Friday, 20 April 2007

J ARTS CREW :: Sneakers: Classics To Customs

J ARTS CREW :: Sneakers: Classics To Customs
By Jennifer Hopper
VIC | 24.01.2007

J Arts Crew reporter Jennifer Hopper pumped up her Reeboks for a run in with a Sneaker Freaker.

If Jazz Bonifaccio had saved his money he could have had a deposit on a house by now, a new car or even travelled the world several times over. Instead he chose to spend his money on sneakers. Lots of sneakers. Jazz own over 450 pairs of one off, customised and classic sneakers. But he’s not alone, in fact he’s part of a very well heeled group of sneaker obsessives. And it’s collections such as his, and other sneaker freakers, that have helped to transform the NGV International into a locker room stacked to bursting for Sneakers: classics to customs.

Jazz himself treats his treads with all the care and consideration of a curator. He says “I probably wear 30% (of my collection), most of them I consider rare so they just stay in the box. I actually bought those baby wipes - the bum wipes, I use them to clean my sneakers. Every now and then I get them out of the box and just make sure they’re not mouldy or anything. Even like the KFC refresher towels. I use them as well to clean my sneakers”. And when he isn’t cleaning them, he’s got them sealed stored to prevent his sneakers from getting damaged by the environment. “I buy a lot of clear plastic and wrap (the sneakers) up twice or three times, just so air doesn’t get in,” he says. And it’s care well taken when you're serious about collecting shoes that can crack and discolour over time. Some shoes that have never been worn can literally split and crumble the moment an eager collector’s foot goes to take a step.

Sneakers: classics to customs turns back the clock to some of the earliest examples of the running shoe. From the Dunlop Volley’s of the 1950s to the future of Nike’s Air Force 1, it’s a timeline of trends and technology.

Paola DiTrocchio is assistant curator of the exhibition and for her the collection shows just how far the sneaker has come from its humble beginnings as a thin soled beige walkabout to the pumped up, laser etched and chunky fashion footwear of today. “Sneakers are really exciting in terms of fashion and design at the moment. There’s just so much happening. There are new releases all the time, collaborations with great artists and also a lot of sneakers that reference previous artwork and previous artists. So it’s really a dynamic area of fashion at the moment”.

Sneakers: classics to customs runs until 8th July 2007 at National Gallery Victoria International.

For more info go to

The J Arts Crew is a joint initiative of the Australia Council, the Australian Government's arts funding body, and triple j.

Sneakers Classics to Customs Exhibition

Sneakers Classics to Customs Exhibition

NGV International Presents: Sneakers Classics to Customs Exhibition

NGV International Presents: Sneakers Classics to Customs Exhibition, in Melbourne, Australia. Organized by Jazz, who is the Content Adviser of this exhibition, gathered various rare classics, current gems and one off customs from many sneaker freakers from all around Australia.

The exhibition will be from 16th of December 2006 to 8th of July 2007 so if you are in the area do not miss this opportunity and pop your head in. Check more details of the exhibition on the NGV International website.

NGV International
180 St Kilda Road | Map
Melbourne, Australia
TEL #: +61-3-8620-2222

Event Date: December 16th (Saturday) - July 8th, 2007

Admission: FREE!!!

Nov 21 Freshness Feature: Sekure D

Freshness Feature: Sekure D

Interview by: Masa
Photos: Sekure

Sekure D is one of Australia�s leading sneaker customizers with distinctive and detailed style. Based in Melbourne, he is an up and coming customizer making marks in Australia and around the world. I had the pleasure of catching up with him for a casual chat.

> Sekure D

More after the jump

Can you tell the readers a little about your background and info on yourself?

Well I�m a 20 year old University student in Melbourne, working in a sneaker store part time and play ball a few times a week. I have been into graffiti since I was about 15. I was definitely influenced into graffiti via mates at school and by catching the trains to class every day. Actually I did my first piece when I was around 16 and ever since then have been painting and sketching.

I can definitely see your graffiti influence in your work. How long have you been customising?

Honestly I put brush to shoe only just over a year ago but I have been into sneakers since I was young. I think I have been rather fortunate with my customs, I was lucky enough to get some good encouragement early on as well as some recognition that really spurred me into dedicating a lot more time to it.

“Yo! MTV Raps” Classic

Yeah because you have sprung out only recently and have done some amazing work. What would you say your style is now compared to your early days? Your style is becoming more detailed lately.

Definitely, I appreciate anyone who puts time into their work and hence that�s what I try and do. I�m not into spinning out a custom every second day, I would much rather put 20-30+ hours into something and make it more impressive with detailed little characters or hidden words and messages. Style wise I think it might be hard to define. I just try and be as creative as I can and put stuff onto shoes that guys don�t usually do.

Right, you got a solid style now and with every piece you do, there seems to be an improvement or a refinement. What is the direction you want to head in the future in terms of your style?

I think guys these days are expecting the brighter and outside the square stuff from me, which is cool because I enjoy doing that stuff, but there is a thin line between hitting the mark and making it look un-wearable. In the future I definitely want to keep working into my designs the little characters, symbols and quirky things that make my customs different as well as possibly using different mediums and materials. I think as long as my style keeps evolving the way it has from the start hopefully all will be good.

Oh, so we can expect some play with material perhaps?

Already looking into it as well as a few new things I have in mind, being into graffiti and painting, stitching and material work is not something that I am entirely confident with so it�s taking a bit of research but thanks to a few fellow customizers I should be on top of it in the near future. Customizing isn�t easy. To stay in the minds of people you really have to keep evolving as well as experimenting with new things so I�m just trying to take it to the next level. When you have guys who are signed to big labels to compete with, you just have to try and make yourself stand out.

Yeah, very true. On average how long does it normally take to do a custom? I just want to let some of the readers into the amount of time and effort spent on each work.

It really does depend on the type of job. It�s not out of the question for me to spend about 30 hours on a pair of shoes though.

“Rupture” Air Max 180

You have been doing a lot of Nike for your customs, is there a reason for this? Are Nike your favourite brand to customize?

