Epsilon Magazine

I am a sneakerhead

I am a sneakerhead episode 108 - @Sneakersjeansts

I have been living in Melbourne Australia for about 8 years now, but originally I am from England, and pretty proud of my roots.

As far back as I remember, back in the 90s when Jordan was dominating the NBA, I used to wake up Sunday mornings in England when I wasn't playing sport and watch back to back NBA highlights and then NFL Blitz on Channel 4, it was 4 hours of some of the best sports action I had the chance to watch. Obviously in following NBA in the 90s and Michael Jordan you couldn't help but love the sneakers. In '92 When I was 10 I was lucky enough to go to America with my family and the one thing I had my heart set on for my birthday was a pair of Jordans. I was lucky enough to get a pair of Nike Air Jordan VI 'Carmine' OG sneakers. I wish I had kept them but they were worn to death, still I wish I had them for nostalgia as they were an OG pair, not that I knew much about that back in '92, and it was the shoe Jordan wore when he won his first NBA title. I would say that is my first memory of sneakers and they have been part of my life ever since.

Like I said since I was a young lad in the early 90s so over 25 years and counting sneakers have been a part of my life. In terms of buying and collecting though probably only since my early 20s, when I had my own means to pay for them and actually could afford to buy pairs. At this point the SB Dunk scene was thriving. I had a mis-spent youth at University with a good friend getting my ass handed to me at Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 on PS1. Obviously skate shoes were the go back then, and what Nike did with the SB range in terms of quality and concepts was pretty spectacular. My only regret at that stage on my sneaker evolution, was I had not really entered the runners scene, as a result I missed the epic AM1 and NB1500 days of the early/mid 2000s. I did not really transition to runners until 2008 onward, coinciding with the decline in the quality and construction of the SB Dunk range, something I am still sad about. 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.

There are so many elements that go into a sneaker, and I love the combination of these, the concept and design, manufacturing and materials. For me personally as a photographer I really enjoy shooting sneakers, showcasing the features of a shoe. I am often drawn to underrated and GR pairs, which more often than not end up being favourites for me, maybe just because I like having my own style and not always just going for what is hyped. I try to bring attention to some of the sneakers that might not have a huge following. An example of this would be the Asics Gel-Respector, which has been a go to for me in 2016, but for the most part is very underrated alongside the more hyped GLIII and GLV. The Karhu Fusion 2.0 would be another one on that list for me a spectacular shoe.

One of the best aspects of sneaker culture is the sense of community, I have connected with so many great people and can safely say I would not be where I am without the support I have had from them. It is inspiring to share my passion for sneakers with so many great people, so that is probably one of the biggest things I enjoy about sneakers.

In terms of my favourite pairs, it is a really tough question as I have so many mini collections within my whole range of sneakers, my SBs and Runners, broken down into Saucony, New Balance, Asics, Nike, Puma, Karhu and Reebok. I actually posted on some of my favourite New Balance pairs as part of the 99X Museum. Jason the owner of one of our local stores Up There Store in Melbourne showcased a superb retrospective gallery of 99X models, which prompted people to post their favourite 5 pairs. I found this challenge of just picking 5 pairs of New Balance from my collection near enough impossible so picking one favourite pair is seriously hard. If I could pick one pair from each of my collections, I would probably stump for:

Nike Dunk Low SB Tiffany sneakers

Cncpts X New Balance M998TN2 'C-Note' sneakers

END Clothing X Saucony Shadow 5000 'Burgers' sneakers

SIZE? X Nike Air Max Light 'Easter' Purple sneakers

Sneaker Freaker X Puma Blaze of Glory 'Great White' sneakers

JCREW X Asics Gel-Respector 'Blue Sky' sneakers

The Distinct Life x Reebok GL6000 Black sneakers

Patta X Karhu Fusion 2.0 sneakers

That being said most sneaker collectors would know a lot of the time what you yearn for on your feet just depends on your mood at the time and what you are pairing them with.

At the moment I have a photography website with some of my architecture and street photography portfolios on it www.photographybytomcunningham.com I have my streetwear/sneaker blog www.sneakersjeansandtees.com and finally Instagram @sneakersjeansts which is pretty much focused on sneakers at the moment.

These websites and projects are a constantly evolving process. Going forward I am going to be combining all my sites into one product photography/creative site under a single umbrella purely as a photographer, as that is my main focus. I love combining my photography with my love of sneakers, but ultimately photography is no.1 for me. This should hopefully be coming together over the next year, but all things take time for me as I work a regular job as well, while I am trying to get my photography career off the ground. Time is a premium for me, and for the past couple of years I have pretty much worked 7 days a week. I do love to work, but I will be happy when I am in a position to step back from the daily grind and focus more on my creative work professionally. So stay tuned guys and if anyone is looking to collaborate or work with me just drop me an email pr@sneakersjeansandtees.com



Oliver Berg