WALK THIS WAy
c an you kick it? m e e t 1 0 g u y s Wh o h av e L e F t i n d eL i bL e F o o t p r i n t s o n s n e a k e r culture . by ben Jamin Le szcz
Hiros H i fujiwara
L o c at i o n : t o k y o
Fav o r i t e pa i r : n i k e F o o t scape
Hiroshi Fujiwara, who has
collaborated with Levi’s,
Burton, Converse, and Nike,
has been called both the
godfather of Harajuku culture
and the man who brought
hip-hop to Japan. He is the
head of Fragment Design.
How are you so good at
How long Have you
i don’t really collect them; i
just wear them. many people
buy two pairs of sneakers—
one to wear, one to collect.
i understand this. they like
to share in a community.
How mucH do you tHink
predicting wHat people about tHe commercial
will like? people don’t aspect of sHoe design?
know what they like. if there’s i don’t. i just design what i
a new sneaker, people don’t want to wear. nike under-
want to say, “i like it.” they stands me, so [they] let me
are waiting for someone else design, and then they think
to say something. and i can about the market. they make
say it first. i try to be really a few hundred or thousand,
honest, so people trust my and if many people like them,
taste. now, if i say, “that’s a they will make more.
good sneaker,” many people
say, “oh, i thought so. i didn’t so tHe wild popularity
say it before, but i thought of tHe air force ones
so.” you designed is just
luck? the air Force one was
pieter “ parra” janssen wHere’s tHe sneaker already very popular before
L o c at i o n : am s t e r d a m c oL L e c t i o n s i z e : 5 0 pa i r s world at now? compa- me. anyway, it’s not the shoe
Fav o r i t e pa i r : re m a d e v i n ta g e WaF F L e c o rt e z n i k e s nies were doing too many that i really like. i don’t
reissues and colorways. the hate it, but i much prefer to
Pieter “Parra” Janssen in touch with nike. some products that i don’t movement became too big, do something new.
started skateboarding at i did some nikes, and then understand. but if i start and people left. i’m sure it’ll
age 10, competing seriously some etnies. i was really thinking like that, i will end come back again in five wHy do you enjoy
until his mid-20s, when he happy when vans asked up very bitter. i’m trying to or 10 years. it’s natural; it’s designing sneakers?
switched his focus to art. because it’s one of my keep it romantic. like everything. Like art or everyone needs sneakers.
These days, he’s best known favorite brands; i used to watches or whatever people ninety percent of the shoes
for his iconic club posters be sponsored by them. wHat was your inspira- collect—there are changes. i wear are sneakers, so i’m
and flyers, his apparel line, tion in designing tHese happy to make sneakers
rockwell Clothing, and his wHat’s tHe connection sHoes? pure skateboarding. that i want to wear. i’m going
sneaker designs for the likes between art and skat- on one pair it even says, to wear sneakers forever.
of Nike and Vans. ing? i think it’s a freedom don’t forget to actually skate
thing, not wanting to work in these.
wHat was tHe first pair for somebody. skating
of sHoes tHat you really relates to art because it’s How does living in
loved? the first skate shoes an individual thing. amsterdam inform your
i had were secondhand air- work? it’s a bit of seedi-
walks. they were two sizes is tHere a contradic- ness, a bit of dark humor, a
p h ot o gr a p h e d by k e nta r o o s hi o
too big, and there was glue tion between tHe bit of sexual stuff, because
on them. i wore them day skateboarding culture this city oozes that. a certain
and night until they literally of rebellion and tHe amount of absurdity. i don’t
fell apart. big-business reality of know exactly, but i know for
it? definitely. i’m collaborat- sure i’d make different stuff
How did you get into ing with vans, my youthful if i lived in Los angeles.
sneaker design? dream. though vans still
my friends own the sneaker has that skateboarding core,
store patta, and they put me they’re huge. and they make
photographed by naomi nuyten
T H E S T o r E
o W N E r S
oliver mak, jay gordon, dan n.
L o c at i o n : b o s t o n Fav o r i t e pa i r :
m a k: co n v e r s e J a c k p u r c eL L s W i t h
c h e c k pL a i d L i n i n g & t r i m
g o r d o n: o r i g i n aL ni k e a i r m a x 9 5
d a n: Jo r d a n i v
Since opening Bodega in ones. i was 12. i was sitting
may 2006, native Bostonians on a basketball court, and
oliver mak, Jay Gordon, this dude came up to
and Dan N. have become me wearing them. everyone
some of the most revered just stopped and looked.
shop owners—and most it was amazing.
—in the sneaker universe. is it tougH cHoosing
They’ve worked with between tHe dopest
reebok, Saucony, Puma, sneakers and tHe ones
THE GU r U
Converse, adidas, and you tHink will sell?
rockport, among others. om: it’s too bad that the
best stuff isn’t always what
wHat inspired tHe moves. but this isn’t a
j e f f n g , a . k . a . j e f f s ta p l e concept for bodega — volume business. it’s about
L o c at i o n : n eW y o r k c i t y c oL Le c t i o n si z e : 4 5 0 pa i r s a sHoe store Hidden contributing to the dialogue.