I think typically when someone wants to get some custom shoes they automatically go for Nike�s just because they are so accessible and have the infamous Air Force 1 which is somewhat considered �easy to paint�. Personally, more recently I have been working mostly on Asics, Reebok and adidas, however it seems like Nike will always come out on top of my order list.

I don�t want to sound like I don�t like Nike though, I have been a Nike boy since I was a child, looking up to Michael Jordan, and most likely will be until I am an old man but I would much rather work on some Force 180�s, Air Max 90�s or Dunks then some all white Air Force 1 Mids. When people look back on my work or through my gallery I don�t want them to see only the one style of shoe.

“Chamillionaire” Dunk

It�s good that you got variety of canvas� to work on. What are some of the new pieces you have been working on? Anything you can let us know the details about?

The next few pairs I am working on are mostly orders but there is some cool stuff in the works, which should turn out really nice and will be very different to what we usually see, once they are completed there is all sorts of things on the cards. Some stuff for local sneaker stores should be in the works as well as shoes with customizers from America such as Mache, that I am looking forward to.

There is also going to be an exhibition in the National Gallery of Victoria starting in December that will be exhibiting seven pairs of my works including some of my more recognizable designs such as the Daylight Hallucination Lebron II�s and the Rupture Air 180�s. In the very near future however there will be a website update with about 5-6 new pairs, so you can check out some of the new work on there.

Great, sounds like you got your hands full. With the National Gallery exhibition, how long does the exhibition go for?

It is running till July 8th I believe, it�s a free exhibition as well so if anyone is in the area, check it out. There will be well over 300 pairs of shoes on display from all eras and brands as well as customs by fellow Australian AstoriaVIII.

That will be mad! Being involved in the custom scene and connecting with people from around the world, what is your opinion on the custom scene? Now that it�s getting large globally with big collaborations and all.

I think the customizing world has largely been underground for a very long period of time. Guys have been painting on their sneakers since the dawn of time but since the creation of sneaker forums, documentaries, TV series, magazines and guys getting signed to major labels for collaborations, it has really brought the art form into the forefront of sneaker culture.

There are a few guys who are able to do this full time now, which really speaks to the popularity of the customized sneakers. The design process, creativity and work put into customs have increased infinitely in the previous few years.

There was a time where a pair of shoes with new laces or painted tongue and toe box would have been classified as a custom but now you get all sorts of designs, clear panels, removable tongues and also customized shoe boxes, it really has come a far way and there is no slowing down in sight.

In a time where sneaker collectors are always searching for something original or limited why not spend that little bit extra and be assured that what you are going to be wearing is something that no one else on the globe will have.

“Paragon” P Rod

With the growing of the scene right now, where would you like the scene to be heading? If you could get paid to do this for a living, is this something you might want to do?

The fact that my shoes are being exhibited in a museum is very exciting to me, especially a museum that is as prestigious like the National Gallery of Victoria. If my shoes are viewed as artworks that is great but if someone is just going to classify them as customized sneakers then that is ok as well.

For the scene in general, it seems to me that it is becoming slightly more commercialized, maybe I�m biased being a customizer but it is not uncommon to see something on a customized sneaker and then there be a release by a major brand many months later in a similar style. With customizers these days doing work for celebrities as well as these major shoe labels I think that it is obviously becoming more commercial but for the majority of well known unsigned sneaker artists the passion for shoes and customizing is there regardless. In my opinion if we spend 30+ hours working on a pair of shoes it is more then acceptable to have them be viewed as a piece of artwork.

In the future it would be a dream for me as an artist and sneaker enthusiast to be able to do this as a living one day. Working on a pair of shoes for release by a major company or working for them on a full time basis it would be amazing, but I can only keep my fingers crossed and keep on working hard, there are a lot of great customizers out there, so it�s a long way off.

Well you are on the right track now and if any of the majors are reading this, they can get in contact with you I guess.

Hey we can only hope.

Speaking of moving ahead, I saw you were on a magazine in Australia. Tell us a little about that.

Yeah I recently had an interview in Jetstar magazine which I think turned out nicely. They were happy to work with me photo wise, its not every day a magazine is happy to have a one-page-photo of someone that does not show their face. I have got a lot of positive feedback from it as well which was nice; since it soon will not be widely available I will make it accessible from the website.

By the way what is the meaning behind you name?

Sekure was my graffiti alias of the past few years, I think the name is somewhat self explanatory but when I went to register the business it came to my attention that it was already registered to an American security company. After that I decided to add the �D� as a separate word, basically represents �Design� but Secure D also has basketball undertones as well so it all tied together nicely.

So will there be anything else coming out from you, besides customs?

Moves have already been made in the apparel direction but I am still in the design stages. I wouldn�t expect it in the next 6 months as it�s really something that I want to bring out at the highest level of quality and hence it�s taking a bit longer then I would ultimately desire. Initially the clothing will be created with fellow Melbourne designers but after that who knows. My focus at the moment is definitely my sneakers, anything else that comes with that is a bonus.

“Daylight Hallucination” LeBron II

Yeah one step at a time I guess. Let us know about your favourite piece u have done to date and why?

Two shoes stand out in my mind, firstly my Hartigan Dunks. I am a big fan of the artwork of Frank Miller and it was his series of graphic novels �Sin City� that inspired me to finally do my own custom sneakers. I also got some encouraging feedback on them, who knows what would have happened if they went poorly, might not be here talking to you today.

Secondly would have to be my Daylight Hallucination LeBron II�s mainly because it was my break though shoe on many of the sneaker forums getting a lot of attention and support which was pleasing. I think to have such a design on a signature basketball shoe was a bit surprising for a few people but that�s what I enjoy doing, they definitely have to be at the top as well.

They are both great pieces and the LeBron�s were a totally different twist that got my attention too. Many customs seem to be on a similar base sneaker and it�s always good to see a variation.

Absolutely, that�s what I was trying to get at before as well about the base shoes, a carefully selected base shoe is just as important as the design you put on it.

I can�t agree more. Can you give some advice to people who want to start doing custom sneaker?

