Emile Lemay-Racine has always been attracted to different artistic media throughout his life. When he isn’t designing, you can find him delving into producing, painting or DJing. To Lemay-Racine, the ability to be multifaceted is part of a bigger aesthetic and finding ways to intersect each of these talents pushes him to be more experimental.
Here is where his brainchild Racine was born.
With a background in industrial design, the Montreal-based creative introduced the world to Racine in 2019, debuting their signature platform cyberpunk-esque shoes. Racine’s creation came after a three-year experimental phase, with the designer developing his vision alongside fashion incubator LIGNES DE FUITE by their mentor Milan Tanedjikov. By the Summer of 2021, Racine was officially incorporated.
“Not being formally trained in fashion allows me to not follow the same train of thought as other creators in the field. We have different preferences, different ways of working,” he says. “Most of my creations are custom orders, which is great because I don’t have to force myself to reinvent the wheel every time, each project brings about new themes and ideas come out organically.”
Aside from their custom made designs, two of the brands ready-for-order shoes, Hedron and Diablo, were inspired by what Lemay-Racine calls sacred geometry and the idea of archetypes.“ Diabolo encapsulates feminine energy and fluidity, a pure creative playfulness, while Hedron is its counterpart, expressing masculine energy, the idea of rationality and brutal grounding in reality,” he says.
While his platform collection is visually entrancing, playing with a geometrically fluid design that oozes both nostalgia and post-digital futurism, the techno influence within Racine’s platforms is ever-present. “[When] I participated in a student exchange in Spain for 6 months, I was in Barcelona where I developed my vision and created a modular shoe inspired by a techno band, Drexciya,” he says.
The influence of Drexciya is deeply-rooted in Racine’s footwear. The Detroit-techno duo’s aquatic synths and astro electronic influences slip into Racine’s designs. “I love exploring binary oppositions, like hard and soft, developing solid prototypes and accessories as an extension of the body, and thinking about how to integrate those concepts in fashion.”
As for Racine’s success, it continues to grow on an international level, with the sport metalware-inspired “R” logo becoming an iconic symbol of the brand, embedded on their footwear.
“I feel very lucky and blessed to see worldwide interest in Racine… I’m so happy that people, specifically artists, engage with my designs,” he says. “I’d like to explore more of the hip-hop and trap scene, as well as the underground rave scene, because the underground [scenes] have always been at the heart of the brand, and I don’t want to lose that by selling out.”
Rhea is Editorial Intern at liminul. She’s a Toronto-based writer with a background in queer subculture, finishing her final year at X University.