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STEPPING OUT WITH LEGENDARY SNEAKER ICON SIMON ‘WOODY’ WOOD

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If you know about Sneaker Freaker, give yourself a pat on the back. If you don’t, allow us to school you a little. Released out of Australia three times a year, it’s the most iconic sneaker publications in the world and has sold hundreds of thousands of copies in more than 43 countries IN THE PAST 12 years. In the heart of Braamfontein we chatted to iconic designer and Sneaker Freaker founder about his inspirations, the magazine, his visit to SA, and his thoughts on modern society’s perceptions of street culture. Whether you’re a true sneaker-head or just genuinely love footwear, this interview is surely set out to inspire you one way or another.

Could you shed some light on how you got to establish Sneaker Freaker?

Yeah, I’m just a great example of someone with a ‘do-it-yourself attitude, something that I’ve seen a lot in Jo’burg as well. So in 2002 I decided to make a magazine about sneakers, so I bought myself a really expensive digital camera, I gave myself two weeks to make it, I met one person I knew had another collection as well, and two weeks later I had a magazine. Dude! You know like when you die your whole life just flashes? And it’s funny now when I look back in 12 years, I think “oh sh*t, what have I been doing?” I’ve just been travelling around the world and the fact that it took me to places like Jo’burg and Cape Town is just incredible. I’ve just had a really amazing time here.

You have collaborated and worked with a number of well-known brands, the most recognised as an iconic adidas designer. How did the workmanship between you and adidas come about?

That was an interesting one; it actually took a long time to come about. We did a lot of stuff with adidas before but that shoe (ZX Flux) came about just through having lunch when I was in Berlin. We were talking about shoes and I told the guys that we finally have to do a shoe and it’s funny that a lot of people ask me how we get a collabo, how it happens, and I’m like, “I don’t know.” The brands will know if you’re someone they should be doing something with and maybe they want something from you in return. Like you’re super cool or whatever it is, but that’s not the case with us. I think they knew that we would create a really good-looking shoe, that’s the one I’m wearing now. It’s pretty simple. We sketched out all the colours, sent over the material, they got it right the first time and what we’re really doing is putting a modern spin with new material and colours on a shoe that’s 20 years old.

If you were a sneaker, which one would you be and why?

[Laughs] I reckon I would be an Air Force 1; it’s quite nice and chunky. Air Force 1 is a shoe I still wear a lot and it’s quite probably the shoe that I’ve sort of actively collected the most. It’s the shoe I’ll always look for first whenever I go into a store. It’s got amazing history and you can’t mess with it as far as I’m concerned. It’s a very simple shoe and yet I’ve got it in probably 300 different colours.

FOR FULL INTERVIEW MAKE SURE TO COP YOUR COPY OF THE DECEMBER-JANUARY ISSUE CUURENTLY AVAILABLE NATIONWIDE.