I think as long as you try and develop your own niche or style then you will go far. The most important thing is to just take your time and produce works of top quality. There is no substitute for hard work and if you put in the extra hours then it�s most definitely going to pay off. Not to mention only use top grade materials, there is plenty of information on sneaker forums such as Sole Collector and Sneaker Freaker about paints, etc, so take advantage of it.

Well thanks for your time, now we know a little bit about the man behind the customs! Any last props, shouts or plugs?

Well Astoria VIII was pretty much the first person who supported me in my customizing and got me the appropriate paints, so �thank you� must go to him. Also the Kickz101 TrashTalk community, Jazz-Quoc-Dime-Soultrain and BP, as well as fellow customizers Mache and KB. That should be enough, I don�t wanna ramble on.

Thanks mate, all the best.

> Sekure D

The Sunday Age Coverage

To Jazz, a sole mate is a joy to behold

By Rachel Wells
December 11, 2005

Jazz BONIFACIO is a confessed sneaker addict. The 27-year-old from Ormond owns more than 300 pairs, and estimates that he has spent more than $40,000 on his beloved sneaker collection.

"I've always been into shoes, ever since I was a teenager," says the foot-wear designer, who started collecting sneakers seriously only three years ago.

"It's a lot of money, but I guess it's become a little bit of an obsession," he said. "I hear about a new shoe that's coming out, and it's like I have to have that pair. It's pretty bad."

Mr Bonifacio says he wears only 80 per cent of the shoes he owns. The rest he has in their original boxes as keepsakes or to sell or trade later. Once sneakers have been worn, they lose 30-60 per cent of their value, he says.

He says his penchant for sneakers is driven by a love of design and nostalgia for vintage styles.

"When I was about 13, I really got into basketball and Michael Jordan. My dad bought me my first pair of Jordan's, and it started from there really."

Mr Bonifacio is not alone in his fetish for sneakers. There are tens of thousands of sneaker collectors across the globe willing to fork out sometimes thousands of dollars for a pair of sneakers.,0.jpg

Sneaker prices are at an all-time high due to an increase in the number of collectors and the fact that supply for the most coveted vintage styles is dwindling.

"The serious collectors overseas pay up to $US10,000 for a pair, and there's some collectors here who will pay up to $US5000," says Simon Wood, editor of Sneaker Freaker magazine, a biannual publication for enthusiasts.

"There's a shortage of what we call dead stock - of vintage shoes that haven't been worn or taken out of the box. You used to be able to go to old warehouses and get these kinds of shoes for $5 or $10, but that doesn't happen any more . . . now you're forking out thousands for them."

Mr Wood says there are several types of sneaker collectors: those who collect sneakers to wear, those who collect for "bragging rights", and those who collect simply to make money once supply has dried up.

One Hawthorn-based sneaker fanatic, Hans Donovon Cheong, says he wears 60 per cent to 80 per cent of his 300-pair collection.

"I think they should be worn," he says. "That's what they were made for. There's some vintage styles that I don't wear, though, mainly because they don't stand the test of time, and sometimes I won't wear a pair so I can trade them or re-sell them."

Mr Cheong says the most he has paid was $US800 for a pair of Adidas Superstars, a limited-edition release to celebrate the company's 35th anniversary. Mr Bonifacio says he would pay several thousand dollars for a pair of rare sneakers. "The first pair of serious sneakers I ever owned were Nike Jordan 4s," he says. "I can't believe it but my mum threw them out. I'd pay a couple of grand now." … 48134.html

Globe: Puzzle Series 1


There's seven skaters involved in this Puzzle project – Globe giving each of them the chance to pull out their own colours on the Magnum skate shoe. Check them all out - there's bound to be one that takes your eye out of this technicolour bunch.









Sneaking In

Sneaking In
By Miranda Likeman
Published: 19 December, 2006

History of the Sneaker
Sneakers have evolved from functional sportswear to cult fashion. Here FashioNZ traces their rise to fashion item, gives you tips on how to find cool pairs and care for them, looks at New Zealand’s only sneaker brand and previews exhibitions focusing on the humble trainer.

Nike Air Force 1 Premium, Year of the Dog edition, 2006 (1982) leather, fur, synthetic leather, fabric, thread and cord, plastic, metal, synthetic rubber 12.5 x 11.0 x 30.5 cm
Collection of Mathew Fabris, Melbourne

‘Sports shoes’, ‘trainers’, ‘runners’, ‘joggers’, ‘baskets’ and ‘kicks’ are just some of the words that refer to what is widely known as the sneaker - one of the most dynamic areas within fashion and design today. The history of the sneaker stems back to the second half of the 19th century when the first prototype emerged in England and America. By 1870 the word ‘sneaker’ was being used in North America, referring to the quiet sounds made by shoes with rubber soles.

In the 20th century canvas sneakers became the foundation for sport and casual wear. In 1917 the first Converse All Star was released and is still produced today. By 1955, this style of shoe was so popular in America that Converse was claiming their All Star as the number-one selling shoe in the country.

Reebok The Pump Bringback Limited edition ed. 1914/1989 2004 (1989)
leather, synthetic fabric, mesh, thread and cord, plastic, metal, synthetic rubber 21.2 x 11.5 x 30.3 cm
Collection of Jazz Bonifacio, Melbourne

adidas Superstar Upper Playground edition 2005 (1969)
synthetic fabric, leather, plastic, thread and cord, synthetic rubber
10.0 x 10.0 x 32.0 cm
Collection of Brett Pooley, Melbourne

By the 1960s, the sneaker was a global phenomenon - due in part to the success of the Olympic Games and the expansion of professional sport generally. In the 1970s and 80s, jogging and fitness crazes elevated brands such as Nike and Reebok to multinational status.

Coming into Summer 06/07 sneakers are firmly in the spotlight, with an exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia named Sneakers: Classics to Customs exploring Classic, Limited Edition, Collaborations, Designers, Celebrities, Independents and Custom sneaks. Then the Puma Archive opens the an exhibition to commemorate the relaunch of the first signature sneaker created, the Puma Clyde; and New Zealand’s only sneaker brand, Poynter, gets down to some serious business of its own. We take a look at these before giving you some tips on how to find some cool sneakers for yourself!

