Interview with Dmitry Egorov - Sneaker Freaker Russia
Jeśli kiedykolwiek zastanawialiście sie jak wyglądają tenisówkowe (a raczej kedowe :) realia naszych wschodnich sąsiadów i nie mieliście okazji tego sprawdzić, dziś dajemy Wam możliwość nadrobienia zaległości.
W specjalnie przygotowanym dla tenisówek wywiadzie Dmitry Egorov redaktor naczelny SNEAKER FREAKER RUSSIA opowie Wam "jak to się robi w Rosji" . Zapraszamy do lektury
Hi Dmitry ! tell us about your background. How did you get involved in the sneaker game?
How it all get started and when?
Hi there! Well, my interest in sneakers started more than 15 years ago. The first thing I was fascinated with was Velcro stripes on my first reeboks in the early 80's. I was 5 or 6 years old and the “look ma no shoelaces” system was quite a wonder for me. So after that I started looking at other people shoes, trying to spot interesting ones on grown-ups feet. Years passed, I was growing and discovering “brave new world” around me. The next big thing I was exited about was rap music and breakdancing in late 80-ies. Here is the link to the famous Russian movie with break dancing in it
I was not a street kid, but a well behaved boy, and since break dancing was considered street and hooligan dance, I only watched, and listened to Russian raps of that time. It was hard to find US rap during that time in Russia (especially for well behaved “mother-boys” without any street connections) so I only read about it in some music newspapers that started to emerge in post-soviet Russia. Then in 1992 I moved I moved to Bonn, Germany with my mother. She worked there in the Embassy and I studied both my school subjects and
Yo MTV Raps videos, worked hard as a waiter trying to buy every rap record that came out. 1993… It was the year, when some of the most influential albums in US hip-hop hit the market. And one of the big hits was a group called Lords of the Underground. After I watched their video for “Chief Rocka” I realized that somehow the puma sneakers on the Breaker guy from the video was also the part of hip-hop for me.
So I started to work harder, trying not only to buy every new rap record, but also to buy new sneakers as often as possible. Unfortunately, my funds were very very limited, so it was more window shopping, but it were the beginnings of my sneaker collection. Unfortunately I wore lots of my old sneakers till their tragic death, because when we returned to Russia in 1997 I started spending my money on education, and had not much money to collect shoes, but in the 2002, when the university years were over started to earn some more, I started to buy sneakers again. Then, with the faster and cheaper internet it became much easier to follow the latest trends, to read stories about different brands and models and, which is more important – to connect with the fellow sneakerheads in Russia.
When did You decide to publish russian edition of Sneaker Freaker? How much it differs from original ?.
I started to write for different streetwear blogs and sites in Russia, building the connection to that industry and trying to get acquainted with more and more sneakerheads and streetwear freaks. Then, maybe a year ago, PMAM agency – one of the most influential Russian marketing communication agency called me and told me that they bought the license for Sneaker Freaker Magazine and asked me if I wanted to be the editor in chief of the mag. I was more than happy. For me, to be the editor in chief of Sneaker Freaker Russia is like for a rock musician to play on Jimmy Hendrix's guitar. So I said yes. Actually, our mag is the only adequate Russian
street culture magazine, so we do all our best to both: keep up with the high status of the Sneaker Freaker brand + be interesting for the Russian auditorium. We use both the original content from Woody (actually it feels great to read the articles from the upcoming Australian issue before it is even printed) and the local news and features. For the first issue – it was more of the translations from Australian #18 but for the next issues we will use more and more of Russian articles, photosets, news etc.
Where it can be bought ?!
Our distribution is much like the Aussie issue. You can buy Russian sneaker freaker Russian in Russian sneaker and streetwear stores, some music boutiques and some fashionable bookstores. There are also some issues on www.sneakersnstuff.com for our foreign collectors who might find it interesting to buy that piece of art for their collection. We have some distribution plans for the second issue, but one thing is for sure – You will not buy that mag on Your local newsstand, but we will do everything for You to buy it in Your local sneakerstore.
How would you describe Russian sneaker / street wear scene within the space of last few years ?
Well, Woody writes about the death of indie sneaker stores, but in Russia is quite the opposite – they emerge like mushrooms after the summer rain. When You read interviews with older sneakerhead, they reminisce about good old days, when there were not any eBays and rakutens, and You had to go sneaker hunting
all over Your city, or even travel abroad like UK casuals of the 80's did in order to get fresh adidas city series trainers. I would suggest to these guys to come to Russia, since there many sneaker stores do not have their own internet pages and You have to go through the city if You want to find something interesting.
A lot of people claim, that the prices are too high and the sneakers here are not that interesting, but that’s not true. I bought most of my gems in Russia and not abroad. If You want to buy rare sneakers, You have good chances to buy them for reasonable prices in Moscow. Gucci Dunks, Space Jams, What the Dunk and even air Yezzys or adidas x stone island collab – come to Russia to buy them. I’ll show You where!
...what about websites ?
Well, there aren’t much of real sneakersites. More of newsblogs, lead by enthusiasts, who try to bring more people and more interest to sneaker culture in Russia.
...Events and exhibitions ?
Some Nike and adidas events but not much of the local shows, except for Faces and Laces annual streetwear and streetart exhibition, organized by Russian talented street artist and designer Oskes. Props to him! He does all his best to promote the culture and elevate it to new higher levels.
