Ein Kriterium, warum wir Leute für unsere Latest PickUp Interview Serie aussuchen, ist Passion. Mag es die Passion fürs sammeln sein oder die Passion für die Fotografie, oder eben beides zusammen. Tom Cunningham ist einer, der alle Eigenschaften (und noch mehr) vereint und sie auf seinem Blog sneakersjeansandtees präsentiert. Seine Tutorials, wie man misslungene Shapes von Schuhen verbessern kann, sind fast schon legendär und haben schon so manche Banane zu einer Rakete werden lassen.
Wir haben den sympathischen Australier demnach einmal nach seinem Latest PickUp, seinen All-Time Favorites und mehr befragt. Es ist weitaus mehr, als das klassische Frage Antwort Spiel geworden, sondern vielmehr ein ausführliches Interview, aber lest selbst.
What’s your shoe size?
NB, Diadora, Karhu – US9.5
Nike, Reebok, Asics, Saucony, Puma – US10
What’s your latest purchase?
I actually grabbed both the Nikelab Air Footscape Woven NM Rainbow’ sneakers in black and light bone. Came to the Footscape game late, and always hoped I might track down the original rainbow pairs, but they have eluded me so was pretty pleased when they bought out a second iteration, and jumped on both pairs from Hanon. I like that the rainbow woven section has an autumnal feel, and that they did the low cut version without the elasticated cuff as it really feels like a different shoe as opposed to a reissue. I am hyped over the Linen release which has just been released and the Denim Chukka coming in October, so hopefully the Footscape Woven is going to be hitting the scene again for a bit. It is one hell of a super comfy shoe and has such unique style, which took me by surprise when I bought my first pair a few years back. Needless to say I am well and truly hooked.
What’s your all time classic sneaker?
This is a tough question. I guess in terms of sneaker history I am going to have to go back to the mid 2000s when so many labels were on their game. It was also when I really started to collect sneakers properly, as I had the means to fund the habit, so that period of my life was so exciting and I have a lot of fond memories. The scene was smaller as well and at least back then felt less commercialised, less of a machine. There are so many releases these days you really have to be selective about what you buy. I always look for quality first up, and obviously New Balance gets a pretty big plug with what I do because of that. Ultimately it is always going to be a retro styled runner for me that is just my overarching personal taste throughout the years of buying sneakers.
The Nike Air Max 1 was killing everything, Dunk SBs were in their prime and the New Balance 1500 was bringing serious quality to the game. I guess being a bit of an NB fan and probably because I am still yet to own any of the classics 1500s from back in the day, I would have to say the NB 1500 for me. It combines modern style but timeless shape and the construction and craftsmanship is second to none specifically on the releases back in the mid 2000s. If I had to pick one pair from the entire range, as green is my favourite colour, I would have to say the Solebox X New Balance M1500GGB ‘Finals Pack’ green release, which was actually towards the end of the 1500 golden era, in 2009. I would love to own that pair one day.
Which pair of sneakers will you be buying next?
This is really easy and actually relates to a label, which does not get the credit it deserves in terms of quality construction and craftsmanship. I was lucky to get into Karhu quite a while back, I delved into it with the Concepts X Karhu Aria ‘Helsinki Station’ sneakers, as always Concepts being one of those labels trying to push the boundaries and bring new styles to the forefront of sneaker culture.
Once I had a pair in hand it spawned a serious obsession. I guess part of me loves finding someone who does something great and not too many people know about, or wear. It feels somehow more special to know about these little niches out there. That being said Karhu are growing quickly, but they still don’t get the plaudits I think they deserve in the market for the quality of what they put out. I picked up the entire Fusion 2.0 Mount Saana pack, for me the Fusion 2.0 silhouette is next level brain meltingly good, I don’t know why it is not more celebrated. For me it is probably one of the most underrated gems out there. The Patta release was a no brainer as well, so I was jumping out my seat when I saw another Fusion 2.0 releasing. I also own a few other Aria pairs, they are the two models I go for with Karhu. Long story short I will be without a doubt grabbing the Fusion 2.0 release from the KARHU VILLAPAITA COLLECTION.
Just another one I wanted to mention as well on the same lines of underrated pairs. At some stage I am hoping to grab the Jack Threads X Reebok Classic Nylon sneakers, which is something I am super pumped about. Epic shape on these shoes superb attention to detail really taking something clean and classic and elevating it to the next level. I am really excited to get these in hand. Great to see Reebok getting some well-earned love too. I have been a long-time admirer of the GL 6000 sneaker especially the ‘Distinct Life’ series by Rick Williams I have attached some of the shots of these. As a photographer I am one of my harshest critics but for me this is actually one of my favourite shots I have taken over the years. It all just came together. I take a lot of pleasure in crafting a piece of art in a sneaker photograph from a very basic street scene, which people ordinarily might not choose to shoot, looking at the light and trying to be creative.
How many shoes do you own?
Well I would have to say well in excess of 100 pairs, to be honest I have never counted them, probably through fear of knowing the exact number! That being said, I have been buying sneakers regularly since the early 2000s so over 15 years now, and I still own a stack of SB Dunks and Dunks, which is what I was buying back then. I definitely take care of my shoes I see them as assets and almost feel like a custodian of sneaker history especially with some of my rare pairs from the late 90s. That being said all my sneakers are worn, I have no interest in reselling not that I have anything against people that do. Personally I just buy sneakers because I like them and want to wear them.
It is funny, since the quality dropped off on the SB Dunk and I transitioned into runners, I have not really worn my Dunks much, but it is hard to part with pairs, which sometimes have been hard to acquire. Part of keeping them is nostalgia/sentimental value as well, and knowing that if you do let them go you will likely never see them again as they represent a finite period in sneaker history, which has passed. I guess all good things have an end point, and that is what makes them special, they have a place in time and then things move on, which is also exciting. I feel privileged to still own a plethora of high and low Dunks and SB Dunks from back in the day, truly special shoes.
To be honest I am quite specific about what I buy, I tend to stick to certain styles so my collections have a real theme to them. Mainly to be honest I focus on the quality of the shoe, which is no.1 for me. If it does not have the high standard craftsmanship, construction and materials, I won’t even entertain it. Following on from that I start to look at the style of the shoe and then the colour combos as to whether it is something I can see myself wearing. It is a never-ending battle though as the industry is so big these days, almost impossible to keep up with it all.
What style is a no-go for you?
There is one thing I am not a massive fan of in terms of style. Jeans with elasticated cuffs, get that selvedge on and pin roll, if you know what I mean. There is so much great denim out there. I guess I just don’t really understand that product.
Thank’s for the answers, Tom. Looking forward to see more of your photography and Reshape Tutorials as well as news on your blog.