“Some dudes buy shoes like they dine from a buffet, a bit of this, a bit of that… what determines this is personal and include[s] hype, fads, peer pressure and brand loyalty, but mostly I think it has to do with the emotional connection you get when great design hits the hip-pocket nerve. Sure you can have little flings here and there, office romances and so on, but once you fall in love the first time, you can never leave it.” Woody, Sneaker Freaker magazine

Daylight Hallucination (Nike Air Zoom LeBron II Low) 2006 (2005)
synthetic polymer paint on synthetic leather, synthetic leather, fabric thread and cord, metal, plastic, synthetic rubber 13.5 x 11.5 x 30.5 cm
Collection of Sekure D, Melbourne

The curators at the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia are pretty switched on cats. They regularly commission exhibitions of fashionable works, and heven invited WORLD Designers Francis Hooper and Denise L’strange-Corbet to contribute to an exhibition in 1999. Now they are delving into the world of sneakers, exploring Classic, Limited Edition, Collaborations, Designers, Celebrities, Independents and Custom sneaks from around the world.

adidas Game Day Lightning, sample
synthetic leather, mesh, fabric, thread and cord, plastic, synthetic rubber 16.0 x 11.0 x 30.5 cm
Collection of Mathew Fabris, Melbourne

adidas adicolor High Y2, Taro Okamoto edition, Yellow palette 2006 (1985)
synthetic fabric, leather, thread and cord, velcro, metal, plastic, synthetic cord 15.8 x 11.0 x 29.5 cm
Collection of adidas Australia, Melbourne

Roger Leong, the NGV Curator for International Fashion and Textiles says: “Apart from the essential need to have a rubber sole, it is almost impossible to generalise the sneaker. There is an endless variety of ways a sneaker can look, and it is a source of pleasure to both the casual wearer and the serious collector. It also makes for an impressive visual experience when 300 of the most style-worthy sneakers are displayed together.”

Mr Leong agrees that today sneakers are seen as icons of style and fashion. “Interestingly, most of the lenders to this exhibition are young males, many of whom began collecting in the past five years,” he says. “Shoe companies are introducing more and more exclusive sneaker releases, all intended to excite sneaker fans, and this enthusiasm has proved that sneaker culture is not a short lived fad, rather, it is diverse, rich and part of the urban streetscape.”

Tony Ellwood, NGV Deputy Director said many of the items on display had never been removed from their packaging. “This exhibition will delight both the general public and serious collector with its diversity.” The exhibition runs from 16 December 2006 – 8 July 2007.

Grab your own designer sneaks!

The original Puma Clydes make a comeback

If you were a sneaker fan, you would know that the first pair of sneakers that were ‘endorsed’ were the Puma Clydes. A simple suede sneaker, it made its way onto the court and ended up as a fashion and culture icon. New York basketball legend Walt ‘Clyde’ Frazier put his name to the shoe in the early 70’s, to have it embraced by street culture and remain a timeless classic today. Clyde would pair his Pumas with his famous fedora hats and mink coats, pioneering the original pimp look and enabling the shoes to move from the basketball court to the street – where it became a shared property between a variety of ‘scenes’ from B-Boys to Punks. A staple for thirty years, the Clyde has returned – identical replicas of the original shoes are now available.

Poynter is New Zealand’s only sneaker brand
Poynter Footwear is New Zealand’s only sneaker brand. Born from an inherent desire to create and a genuine love of sneakers, Poynter set out to add innovation to the footwear industry with a solid shoe collection. Since it’s inception, the sneaker has morphed from being strictly a sports focused commodity into a major fashion luxury that transcends both race and class. At Poynter they admire the diversity of the sneaker, with style influences as varied as the sneaker itself. Their style is not European, east or west coast, but a unique blend of all these influences with our own South Pacific flavour. For summer Poynter has released it’s best range ever including four new sneaker styles and some great prints. If you are after some Poynter sneaks to invest in, check out the King Kapisi’s.

Another must have for sneaker collectors is a pair of the Puma Yutori’s. Influenced by traditional Japanese costume, this distinctive rocking profile of these shoes are inspired by Geta shoes and echo the folds of the kimono. The back is collapsible, allowing the style to be worn as a slip-on shoe or slide. The Yutori Kimono is crafted from real Kimonos purchased in vintage shops throughout Japan, making every shoe unique. Quantities are limited to 600 worldwide, and there are only 20 in New Zealand – sold through Sole in Newmarket Auckland.

There are only 20 Puma Yutori in the country

Indian Designer Manish Arora’s line of sneakers for Reebok
Everyone – from rockers to sports stars or moguls on casual Friday’s, love their Converse shoes, something the company revels in. Try on a pair of leather sneaks, or purchase a pair of John Varvatos Converse shoes. They are mens’ answer to the little black dress – they go with anything. They were flavour of the month at the Milan Fashion Collections in July, and the love affair with them shows no sign of slowing down.
Reebok collaborated with Indian Fashion Designer Manish Arora to make ‘Fish Fry for Reebok’, named after Bollywood blockbusters and sold through select Reebok stores around the world.

The Sneakers Low Down

Interested in sneakers? You might want to buy a pair of pale grey Nike Pigeon Dunks, only 150 pairs were made as a tribute to New York. Adidas’ Forum RS are stitched together with pieces of their vintage tracksuits, some even from the Munich Olympics! And thanks to a partnership between Apple and Nike, your iPod nano can become your personal trainer, coach and work out companion with the new Nike+ range of shoes. Simply insert the lightweight sensor into the customized pocket in your Nike+ shoe, plug the receiver into your nano and you are ready to select your playlist and tailor your run.

tune your run with Nike

So how do you get involved in the phenomenon of buying sneakers as a fashion item? Here are a few tips:


Remember you don’t have to be obsessed and spend piles of money to find killer pairs. Just keep tabs on a few coveted styles and move quickly when you see them. An example of must haves are the King Kapisi branded sneaks from Poynter, New Zealand’s only sneaker brand.

Own the essentials. Also get yourself a pair of Converse Chuck Taylors, they’re great straight out of the box and three months later with some character.

You can buy sneakers not made in sweat shops
from chalkydigits.


