Sneakerhead Talks: Graham Gee
"If everyone bought what they liked, you wouldn’t see the one-upmanship that is so prevalent."
We kick off this month’s Sneakerhead Talks instalment with a Canadian-born, Melbourne-living, big footer. Size 14 big. That man is Graham Gee, a super chill individual who loves his kicks. When not hunting down his grails in that hard-to-cop size, Graham also has a passion for snowboarding, photography, and basketball.
A Little Bit About Graham
“I was born in Canada and moved here at a young age. I grew up near Newcastle and have recently moved down to Melbourne to study. I’m an electrician by trade and have worked in all corners of the country so it’s nice to finally be settled somewhere and have my own space.
I like to take photographs and play a little bit with motion editing. Basketball has always been a big part of my life and I still enjoy playing these days. I’m a passionate traveller and snowboarder. In the mountains with a board, camera and some friends is really when I’m having the most fun. You can’t beat sharing that kind of thing with like-minded mates.”
Describing His Style
“I don’t know if I have a ‘style.’ I don’t concern myself with too much of that sort of stuff. You will find me in whatever I’m comfortable wearing. More often than not, that’s just a pair of jeans and a plain tee.”
Influences Triggering Onset Into Collecting
“Growing up playing basketball I guess I was always interested in what was available, though the things I liked weren’t always available to me. The pair that sticks out in my mind is the Air Jordan XI ‘Concord’. As a twelve-year-old, my parents told me that I couldn’t have a pair and remember begging relentlessly to get them. Alas, this was to no avail. I grew up in that era where there was a heavy influence from Jordan, but he wasn’t the only one.
I’ll call it an appreciation for skateboarding, as I was never good at it at all. The early Emerica Reynolds and Marc Johnsons, I still see as classic silhouettes. Those and the éS Koston 1’s were just great shoes. I spent a lot of time on bikes with my friends as a kid and wore those pairs until they literally couldn’t be Shoe Gooed anymore.”
The Most Elusive Pair
“The most elusive item in the collection, I guess, as far as actively chasing a pair down goes, would probably have to be the LeBron X ‘Cork’ in my size 14. Retail only went to a 13, and the bigger sizes were only available to Nike athletes at the time. I was advised that I needed to size down in them. So I got a size 13, but it was too small. Fortunately, I finally came across a 14 not too long ago. Patience.”
Collector or Enthusiast?
“I guess a bit of both. I have pairs that, at the time, I’ve purchased purely for a collection piece, but I’ve also had an appreciation for basketball and skate shoes since I was very young. Now that I’ve moved toward my career change, I’m able to wear the stuff I’ve purchased over the last few years and get a lot more enjoyment out of them than just having them sit in a box.”
A Pair That Deserves More Recognition
“I’d probably prefer to use the word ‘appreciation’ as opposed to ‘recognition,’ purely because I’ve purchased the shoes because I appreciate them. My collection is quite diverse, and there are probably quite a few pairs that don’t garner the appreciation that I have for them. I’m going to say, for me, It’s the original NikeLab ACG Flyknit chukka.
I think it just goes unnoticed in Australia because they’re not really in line with what is being chased these days. It’s just a pair you don’t see too often over here. They’re comfortable and light and are great for trekking through hikes and walks. Those that really like them know what they are but there really isn’t much about them that screams popularity, at least to the masses.”
Likes and Dislikes of Current Sneaker Community
“I love the friends I’ve made. I’ve met some great people through my dealings with shoes and the genuine guys that I now consider great friends are about the best thing to come out of it all.
I don’t like the materialism or the importance people put on not only shoes in general, but especially the limited release stuff. Sure, we’re interested in shoes and yeah, they’re a material thing. But what you have in your collection doesn’t change you. It doesn’t make you and it certainly doesn’t define you. They’re shoes. Put them on your feet and enjoy them.”
Advice for the New
“It gets said so often that I feel it’s cliché to say it. Buy what you like and enjoy what you buy. If everyone bought what they liked, you wouldn’t see the one-upmanship that is so prevalent.
If it’s older stuff you are chasing, exercise patience and you’ll eventually find what you’re looking for.”
As we conclude the 10th episode of the series, I want to give a huge shout out to Graham for the good vibes and mentoring me on my photography. Appreciate all the tips, brother. I look forward to catching up and sharing a cold brew.
To our readers, many thanks again for supporting DopeKoto and the series. Be sure to catch November’s episode as it will be here in no time!