( “ a L L Wi t h a p oLa r o i d ta p e d t o t h e F r o n t oF th e b o x . ” ) beHind a functioning
Fav o r i t e pa i r : n i k e p i g e o n du n k grocery store? om: consensus is tHat tHe
bodegas are ubiquitous in limited-edition sneaker
Jeff Ng’s career began it was literally a childhood there’s a lot of wackness. it’s new york city, so there’s a bubble Has burst. is tHat
in 1997, when he snuck dream come true. i would so oversaturated. there are reference to the birthplace of bad news for you?
into the silkscreen lab at fantasize about what it was so many stores, magazines, sneaker culture. and meta- dn: From a business stand-
Parsons design school with like behind those doors. but blogs. everyone is a sneaker phorically, a sneaker store is point, hype is good because
a pillowcase full of blank it’s also like seeing how designer now, literally, with like a market with perishable it keeps the revenue coming.
T-shirts. He is now the head a magic trick is done—it’s nike id. Five years ago, you goods. What’s more perish- but in another sense, it’s good
of Staple Design. kind of a spoiler. used to be able to walk into able than fashion? it has a that it’s peaked, because it
a room and murder people nice illicit quality as well; it weeded out the people who
wHen did you get into wHy was tHe nike with your shoes. now it’s like, feels like it should be illegal. were in it for superficial
sneakers? it’s been an pigeon dunk, wHicH you “oh. you’re that dude.” reasons. now you have the
addiction since sixth grade. designed in 2005, sucH did you always Have a people that have always
my first job was processing a landmark? at the release, wHere’s tHe sneaker strong connection witH been there—the people who
p h o t o g r a p h e d b y peggy ann macdonne LL film in a one-hour photo the lineup turned into a world going? now that sneakers? Jg: i remember are in it for the love.
studio, and with every check, mini-riot. the nypd came. sneaker culture has hit this the first time i saw air Force
i’d go to Foot Locker. i was there were weapons found mainstream pinnacle, you
buying sneakers once a and arrests made. it was on have independent people
week. my parents thought i the front page of the paper, who are saying, “Fuck what’s
was nuts. and people all of sudden saw going on? i want to make
what was going on in the my own shit.” it’s how street
were your friends into sneaker world. now, we have culture always happens.
it? in high school, the guys who work for citibank
[other kids] were like, “how and merrill Lynch spending wHat’s next from you?
come you never wear their bonuses on footwear. We recently signed a deal
the same sneakers twice?” before that, it was just with airwalk and payless
straight-up sneakerheads. shoes. it’s for all the kids who
How was your first visit look at hypebeast everyday,
120 to nike Headquarters,
in beaverton, oregon?
wHat’s your read on
sneaker culture today?
but can’t afford to drop 250
bucks on a pair of shoes.
photographed by derek vincent
pedro “busy p” winter
Location: paris coLLection size: 200+ pairs Favorite
pair: nike d.u.n.k.L.e. (u.n.k.L.e. x Futura x nike sb)
Pedro Winter, who DJs municate, but really, they’re be different. nike id is great.
photo g r aph ed b y c h r i s sh o n ti n g
p h o t o g r a p h e d b y Fred rambaud
under the alias Busy P, was getting closer and closer. it proposes to kids: try to
Daft Punk’s manager for create. don’t wear the same
12 years. Ed Banger, the wHat connection do you shoes as your friends.
label he started in 2002, is Have to skateboarding,
home to some of the world’s tHe otHer element of wHat do you tHink about
biggest electronica acts, sneaker culture? i spent tHe kids selling your
including Justice. 10 years of my life on a af1s for $500 on ebay?
skateboard. i skated in the i’ve seen $1,000! spending
wHat appealed to you late ’80s and early ’90s, that much money on shoes
about participating in when airwalk was a major is extreme. but this thing of
nike’s 1world collec- thing. i was crazy about queuing at the stores to buy
tion? designing shoes those shoes. the shoes, and then reselling T H E D E S I G N Er
is something that’s very them? i can’t condemn it. We sung cH oi
different from my business wHicH culture would knew it would get crazy. but L o c at i o n : L o s a n g eL e s c oLL ection
and my passion, so i did it you say your af1s repre- we just do our thing, and we s i z e : 3 0 0 + pa i r s Fav o r i t e pair:
for fun. and i’m interested sent? rather than reflecting let the kids do their thing. v i n ta g e o r i g i n aL ro d L av ers
in the way that music, art, a culture or being influenced
fashion, and sneakers can by skateboarding or hip-hop, wHat’s next for you? Sung Choi, who moved from shoe hybrid is the main
all mix together. the shoes reflect a moment We have new projects with Seoul to Queens in 1979, thing brewing. a lot of
in time. nike and etnies. We’re completed a degree in independents are creating
was it odd for someone going to try something a bit economics before helping a a product that’s not coming
wHo comes from tHe do you wisH tHat nike more adult than our aF1, friend create Triple 5 Soul from the shoe monsters.
world of electronica to Had made more tHan 400 which was for crazy freaks in 1989. After stints with it’s refreshing. the big boys
design a sHoe associated pairs? We could have done like us. now, we are trying the clothing line PNB, which are playing catch-up.