You can buy fair trade: If you are concerned about not buying products made by children in sweat shops, try the ‘No Sweat’ sneaks that look like Chucks from fair trade importer Trade Aid or socially responsible Christchurch fashion label chalkydigits.

Personalise it: Every woman needs a pair of plain white sneakers, and every brand does them – but if you want to customize the sneaker yourself, attack it with paint and pens. But if you prefer to leave customizing to the experts, some brands now offer this as a service.

Do some research. The National Gallery of Victoria in Australia’s exhibition named Sneakers: Classics to Customs explores Classic, Limited Edition, Collaborations, Designers, Celebrities, Independents and Custom sneaks. Or check out sites such as or

Sneaker heads will smile now that Loaded has opened in Wellington


Speak to the experts: Visit the Loft in Chancery Auckland; Loaded in Manners Mall, Wellington or visit

Take care of them. Fanatics clean their shoes daily, or if they are going to keep them for an investment piece, never take them out of their box. But the coolest sneaks are the ones you wear and love, so don’t be afraid to wear them, cleaning occasionally.

Accessorize your sneaks. If you are going to enter the world of cool sneakers, you can’t treat them like they are the accessories. We suggest tees from Robot Shirts or Mr Vintage, teamed with jeans and pants by Doosh or Dual as perfect items to match your runners.


I did a google search of my name and this article came up...think it's in Indo

Sabtu , 24 Maret 2007
Cinta Sneaker Itu seperti Cinta Perempuan pada Handbag
Wisata Sepatu Melbourne; Salah Satu Ibu Kota Sneaker Dunia (2-Habis)
Siapa sangka, sepatu kets bisa dipamerkan di galeri seni kelas dunia. Tapi, itulah yang sekarang sedang berlangsung di Melbourne. Berikut lanjutan catatan AZRUL ANANDA, wartawan

Jawa Pos yang baru pulang meliput balap Formula 1 di Australia.

Melbourne merupakan salah satu ibu kota sneaker dunia. Itu saja sudah membuat saya, seorang sneaker head, bersemangat mengunjunginya. Bisa dibayangkan betapa bertambahnya semangat ini, begitu mengetahui di kota itu juga sedang ada pameran sepatu kets.

Bertitel Sneakers: Classics to Customs, pameran itu bukan pameran biasa. Tempatnya pun sangat berkelas, National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), salah satu galeri seni terbaik di Australia. Dibuka akhir 2006 lalu, pameran itu dijadwalkan berlangsung hingga Juli mendatang.

Mudah sekali untuk mencapai galeri tersebut. Kalau sedang berada di pusat kota, tinggal jalan kaki beberapa menit sudah sampai. Galeri tersebut terletak tak jauh dari Flinders Street Station dan Federation Square, dua lokasi populer di Melbourne. Menikmati pameran itu lebih mudah lagi, karena masuknya gratis.

Sebenarnya, sneaker bukanlah satu-satunya pameran di NGV International saat ini. Juga bukan pameran yang terbesar. Ada sejumlah eksibisi di galeri besar tersebut. Sekarang, yang paling besar adalah pameran sinema India.

Untuk melihat pameran sneaker, kita harus naik ke lantai 2, di Myer Fashion and Textiles Gallery. Ukuran galeri itu tidak besar, total sekitar 20 x 10 meter. Tapi, bukan ukuran yang terpenting, melainkan kualitas pamerannya.

Total, ada 300-an sepatu dipamerkan di NGV, dipinjam dari sekitar 25 kolektor (pribadi maupun perusahaan) di Melbourne dan Sydney. Sesuai judulnya, pameran ini tidak memfokuskan diri pada satu jenis sneaker. Mulai model-model klasik, basket, hingga custom (sudah dihias oleh desainer) dipajang di tiga ruangan terpisah.

Khas pameran barat, tidak banyak pernak-pernik lain di pameran tersebut. Sepatu-sepatu yang ada dipajang apa adanya, di tempat yang bersih dan minimalis. Nuansa gelap mewarnai galeri, dibantu sejumlah lampu sorot dan tampilan multimedia yang menggambarkan sejumlah aktivitas anak muda, di antaranya skateboarding dan basket.

Perkembangan sneaker dalam tiga dekade terakhir digambarkan dalam pameran tersebut. Setiap sepatu diberi nomor, lalu diberi penjelasan tentang merek, model, dan pemilik yang meminjamkannya.

Ruangan pertama didominasi oleh sepatu-sepatu klasik, yang selama ini paling diburu kolektor. Ada aneka ragam Converse All Star, adidas Superstar, dan Nike Air Force 1. Tidak semua dalam kondisi baru, banyak yang sudah terlihat dekil bekas dipakai.

Ruangan tengah didominasi sepatu-sepatu custom dan langka, seperti merek A Bathing Ape asal Jepang (Bape). Salah satu yang paling unik adalah A Bathing Ape Marvel Bapesta, Hulk Edition keluaran 2005. Sepatu kasual itu berwarna hijau dan ungu, khas monster komik ciptaan Marvel. Beda dengan sepatu pada umumnya, sepatu ini tidak dibungkus di dalam kotak. Melainkan di dalam bungkus plastik transparan ala mainan action figure.

Ruangan lain menampilkan sepatu basket. Mulai Air Jordan, Nike LeBron, sampai merek-merek lain seperti Reebok, Dada Supreme, And 1, plus beberapa lainnya.

Mengapa pameran sneaker di Melbourne? Menurut Roger Leong, kurator NGV, kolektor sepatu di Australia semakin banyak dan semakin diapresiasi publik dalam setahun terakhir. “Sneaker bisa ditampilkan dengan cara yang tidak terbatas, menyenangkan semua orang, baik pemakai kasual maupun kolektor yang serius,” ujarnya.

Leong menjelaskan, budaya koleksi sneaker ini sudah ada sejak 1980-an. Di Australia, pada awal 1990-an, para kolektor mulai banyak terlihat berburu di toko-toko baju bekas. Semula, hobi ini diduga hanya akan bertahan sesaat. Tapi ternyata, hobi ini justru terus berkembang sampai sekarang. “Budaya sneaker begitu kaya dan beragam,” katanya.

