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The World of the Sneaker Heads

On a recent episode of the MenswearStyle Podcast we had the good fortune of speaking to legendary sneaker aficionado Kish Kash. A man that has accumulated an inexhaustible number of trainers during his lifetime. “It's an accumulation, not a collection, for me I want to utilise them with my everyday attire” he corrects me off mic. He is of course cool, self-effacing and self-aware enough to know how potentially pretentious that sounds and laughs it off in the next breath with his infectious boyish charm.

What Kish Kash is trying to differentiate is that a collection is something that people actively seek to embody, to be a collector is almost one’s pursuit of being a conquistador of things, whereas an accumulation is something that happens along the way.

But then I guess kleptomaniacs say the same thing about their own hordes of arbitrary magazines or beer mats etc. But when does a buildup become an accumulation? What is the tally that transcends an uncontrolled stash (in my case) into something that can be categorised an accumulation? And like anything that starts to take dominion over the spare room, the attic and garage space; how does one go about storing and categorising these pieces?

"I probably have about 2-3 thousand pairs of sneakers, I don't know. I got my first pair in about 1988 and I still have those. I went to raves in them, skated in them, all sorts. Most of them are in boxes, but when it comes to boxes; the evolution of boxes is a story in itself. There's been some great stories about design and packaging, it becomes something else, sustainability, ethics etc. They tell you the name and style codes, so you kind of need the boxes. I've got an idea where stuff is - it’s like rings of a tree, the newest is at the front."

Kish Kash
Kish Kash

We were also joined by Nik Speller from Three Letters Agency who talked to us about current and future trainer trends. "I guess if anyone is out there looking for future trends, trying to stare into a crystal ball, look towards the running track, look to see what is excelling runners and see how that filters through into a normal trainer. My favourite sneaker brand is Nike. I always use them as a case study of best practice. They seem to put a lot of money into what they're doing. They're helping influencers create great content. I'm a traditionalist when it comes to trainers, I have a pair of white trainers and a pair of black trainers and I could probably survive on just those two."

Nik Speller & Matthew Pike from Three Letters Agency
Nik Speller & Matthew Pike from Three Letters Agency

We also talk to celebrity stylist Natalie Robinson from Style Icon who lends a female perspective and professional opinion on how sneakers have proliferated themselves into the mainstream. "If you have an audience that interacts with you, and you introduce your audience to emerging brands, that’s a great way for brands to get their name out there. I'm noticing a fierce collaborative approach to men's sneakers. For example Nike and Adidas are known for their collaborations. The Adidas x Kanye Yeezy project appealed to the younger market, and working with influencers brings a fresh take on footwear particularly. I find some brands who may not have the big budgets to invest in PR and marketing can turn to bloggers and vloggers - ones who may not necessarily have millions of followers but they have high engagement." 

You can catch the full interviews with Kish Kash, Nike Speller and Natalie Robinson over on the MenswearStyle podcast, available now. Make sure you subscribe in iTunes to never miss an episode.

Peter Brooker

Peter is a published author on men's style, a huge James Bond fanatic and the host of our very own Menswear Style Podcast. His new book 'From Tailors with Love: An Evolution of Menswear Through the Bond Films' is available now.

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