1. Who (are you?), What (do you for a living?), Where (do you live?)
Hi, I’m Raphaël, Raph it’s easier 🙂 I’m 29, turning 30 in a few days. I’m from Marseille in the South of France but now I’m living in Annecy, in The French Alps, near Geneva.
I work as an architect, for restaurants, in a small family business. And at the same time, I enjoy my passion for sneakers, street culture and graphic design.
2. When did your love for sneakers start and why do you love sneakers so much?
I think I’ve always loved shoes, since I was a kid I have always attached importance to what I have on my feet. When I was 15, I played tennis with my Stan Smith. But it was between my 20s and 25s that I really started to take an interest in Sneakers, their history and all the culture around them.
I’ve always loved fashion, but when you’re not necessarily in physical standards, it’s immediately more complicated to wear what you want and for sneakers this problem doesn’t really exist. Anyone can wear a pair they like, without wondering if they’ll look good on you, and that’s what I liked about the sneakers at the beginning.
3. Do you remember your first pair of sneakers? Which pair was it?
From what I Remember, my first pair was an Airmax BW, the OG colorway, or an Airmax Plus TN. It was a difficult mission to convince my parents to buy me this, it was expensive and only available on Foot Locker.
4. What’s your favorite brand and model?
I’m in love with a lot of brands and models but Nike would be forever the best for me, and in particular Airmax 1 which is my favorite model for ever. It’s actually the one I have the most in my collection. For me, this is one of the essential foundations of this culture.
5. How many sneakers do you have in your collection?
Like many, I stopped counting for a while, but I would say I have between 70 and 80 pairs. It’s huge for a lot of people but when I see all the collectors around me I tell myself that it’s still reasonable! That’s actually what I tell myself to not worry 😀
6. What’s your favorite pair from your collection?
Without the slightest hesitation this is my Airmax 1 ATMOS Elephant Print Retro.
I have always been in awe of this colorway, I find it perfect!
Lately I get the chance to double this pair to keep one for my display and the future and wear the second in a relaxed way. I haven’t taken a photo series on this beauty yet but it should happen soon, I promise!
7. Which pair(s) are still on your wish list?
Oh, a lot of pairs ! AM1 Safari Size, AM1 Patta Corduroy, AM1 Patta Chloro, Asics GL3 Koi Red and Orange, AJ4 Kaws, AJ4 OW Sail…
But if I have to choose my 3 grails it would be: AM1 Cherrywood, AM1 Parra F&F 2018 and the Tom Sachs’ Nike Mars Yars 2.0. But I think that will stay dreams!
8. Do you have a favorite sneakerstore or -shop?
In Marseille, my favorite one was Cornerstreet. But since I’m living in Annecy, there is no longer shops near me. I think the best shop memories I have had were in Solebox shops. Amsterdam, München, Brüssel, Wien… Only beautiful places with real concepts, and vacation memories that I will remember for many years.
9. Which brand and / or model would you never wear in your life? And why is that?
I am not closed to a model or a brand in general, although I obviously have my preferences. However, I don’t think I will ever have in my collection pairs of luxury sneakers like Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton …
It’s not at all what I am and what I like, and I see these new trends more as cultural appropriation, but that’s only my opinion.
10. Which sneaker in your collection was the hardest to find/get?
I think this is my Asics Gel Lyte 3 La MJC Re-birth with the special Pack! A huge colorway, a collab limited to 500 pairs, which cannot be seen everywhere…
I looked for this for months at a fair price and it was finally my friend, that you know well, @roman_custom who gave me a great assist!
11. What advice would you like to give to new sneakerheads?
Be patient! You can’t have everything right away, a collection is built over the years, with stories around the pairs, which is what gives them a special flavor, in my opinion.
Everyone had a time when we wanted to buy everything that came out or went out, now it’s impossible and we have to deal with it and focus on the pairs we really want to have… Research is also fun for me!
12. What has been your biggest steal ever?
Definitely my Saucony Goethe X Afew, 70 euros on Vinted, or my Vans Old Skool X TNF, 50 euros. After that I don’t know if we can really talk about “steals” but considering the current prices, I’m happy to had my AM1 / 97 Sean Wotherspoon and AJ1 Low Travis Scott at retail price. It’s so unusual on this kind of pair …
13. How much time a day / a week do you spend on “sneakers”?
A lot of time every day! I work from home, which gives me the freedom to devote myself to my passion during my breaks. I work regularly on my illustrations for my Instagram account, it allows me to learn and progress slowly in graphic design, which is another of my hobbits.
I always keep an eye out for any good deals… And I chat daily with friends on Instagram, by the way I give a shout out to my talk buddies, they will recognize each other 😉
14. How do your loved ones feel about your sneaker lifestyle?
At first some didn’t understand, just seeing me as someone with a lot of shoes.
Now most of them understand that this is a real passion, that it goes deeper than just wearing something on your feet…
And now that I share this passion with friends who have converted or met on Instagram, I feel a lot more understood and I share a lot of things that I kept to myself before. About that, I’m just coming back from a nice little trip to Barcelona full of wonderful encounters and great memories!
15. Where can people follow you on your socials?
To follow me it happens on Instagram on my account @les.sneakers.de.raph , I publish series of 6 pics + 1 illustration around one of my pairs every 2 or 3 weeks. With little infos and anecdotes (probably translated in English soon) and cool shots mainly made with my friends Clément and Rémi. The account is only a few months old, a lot of things are happening, I have some stock 😀
I also collaborated with the talented @sneaknstring on a project linking sneakers and decoration. I designed his packaging, if you are curious do not hesitate to take a look. Other projects will surely happen over time with encounters, everything happens on my Instagram 😉
Thank you so much to the Sneakerplaats team for this little interview, it is always a pleasure to talk about a common passion.