My love of fashion and sneakers goes back to my childhood. I think it’s rooted in the fact you can tweak and change things day to day depending on your mood and vibe. With sneakers in particular, my passion came from a really young age, growing up watching the Chicago Bulls, that affiliation with Michael Jordan and seeing that culture grow. As I’ve got older, everything’s been amplified through digital means – it’s definitely fair to say I’m an addict now.
I remember buying my first pair of Jordans. They were Jordan Chicagos and I got them in the mid-90s. It was a really big deal for me – I don't think anyone where I grew up (in Exeter) was wearing that kind of thing at the time. The obsession was so real that I remember going to the store and settling for the last pair in stock – they were two sizes too big. I bought them anyway and used to shove socks into the end of the shoes just so I could wear them.
The hype around trainers is something I’d trace back to the 90s. To me it was a culture that turned into a commodity. Even back then, you would have people queuing up overnight to cop a pair of shoes. There’s also an element of status too. I compare it to driving a nice car and passing someone else in the same car. Sneakers are a similar thing, particularly in the US where people will literally stop you in the street and say, “Hey bro, I love your kicks!” I guess it’s this idea of community and appreciation for something rare. Take that to the present day, amplify it with social media and it's moved to a whole new level. Throw in the way attitudes towards dressing have shifted since Covid – even in the City you’ll see plenty of men and women wearing suits with trainers to work – and the market for sneakers is getting even bigger.
It’s important to cut through the noise. While a lot of trainer culture is based around hype, it’s important to not be overly focused on that. Right now, for example, consider the Tiffany Air Force 1s. When you take away the exclusivity of the fact there’s only 1,000 of them out there, are they really worth the investment? They’ll probably retain value since they're made in a limited quantity, but always question if you’re actually going to wear them. Are they as cool as you think they are? Do you genuinely like them?
The Louis Vuitton Air Force 1s were a recent collaboration I got excited about. I actually really loved the plain white colourway because they’re really understated – you probably wouldn't even realise they’re LV until getting super close, and that’s kind of what I love about them. There was also a drop recently – the Jordan 1 Low Union – which had almost zero hype attached to it, but I was really excited about them. They’re quite a simple canvas skate shoe which is a style I used to be really into as a kid. From Nike to Dior, several brands are leaning towards this shape now – I saw a lot of people in this skater-shoe silhouette at the Moncler Genius Show too.