...typical clientele ?
Young people. People who love sneakers. Some of them are here with the hype, but sometimes there are true hardcore sneakerheads b-ball players, casuals, hooligans, rappers, hipsters, b-boys and fashionistas. Sneakerheadism is spreading like a virus and You do not know, where it will strike again.
We know that a lot of things is going on in Moscow. What about remote parts of Russia and former USSR republics ?
Well, actually I do not kow much about it, unfortunately. In the thread devoted to sneakers on www.hip-hop.ru where I spend a lot of time, there are several guys from other cities or former USSSR republics, but they are like lone gunmen, without any good shops out there. But, as I stated before, maybe I just do not know about them and there are some of them there. I only know about shops in Kazan, Ryazan, Krasnodar, Rostov and St-Petersbrg, but all other cities are like uncharted territory for me. Hope that will change soon.
And in former USSR republics – we have distribution in Ukraine, which is not that huge, but I hope it will also spread.
One more problem is fake shoes. In Moscow, there are some spots, but brands try to hunt down the sellers of fake sneakers, but outside Moscow – they are everywhere. Sometimes they are sold to rich kids, who just do not know how to differ legit kicks from fake ones, for very high prices. It’s funny to see these guys cruising in expensive cars like Lexus or BMW and rocking some fake Yezzy's or LV's.
Do you have any local sneaker / streetwear brands?
Yes, there are several.
Code Red is well-known and respected clothing line made by street artists. They started their blog and magazine and then extended to their own clothes. Quite nice. I like them because their stuff has style and quality. They also have clever distribution and small runs of all their gear so the chances to see someone else in the hoodie or beanie of the same colour as Yours are not so high.
Then there are guys who make their own 5 panel caps under the brandname Piece together. They are also ok. They follow the same principles as the Code Red guys – small runs, limited releases etc.
Ditch clothing are guys in Kiev, who also happen to be our distributors and lead their own blog they also have their own brand .
Anteater is guy from St Petersburg, who makes collab t-shirts and hoodies with local graffiti artists under the brand name Anteater Clothing. Some people say the quality of his T-shirts is not that good, but it’s acceptable for me + my wife wears their hoodie as a warm dress in winter, so I like them.
Also their caps and beanies are Ok.
Dynamo They still produce sneakers on soviet era machinery. It is popular to give negative reviews to almost everything that was made in the USSR, but I do not follow that trend. Maybe these sneakers are not setting new groundbreaking standards in the trainers industry, but for that price you will not find anything better! And even without any marketing plan or famous logo they still produce and sell shoes, and have tons of satisfied customers. And some of their models are not that bad. Quite like that small European brands like Tisza or Patrick.
Afour makes kicks from scratch. Not customizing Dunks and air forces with paint but producing shoes from sole to laces. In your own materials, colours and sizes. And they are really good, we even made a feature on them in the premier issue of Sneaker Freaker Russia.
Of course, there are a lot more. I just mentioned the most well-known ones, those who can compete with international brands.
Can you compare Russian market to other parts of the world and Europe? What makes the Russian market special? adidas seems to be very strong brand in Your country – is that true ?
Yes, adidas is everywhere. Adidas and all possible fakes of him, like abibas, odidos and couple thousands more. From the late 80's adidas gained a reputation of solid brand. If you wear adidas – you have money to buy it (at that time everything was too expensive in Russia) and also you have power and guts to protect yourself if someone tries to snatch it from you (the crime rate at that time was also enormous). Now the wild 90-ies are long gone but the image of adidas equipment is still associated and mostly worn by thuggish clientele. I can understand them. These guys have style. Check this video.
Russian branch of adidas also try to popularize adidas originals, but it is popular only in biggest Russian cities while outside them instead of celebrating originality people just work hard to feed their children and have not much time for celebration. But if You compare Moscow in terms of kicks with other European cities – it is much alike. We do not have footlocker and big brands do not make collabs with local sneaker stores, but I hope they will be doing it soon. I travel in Western Europe a lot and I can say that lots of young people stomp the concrete with nice sneakers, no matter if its Moscow or Cologne. Maybe there are some differences in the most popular models, but still, sneakers are everywhere. One more REALLY BIG difference is dirt. Moscow is big there are a lot of cars, a lot of dust, a lot of dirt so when in Europe You wear same sneakers like a week and they still stay fresh and clean, in Moscow You have to clean them on daily basis.
What's hot and what's not in Russia now?
Hot: Air max, New Balance, Casuals, Sport pants, 5 panel caps, Fixed Gear, Puma blackstation, Vans era, Carhartt, Spiewak
Not: Reebok, Jordan, Baggy pants, Timberland, Nike acg
What do you think about sneaker culture condition nowadays? In which direction it will evolve in the near future?
It’s a very complicated question. One thing I can say for sure – sneakers are everywhere! Hope they will not be overhyped soon.
Your favourite sneakers? What did You wear today ?
One more complicated question. There are so many, Let me just describe the ones I wore last couple of weeks: Air Max 1 Athletic West, Puma suede , Jordan 6 Rings, Osiris Rhyme Del, K1X Chiefglider x BOUNCE collab, Converse wave trainer, Puma Sk8-Hi, Jordan VII Countdown pack, Reebok classic x ALIFE collab.