Dalam beberapa tahun terakhir, Australia menjadi bagian penting fenomena sneaker dunia. Khususnya Melbourne. Sebab, di kota inilah majalah Sneaker Freaker berasal. Majalah garapan Simon Wood alias Woody of Melbourne itu kini telah beredar di 32 negara, meraih popularitas luar biasa di Amerika, menjadikan sang pendiri sebagai salah satu dewa sneaker dunia.

Situs Sneaker Freaker juga luar biasa populer, punya anggota lebih dari 7.000 orang dan dikunjungi jutaan orang per bulannya.

Untuk menyelenggarakan pameran sneaker ini, Leong mendapat banyak bantuan dari Woody. Selain itu, dia juga mendapat bantuan dari Jazz Bonifacio, seorang desainer dan kolektor sneaker asal Melbourne. Mereka ikut sibuk melobi para kolektor untuk ikut memajang sepatu kesayangannya.

“Tidak mudah untuk menemukan kolektor terbaik Australia. Mereka mungkin sudah punya komitmen untuk kepentingan lain atau khawatir barang miliknya bakal rusak, hilang, atau berkurang nilainya,” jelas Bonifacio, lewat buklet pameran. “Akhirnya, kami berhasil meyakinkan bahwa semua bakal aman, diawasi dengan ketat oleh NGV. Kami berharap, dengan pameran ini, orang bisa lebih paham tentang budaya sneaker dan bagaimana ini bisa menjadi fenomena dunia,” lanjutnya.

Kebanyakan kolektor yang menyumbangkan sepatunya untuk dipamerkan adalah pria muda, yang telah menekuni hobi ini sejak lima tahun lalu. Tapi, ketika saya berkunjung, yang datang bukan hanya anak muda. Ibu-ibu berusia lanjut pun datang, menikmati satu per satu koleksi yang dipamerkan.

Bagi pembaca yang sampai sekarang masih penasaran, mengapa koleksi sneaker bisa begitu heboh? Jawaban terbaik mungkin muncul dari mulut sang dewa, Woody. Dia menyamakan laki-laki dan sneaker itu seperti perempuan dan tas.

“Saya pikir laki-laki makin lama makin seperti perempuan, dalam pengertian yang baik. Cinta laki-laki pada sneaker itu sama seperti cinta perempuan terhadap handbag dan sepatu hak tinggi,” tukasnya. (*)




Hi Roger, can you explain your role at the NGV? What exactly does a curator do?

Curators are the managers of a particular area of the National Gallery of Victoria’s permanent collection. My colleague Paola Di Trocchio and I work with International Fashion and Textiles which covers a period from the 7th century to the present. Just to give you an idea of the parameters of the collection; we have a group of Coptic textiles from 7th century Egypt, 16th and 17th century lace, a Renaissance tapestry, 18th century dress, a huge collection of 19th century women’s clothes, and a selection of 20th century high fashion by designers such as Chanel, Balenciaga and Westwood. We are the guardians of this collection and anything and everything to do with this collection involves our time, or at least, our consent. Museums rely on extensive documentation these days. The collection we work with comprises over 5000 works so, for starters, there are several lifetimes of research and cataloguing to do.

We spend a bit of time researching new acquisitions whether purchases or gifts. This is one of the most satisfying parts of our job as we sometimes get to bid at auctions, usually in New York or London, for great works by important designers. Recent purchases include a classic 1950s New Look dress by Christian Dior, a 1970s tuxedo suit by Yves Saint Laurent, and a recent evening dress designed by John Galliano. Or someone could call us up and offer us an entire wardrobe of Japanese fashion or in one case a much loved dressing gown from Fortnum and Mason’s that, regrettably, we had to decline. But we have to be very selective and usually only choose a very few works that we feel best tell the story of fashionable dress or the art of textiles. The museum is also a repository of learning so we also provide a service for people to study works in our collection.

Probably the most visible thing that we do is conceive, plan and oversee exhibitions and write, publish and deliver talks on aspects of the collection. Exhibitions are essentially about telling a story with objects. Once we have chosen the works for the display, usually from our own collection as well as begging for loans out in the community, we embark on a collaboration with each and every of the many colleagues at the NGV to develop the conservation, documentation, design, educational and promotional requirements needed to get our story across.

And how did the gallery develop this idea of showcasing sneakers? Was it your idea?

Yes it was my idea but it was a simple goal of making our audience stop, look and think about sneakers as interesting and, sometimes, remarkable examples of design. That may sound perfectly obvious to the sneaker fraternity but it has been a bit of a revelation to many others especially those who associate sneakers with rubbery joggers and tennis shoes.

It was actually the collectors who were the main impetus for this exhibition. I had no idea of the depth of collecting in this country until just before Christmas 2005, when the journalist Rachel Wells did a story for The Age featuring key Melbourne sneaker aficionados such as yourself and Jazz Bonifacio.

The biggest challenge was finding the collectors who were willing to part with their treasures for such a long time (nearly twelve months). Fortunately Jazz, a sneaker designer at Globe and a pretty serious collector himself, jumped at the chance to be involved. Even your good self has helped us out with contacts and then with all the crazy media demands. So Jazz became our official sneaker advisor and he called on his contacts within the community as well as working the online forums while building up a profile of the strengths in various collections. I then contacted the potential lenders and gave them an outline of the parameters of the exhibition and its general themes such as classics, signature shoes, designer editions and independent brands, limited editions, collaborations and finally, customs.

It was then up to the collectors to send images and details from which Jazz and I made a final edit. We were initially flooded with offers of Nikes so we had number of serious gaps which we were eventually able to address through a couple of the collectors and then by getting in contact with a number of companies. The original plan was to display around one-hundred works but I very quickly learnt that this was not going to go down too well with the community and was, as you explained, kind of missing the point. So the number grew pretty rapidly till we ended up with 302 sneakers drawn from sixteen private collectors, seven companies and two retailers. As the project moved ahead, it became obvious that sneaker collecting and the collectors themselves were a major part of the story so I’m so glad we were able to include their comments on the website and the catalogue and involve them in public talks and the media.

