Meet Abel Teclemariam and Nestor Hernandez: The Celebrity Game Designers

We spoke to the teens about their designs

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As we officially wrap up All-Star Weekend and head into the second half of the season, there’s just one more story we wanted to share. Meet Abel Teclemariam and Nestor ‘Lil Nes’ Hernandez, the teenage designers who made their designing debut this past Friday at the Celebrity All-Star Game. The two were tasked by Converse to create custom jerseys for the celebrity participants as part of the brand’s ongoing efforts to offer greater access to young creatives. Hailing from Boston and Los Angeles respectively, both Teclemariam and Hernandez are both heavily involved in social and community work, which was also part of their selection. 

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Abel Teclemariam / Converse

18-year-old Teclemariam designed the East uniforms, which were a nod to the resilience of the cities in the region, and took inspiration from street art and murals all around cities through the East Coast. 13-year-old Hernandez took on the West uniforms which paid tribute to 1990s culture and style.

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Nestor “Lil Nes” Hernandez / Converse

We spoke with Teclemariam and Hernandez right before the Celebrity Game this weekend to discuss their budding design careers. 

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East and West All-Star Jerseys / Converse

ONE37pm: When did you first discover your love for content creation? 

Teclemariam: I always liked to create art, but design specifically really became something I enjoyed doing starting around my freshman/sophomore year in high school. Once I joined the Possible Zone, I really found a passion for it, and decided that this was something I would like to do in the future.

Hernandez: It all started with my father, who has a background in design. With him working in design for more than 16 years, I’ve been around this field my whole life and once I started putting pen to paper, working on my own creative process to follow in my father’s footsteps, I instantly had a love for it. It just went on from there and skyrocketed.

ONE37pm: Walk us through the feeling you had when you first found out that you were selected to capture the content and behind the scenes for Converse’s celebrity game jerseys.

Teclemariam: I was in shock! It was hard to believe at first, and it’s still hard to believe right now, but overall, I was just really excited. 

Hernandez: Honestly, I was so starstruck. My father was the one who got the news and shared it with me and at first, I didn’t believe it. After that, it just felt amazing and so motivating, so I was super happy about the opportunity as well.

Hernandez: The inspiration behind the design was the 90’s era of basketball, music, and style. Also, I wanted to incorporate how to address social injustice as it was and still is a big problem in the world. Using the movie ‘White Men Can’t Jump’ as a base for social injustice, we grabbed objects and shoes into a minimalist form to create the icons you see on the jersey. Some icons are also from the 1992 LA Riots, where we saw people starting to want more change around racial injustices around the world.

ONE37pm: How long did it take you to finish the design? 

Teclemariam: It took around two months for the initial design, followed by a few more months of edits and revisions and from there it was completed.

Hernandez: The whole design process took a year. From inspiration, to creation of the story and then the pattern, then finally creating mockups and samples, everything was super-fast-paced and nearly all done over Zoom with the various teams at Converse.

ONE37pm also spoke with photographer Andre Weiss, content creator for the East Team, who worked with the designers to capture pictures of the jerseys.

ONE37pm: Walk us through the feeling you had when you first found out that you were selected to capture the content and behind the scenes for Converse’s celebrity game jerseys? 

Weiss: I remember this past May, the Director of Teen Programs at the Institute of Contemporary Art's Teen Programs -the place that made me who I am today as an artist - Betsy Gibbons, let me know that she had an opportunity for me and that she'd call me later that day.

When she called me and the word Converse came out of her mouth, the rush of emotions was all-consuming. I’ve always enjoyed taking photos, but never felt as though my work was good enough to work with a brand as esteemed as Converse on a project such as this, but I was ecstatic and so grateful for the opportunity to work with Converse on behalf of the Institute of Contemporary Art. 

ONE37pm: How long did it take you to finish the edit and what was your editing process? 

Weiss: The editing process took me about two months. I learned so much throughout the process – between new platforms and reshooting to make sure I had the best content – this was a massive growth opportunity for me as a creative and a chance to take on so many new things. I'm glad I had the time and support to learn but also the chance to receive feedback from my partners at Converse in order to improve and make the content even better. 

ONE37pm: Anything fun planned coming up? 

Weiss: I’m looking forward to spending time with friends and taking photos along the way – with spring break coming up, I’m hoping for a road trip or two!! 

All-Star Weekend was a blast. We look forward to seeing more from these very talented creatives.

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