Lexani, a well-known luxury rim and wheel brand, branched into the footwear department last year. Now, with the help of veteran pro/designer Felix Arguelles, they are dipping into the skate-shoe market as well. The brand launched with two styles in late 2007, online through lexani.com, branching out soon after into brick-and-mortar retail. “We started to seed the market with small numbers through independents,” says Lexani Lifestyle’s Carlos Parrot. When asked if the distribution channel will become more mainstream, or remain in core shops and boutiques, Arguelles points to Lexani’s popularity as a factor. “I believe the crossover appeal will mean larger distribution at first, but what I designed is reflective of both [mainstream and core], as I am. I proudly pop a tag on a skate shirt and hit a red carpet affair, I feel my shoe design should reflect the same.” Arguelles’ career began in 1987, and he has designed apparel and footwear for Adio, Converse, and even Big Black. He says the partnership with Lexani is a natural step for both parties. “I do ‘me’ wherever I’m at,” he says. “I’ve been in the game too long to let people dress me, design for me, or put me out there in a way I wouldn’t agree to be seen.” Arguelles will work on design and marketing, but will remain in the spotlight as well. “As a professional skateboarder, I find the most fun in challenging myself. That’s why I’ll still skate a contest here and there, or get shook out on the streets.” Arguelles’ model, the El Gato, was added to the BTS 08 line in hi and low versions. The shoes are currently available in chain stores like Finish Line and WSS.In skateboarding, the shoes are currently endorsed by Arguelles and World Industries pro Curtis Colamonico, but the brand has celebrity appeal far beyond that, with Snoop Dogg, Master P, comedian Eddie Griffith and more. The celebrities are featured in Lexani’s magazines and DVDs, which are all available on the Web site.