I know the NGV has done exhibitions such as Tezuka and Bollywood recently, can you explain how shows with pop-culture themes like this fit into the NGV’s role as a serious ‘art’ gallery?

The challenge with exhibiting popular culture is that the objects are often quite ephemeral. Animators’ drawings can often be thrown out or simply not archived methodically enough. Posters are generally torn down, creased and faded. Sneakers are generally worn to death and therefore somewhat diminished in terms of their artistic integrity.

At the NGV, we collect and display works of art that derive from a broad spectrum of artistic practice, whether painting, sculpture, printmaking, craft, design or fashion. Naturally, we have tended towards the more lofty ends of this spectrum as in ‘serious’ art and so-called ‘high’ fashion but that’s not to say we cannot venture out towards more popular mediums such as sneakers. At the end of the day, there wasn’t that much of a leap from our collection of more recent fashion to this exhibition. And it effectively meant that we were touching on an aspect of the contemporary male wardrobe which is something we rarely ever get to do given the constraints of our collection which is dominated by women’s fashion.

On a practical level, learning about the collectors’ obsession with keeping their sneakers pristine perfectly met the needs of an art museum like the NGV. Our department doesn’t often get the chance to do something as topical as our collection is so historically-based. Knowing about these sizeable private collections out there in Melbourne suburbia (and some Sydney too) presented itself as an opportunity too good to miss and the timing just seemed right for bringing the story to a wider audience.

And what were your ideas about sneakers prior to establishing the show?

My own personal interest in sneakers was probably stuck somewhere round the mid-90s and that’s when brands such as Royal Elastics and Acupuncture were popular among the club and party scene and the Air Max 95 was causing flutters in my chest every time I saw someone wearing them. When I finally tried on a pair I felt like a complete dork. So I guess I’m talking about an aesthetic of 90s minimalism along with that na├»ve excitement of new technologies. Until this exhibition I hadn’t realized to what extent sneaker companies had grasped the fashion/ design/ street potential of sneakers especially in relation to the whole collaboration thing. That has been a real eye opener for me as well as the intricacies of customization.

Have you been surprised by the size and the passion of the sneaker scene in Melbourne?

Well I was certainly surprised after I bought my first copy of Sneaker Freaker and it was only then that I realized the extent of this global phenomenon known as sneaker culture. As Jazz points out the community here in Australia wouldn’t be where it’s at without the magazine, its online forum and all the launches, swap meets and exhibitions it has generated. As regards the passion, that has been an interesting thing to witness especially in terms of all the fun and affection coming through when dealing with collectors and their concerns and hopes for their beloved sneakers. What really surprised me was the extent of media interest in the scene.

What’s the weirdest thing you learned during the process?

Nothing weird so to speak although shrink-wrapping sneakers was a new one for me. Apparently the conservation fraternity is undecided on whether that is better or worse for the sneakers. The off-gassing from the rubber, composites and glues could actually create a toxic environment for the works but then of course oxygen could be just as bad. I think the way Nike have their production dates inside many of their shoes is really neat but certainly not weird.

Can you elaborate a little on the process that an organization such as yours has to go through to document all the sneakers?

Sorry but this is going to be very long-winded and boring but since you asked. First of all, Jazz and I requested a list with images from each of our lenders. That was a big ask but I gather most collectors quite enjoyed the process. After that the level of documentation just mushroomed. My colleague in the department Paola Di Trocchio and I with help from our volunteers Liam Revell, Jeanne Bardin, Amy Silver, Bethany Taylor, and Wendy Voon, spent weeks if not months checking up on the precise titles and release dates for each sneaker; a mammoth exercise in anal retention. At certain desperate moments, we would email Jazz Bonifacio and he would set us straight. The list was then passed on to Julie-Anne Carbon in our Registration department who transferred the list and the images to our collections database (Vernon) and produced the loan agreements that each lender was sent.

When the sneakers arrived, our two cataloguers Julietta Park and Trish Knight recorded three measurements for each pair as well as listing the generic materials used in each sneaker. Later on we asked the private collectors to send us comments about why they started collecting and a few lines about some of their favorites, which were then edited and loaded in. Julie-Anne’s meticulous manipulation of the database enabled our webmaster Jonathan Luker to upload the entire list on the Gallery’s website along with the images and collectors’ comments. The first time this institution has been able to list and illustrate each work in an exhibition on the webpage. Then we loaded it all back into Word for the exhibition catalogue and the back of the poster with the help of Judy Shelverton and Margaret Trudgeon, editor. I am sure any information analyst would be horrified at the amount of labor involved but we got there in the end.

The profile photographs you see on the poster and the web were all taken by Janelle Borig, loans conservator, who had to examine every single shoe – left and right of the pair – and photograph them a further nine times – to produce a five-page condition report on each work. This thorough documentation is required for all loans. The sneakers will then be re-examined by Janelle after the show closes and before they are returned. Our graphic designer Sam Shmith grabbed all these photos and created an awesome poster with an image of practically every shoe in the exhibition. The only reason why not all the works are printed on the poster is due to the late December-early January release dates of the new Air Force 1’s that are in the exhibition. More photographs of selected sneakers were taken for the exhibition catalogue and for publicity by our photographer Christian Markel. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, our copyrights officer Jennie Moloney was sending off details of the works to the various companies to ensure there weren’t any copyright restrictions. Then, our exhibition designer Daniel Jacobson and our exhibition graphics designer Julia Ozanjak produced the individual labels with their corresponding numbers for the display. So, yes the documentation was very detailed but no more or less than what we normally do.

Are you happy with the scope of the 300 shoes shown - do you feel it does justice to such a broad subject?

I think that our exhibition is a great introduction to the subject. People have walked out of there with a greater respect for the subject. I know it might not mean much to your average sneaker head but some of our gallery guides, who are very indicative of our usual gallery audience, have had a bit of a revelation about sneakers.

