"Just do you. Don’t be phased by what’s in, what’s not or whatever."

Photography by Kenny Ng

This episode marks the sixth instalment on the Sneakerhead Talks series and what an awesome first half of 2016 it has been! As promised in the last Sneakerhead Talk with CJ, I travelled north for the Brisbane Swap meet.

This month’s sneakerhead is one of the most unique and interesting dudes I’ve had the pleasure to speak to. Speaking his thoughts on Brisbane’s sneaker scene and the culture within it, I present to you, Mr. Anthony Mack.

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A Little About Anthony

“My name’s Anthony, aged 23 and I was born here in Brisbane. That said, my parents live and work up in Papua New Guinea, so I’ve spent about half of my life up there. Personally — I love rugby union, eating at quirky new cafes, and of course, sneakers.

I used to study Clinical Physiology, but at the moment I’m studying Marketing at the Queensland University of Technology. I also work at Glue Store, and hope to one day be a part of the marketing and creative process at ASICS either in Australia or Japan.

After a long week I love to unwind with mates, preferring to head out for a night out in the city. Apart from sneakers, I don’t really collect much. Those pop culture figurines are pretty cool and I’m a fiend for anything comic book related, so there is that!

As for my style, it varies depending on the sneaker most of the time. Anything that looks clean is relatively attractive to me, not too much going on with the general outfit. A classic fit is the plain tee, jeans and sneakers combo which can be seen as simplistic for some, but sometimes simple is best! In winter, a coat, knitted jumper or denim jacket never goes astray.”

Anthony Mack-7

Sneaker Game Beginnings

“I’ve always had some sort of admiration for sneakers, but I really got into collecting, funnily enough, once I had lost weight and was able to actually wear some nice clothes. Sneakers came hand in hand and the rest is history!

I’ve always had a thing for the Gel Lyte III’s split tongue. It’s so different it got me hooked.”

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Starting ASICS and New Balance AU  

“It’s pushed my love for ASICS along that’s for sure. I’ve always loved the split tongue the Gel Lyte 3 model has; it’s unique to any other sneaker I’ve seen. The only flaw being is you’re gonna hope you get the right size so that you can actually close it up though. Nonetheless, this unique design is what drew me to the sneaker; it’ll forever be an all-time favourite for me.

As for starting the group, Kenny approached me with the idea, told me of another dude who’d be an immense help (Thom) and the rest was history. We just wanted to provide a platform for ASICS and New Balance lovers to come together to sell and discuss sneakers. I know to some (not all), few of the ASICS and New Balance crowd can come across as elitist at times, but we’re hoping to snuff that out. We want people to realize that at the end of the day, we all love the same thing. It’s pointless arguing over this or that, respect others if you want the respect back. A lot of the members have amazing collections that I’m jealous about, hopefully they can help me grow as an ASICS enthusiast myself!”

Anthony Mack-5

Love and Hate of Today’s Sneaker Scene

“I love that it brings people together from all sorts of backgrounds. Sneakerheads who have a mutual understanding or respect for people’s passion and taste is always great to see. I’ve made a lot of mates through the scene and have also met some very generous individuals who have strong convictions of their own.

As of late however, one notorious thing that has bothered me is the reselling culture. That being said, there is a clear difference between the ‘reselling’ that we know versus merely reselling shoes at market price. There are a growing number of individuals who line up for sneakers with the intention to sell off immediately for a large amount of profit. Sadly and unfortunately this very often means someone, who genuinely wanted to wear the sneaker, will miss out. I can understand the simple economics of supply and demand, but once you throw bad and selfish intentions into the mix, you’re not in it for the right reasons.”

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The Meaning of Grails

“I see the word ‘grail’ thrown around so carelessly when people search for a certain shoe. There isn’t any weighting to the phrase ‘looking for my grail’ with some. A grail is meant to be the unobtainable. Something you get, by going through great lengths to find.

A lot of sneakers people classify as their grails are easily obtainable if the person is willing to pay the steep market price. Rarity and limited numbers means higher price to most. Family and friends packs that are intended for specific individuals but make their way onto the worldwide sneaker market. These are guaranteed to have a large mark up in market price; it’s how things work.”

 

Microcosm of the Bigger Sneaker Scene

“We have the city life here in Brisbane, but on a smaller scale to Sydney and Melbourne. It’s not as hectic as down south, but it’s still something.

Ever since BSB (Brisbane Sneaker Bazaar) came along, Brisbane’s sneaker culture has been something to admire. It’s a bit bias coming from me, but I’ve met a lot of great people through the Brisbane scene who are super genuine. The supply of sneakers up here isn’t as strong as down south, but there are still people up here who have a lot of heat and a lot of passion for the sneaker game. Sneakerheads in Brisbane (the ones I have met personally) have always been happy to help each other out which has shown what kind of culture we really have as a city.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Sydney and Melbourne for many reasons, but I feel as though there are certain groups of people who aren’t in it for the right reasons. I actually like Yeezys and love the Ultra Boost, amongst many other sneakers. But I feel as though the ‘Boost Scene’ has really sparked some negative aspects in the sneaker culture, which has been prominently shown down south. Keep in mind that not everyone is like that; it’s a certain group of individuals.

At the end of the day though, they’re just shoes. We all love the same thing, so we shouldn’t let individual tastes alienate people from the sneaker game. You love Diadora? Rad. You love ASICS? Good on you. Each to their own really.”

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A grail is meant to be the unobtainable. Something you get, by going through great lengths to find.

Grand Vision: Brisbane Community at Large

“I want it to stand by what it was originally founded on. It’s held itself together quite well from what I can see. The BSB admins are doing a top job promoting a helpful environment and it’s really brought on board some absolute top blokes. I have nothing but praise for that lot, I hope I’m personally able to work with the more in the future to really show what Brisbane has to offer!”

Advice for New Sneakerheads

“Just do you. Don’t be phased by what’s in, what’s not or whatever. If there’s a sneaker you love and can afford it, go for it. I’ve always been a bad influence on some, always pushing them to drop the coin on shoes. But so far, none of them have regretted it and it’s somewhat rewarding to see people cop new sneakers and grow their own collection. Just enjoy yourself!”

Anthony Mack-11

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Six months ago the Sneakerhead Talks series began as did my part as a collective that is DopeKoto. It only made sense to do it right, hosting our first and hopefully not our last interstate feature. Without rambling on, I’m eager to see what the future holds for the series. Brisbane sneakerheads; I think I might have to make visits a regular thing!

To the readers, I want to thank each and every one of you for the endless support. Be sure to watch this space for the next one!


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