witH Hip-Hop? maybe for more, but it’s nice that people to be classier. We’re becom- he founded, and DC Shoes,
some people, hip-hop and who have the shoes feel spe- ing adults. where he was a designer, he wHat’s tHe relationsHip
electronica are different cial. i like the crazy limited launched Clae in 2001. between sneaker design
worlds that can’t com- editions, because people can and tHe real world?
wHen did you start some footwear designers
tHinking about design? in the ’90s had no perception
i learned fashion before i of the culture. the perfect
learned english. i used to example is the kobe adidas
work at my parents’ friends’ ii, modeled after the audi tt.
menswear store in harlem the shoe looks like a toaster!
do you tHink tHe
How did your vision limited-edition tHing
for clae evolve out of got out of Hand?
your experience at dc? there have definitely been
For four years at dc i was too many unwarranted
trying to slim down the skate collaborations. it’s cheating
shoe—it looked like a loaf the footwear. but we go
of bread. i created clae full circle, and there’s a
to address the void between trend now for classically
sneakers and shoes. styled footwear. it’s about
understated design. to get
do you tHink tHat void the message across, you
still exists? right now, can scream—or you can
i feel like the sneaker–dress whisper.
cH ris aylen
T H E c o l l E cT o r
L o c at i o n : L o n d o n c oL L e c t i o n s i z e : 3 2 0 pa i r s
Fav o r i t e pa i r : h y p e r bL u e n i k e ai r m a x
Chris Aylen worked three
jobs during college to support
his sneaker habit. The
tongues out. if you were
painting graffiti, you’d write
your name on the back of
wHat’s tHe HigHligHt of
your collection? i have
about 50 pairs of the air max
founder of CrookedTongues. your shoes, and you’d want plus in different colorways.
com and a former consultant something that wouldn’t soak and i’ve got a lot of technical
to Nike, Puma, New Balance, up too much paint. i was into running shoes from the
and adidas, Aylen is among skateboarding, and i had ’90s, when brands were
the world’s foremost sneaker different shoes for that, too. trying experimental things.
was tHere an overlap wHat’s your collecting
T H E E D I T o r wHen did you get into between tHe Hip-Hop and pHilosopHy? i don’t follow
s i m o n “w o o d y ” w o o d sneakers? i remember skateboarding worlds? the crowd. i’m interested in
L o c at i o n : m eL b o u r n e seeing the rock steady though they mesh now, they a collection that tells you
Fav o r i t e pa i r : pu m a b La z e oF crew on tv when they first didn’t back then. a lot of something about a person’s
g L o ry ( “i d e s i g n e d i t Fo r played London in 1983. i my skating friends had no character.
p u m a . it ’ s t h e m o s t b e a u t iFu L was seven or eight. i got into interest in hip-hop. i’d take
shoe i’ve ever seen.”) hip-hop, and started b- a spare pair of shoes in How Have you stayed
boying. i started asking my bag to change into once passionate for so long?
Simon “Woody” Wood worked of streetwear, there have for sneakers instead of toys i put my skateboard down. every now and then i’ll see
in advertising, fashion, and always been peaks and as birthday gifts. a pair, and it’s a weird
film before launching the troughs. it just takes a whole wHere do you keep feeling, like, “ah, i like
globally influential website bunch of new kids to come wHat was tHe connection all your sHoes? my those.” and you may not get
and magazine sneaker along and kick it up again. between sneakers and apartment is absolutely them then and there, but
Freaker on a whim, in 2002. Hip-Hop? it was all about full of them. they’re on top two weeks later you’re still
wHo’s got tHe edge rigHt looking the freshest. if you of bookshelves, under the thinking about them.
wHat inspired you to now? nike’s number one were b-boying, you wanted to bed, in the wardrobe, in the
start snEakEr FrEakEr? for a reason, but adidas have fat laces and your attic.... they’re everywhere.
my idea was to get as many has really picked up their
free shoes as possible. really, game. at the moment, it’s all
it comes from my love of quite conservative—it’s all
footwear. i moved to London geography-teacher shoes.
in the early ’90s, around the how do you make something
time the air rift came out. it stand out when you’re
was this split-toe shoe that making things out of beige
really polarized people, but canvas?
it epitomized an excitement
about shoe design. wHat do you do witH
all tHe extra sHoes
How Has public you Have in tHe office?
perception of sneaker in our old office, we threw
culture cHanged? it’s maybe 200 shoes on a power
funny; in the space of two line. it looked amazing;
years, sneaker collecting people were stopping in
went from a nerdy thing to the street. one day, some
the coolest thing. online kids taped four broomsticks
culture really accelerated together, and put a flame
p h ot o gr a p h e d by p h iL ay L e n
that process. on the end and burned the
laces to get the shoes down.
wHat’s your opinion of unfortunately, they set fire
today’s sneaker market? to the power lines. the
i think it’s at a point where entire neighborhood nearly
it needs some fresh energy. burned down. We won’t do
if you look at the history of that again.
skateboarding or the history
photographed by virginia cumm i n s