So, yes on that level, I am very pleased with the selection. But does it do justice to a subject of such phenomenal proportions? That’s a hard question to answer as it really depends on the individual visitor. I don’t imagine a die-hard collector of many years would see enough depth in our exhibition but then the general public and quite a few of the younger sneaker heads have really responded well to it; it’s just great to see them taking their time to look. Also I guess with any project like this you always think of the ones that got away. It would have been good to have more really ancient vintage pieces and a few more designer and ultra-limited editions but this is one of the great challenges to any museum exhibition in Australia, the scope is just more limited and we didn’t have the budget to source from overseas collections.

How has the reaction been? Has there been a spike in traffic to see this specific show?

Well, it has been the most popular exhibition that we have had in our relatively new dedicated gallery to date (known as the Myer International Fashion and Textiles Gallery). There have not actually been that many exhibitions of sneakers in public art museums. I know of only one other in San Francisco about ten years ago so yes, it’s quite a novelty and the public and the media have really responded very positively to it. The exhibition even received sponsorship from Dunlop which was a major bonus for us all.

There has been a visible increase in numbers of visitors to the exhibition space but as it is a free exhibition we could never provide accurate numbers. The sneaker heads certainly came in droves during the first few months and now, on weekends, it is still filled. Our Front of House staff was reporting a very different type of visitor coming in over the summer, many of them first time visitors, who were asking for directions to the exhibition. What's interesting, and this is just a day to day observation, is that we're noticing a lot of young men coming into the Gallery and from what we can tell a lot of them are ending up in the Sneakers exhibition space - and this is great because they are generally a hard group to get into a public art museum. I walk through the space each day and I see all sorts of people in there, from school kids, to our regular Gallery goers, to older members of the public and teenage girls. On top of that the exhibition catalogue, poster and a whole host of sneaker publications including Sneaker Freaker have been selling like hotcakes so that’s generally a sign of strong interest. I think we may even have managed to convert our quite traditionally-minded audience.

While there has been heaps of media coverage we have only had one review that I know of (The Age by Robert Nelson) although I am told an art journal is publishing their review soon. Nelson gave us quite a lengthy review which was quite flattering in itself but he slammed us for not using the exhibition to address a number of social and economic issues such as globalization and the decline of the footwear and clothing industries in this country. He was also very disappointed that we hadn’t shown more children’s sneakers.

I thought it was a ridiculous review. The guy is clearly an Air Max short in the top cupboard... Can I ask how the experience of joining the sneaker world affected you?

It has made me respect the world of street fashion and popular culture much more than ever before. And I am now totally seduced by the passion of sneaker companies, designers, collectors and retailers whereas before I think I must have been a little affected by all the negative vibes of the fair trade campaigns. I don’t know why but for a couple of years I was experiencing avoidance issues with wearing rubber soled shoes to work, so this project definitely helped me get over that problem.

Have you started buying more sneakers?

Yes but nothing compared to some. I am usually a decade or so behind everyone else so I now own a very daggy pair of Nike One stars and even a new pair of Volley Internationals which I recently took bushwalking. After reading about VISVIMS in Sneaker Freaker I was determined to find the flagship store in Tokyo and picked up a pair of deerskin mocs. I am in heaven every time I put them on although I beginning to wonder if that soft, baggy style makes me look a bit like a retiree?

Which sneaker has really caught your fancy?

There are really too many but I do have to say that I never thought a man’s shoe could look so pretty until I saw the 2005 Union collab edition of the Nike Air Force 180.


NGV: Sneaker: Classics to Customs

Images from top left - right:
The Pump Bringback Limited edition ed. 1914/1989 2004 (1989).
Collection of Jazz Bonifacio, Melbourne.
DUNLOP Gorilla Radio (Dunlop Volley International) 2006 (1959).
Collection of Dunlop Sport Footwear, Melbourne.
NIKE Nike Air Force 180 Union edition, Clerks Pack 2005 (1991).
Collection of Andrew Bourrillon, Melbourne.
A BATHING APE A Bathing Ape Marvel Bapesta, Hulk edition 2005.
Collection of Mathew Fabris, Melbourne.
NIKE Nike Air Force 1 Premium, Year of the Dog edition 2006 (1982).
Collection of Mathew Fabris, Melbourne.
NIKE Nike Zvezdochka 2004.
Collection of Mathew Fabris, Melbourne.
NIKE Nike Air Max 90 1991.
Collection of Michael ‘dirtyfresh’ Good, Melbourne.
ADIDAS adidas adicolor High Y2, Taro Okamoto edition, Yellow palette 2006 (1985).
Collection of adidas Australia, Melbourne.

Classics to Customs

16 December 2006 to 8 July 2007
Myer Fashion and Textiles Gallery, Level 2
Admission free

Sneakers are one of the most exciting and fast-changing phenomena in youth fashion today. Sneakers: Classics to Customs features many of the most coveted examples that have become emblems of style over the past three decades. As Sneakers: The Complete Collector’s Guide declares ‘The sneaker has moved out from the sports arena and exploded into popular culture, a fashion staple that transcends race and class yet defines who you are in today’s urban tribes’.

Sneakers explores a number of themes which reflect the evolution of sneakers from functional sportswear to cult fashion. Beginning with the Classics - sports shoes that have become enduring styles - such as the Converse All Star, Adidas Superstar and Nike Air Jordan. Followed by a series of limited editions - special releases aimed at the serious wearer and collector - that have been produced by the major brands. Another aspect of limited editions, is the collaboration between sports shoe companies and designers working in other fields such as Peter Saville and Adidas, Marc Newson and Nike and Philippe Starck with Puma.

Fame and celebrity is another of the many ways that the once humble sneaker has been elevated to cult status. Finally, the involvement of artists and designers in customising sneakers has extended the creative possibilities of the form.

The exhibition displays over 300 pairs of the most style worthy sneakers. All works are sourced from private loans, mostly Melbourne and Sydney collectors. Music and animation will be an important component of the exhibition and will highlight some of the music, dance and sports subcultures that are linked to particular sneaker fads.

AJ Grails

Original Nike Air Jordan 1 ( red / white / black )

released in 1985, gently worn and they're in great condition, also shows light aging sign near the top ankle.

date released : 85/09/11 TY1

size : 8 1/2

Holy Grail.......

two years later and i'm still testing........hopefully i'll be blogging regularly