept it.

“It was a pretty crazy story and I was quite hesitant to publish it because it’s a bit personal, but again that’s what brought me here and made me stop doing everything and get away from those feelings, ”he said.

Leck had to physically manufacture the first shoe with materials provided with the course fee of around $ 3,500. Once this shoe is finished, a machine in the workshop makes the other shoe, imitating it exactly, except one for the right foot, one for the left.

“For me, cutting each piece by hand would take me about eight hours,” he said. “We made a shoe. They have a machine to make the other shoe and it takes about 15 seconds. He spits it out. It’s crazy. They’ve set up the process for you.

Now, the Fishscale shoes will be produced in a limited series and a pair will cost around $ 4,500, he said.

“From what I hear, I’m supposed to get 25 percent of it,” Leck said. “I heard this from other classes he had. The class was $ 3,500, so if I sell three pairs of shoes, it comes down to $ 3,000, flight and hotel, and so on. Hope there are 10 pairs. Every class he had, on every student who had won, was full. He sells the shoes. It’s so crazy what he’s doing.


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