Preserving memories through sneakers
When I was in Paris last week, I walked into a small sneaker shop in Le Marais. About a year earlier I’d recognized the photographed Nike Blazers on a French girl in New York City, she looked cool ass and I wanted in.
Apparently not hard enough though–I didn’t research the shoes birth place or current locations of residence until about two months ago, after having arrived at the realization (with the help of a certain Charlotte,) that wedge sneakers are this decade’s Sketchers equivalent. At last, the search for those familiar Nike Classics began. I have learned that taking a trend to its source feels far more satisfying than settling for the more updated, overpriced version of it.
Asos had at one time stocked them (and I do believe they’re back,) Nike Town did not and for the most part, it was a slew of British e-tailers that offered them with a hefty price tag. At a whopping 110 GBP, I reckoned paying my rent in what was likely the US dollar equivalent seemed far more lucrative.
Back at the shop in Le Marais now, looking down at my right foot–I was trying on a black and white pair and a green and black pair–I saw them staring up at me.
“Look away!” I said.
I contemplated how stupid it felt to purchase American shoes on European soil but reasoned their British Pound price (here, they were 80 euro,) and off I went with the black pair. I was glad I had settled on them: the gold tassel loafers I’d previously been wearing were starting to cut the fuck out of my feet.
I changed into my new kicks.
What I noticed: they looked a bit like Air Walks. Immediately, I loved them more. In our heyday (the early 90s,) my older brother had loved Air Walks and thus I too, had loved Air Walks.
Just like that, the shoes procured a tender sense of nostalgia.
I couldn’t help but wonder, is that what all the recent retroactivity is about? Are we trying to procure nostalgia and using whatever scraps we can find from the short pasts behind us to bring it forward? Charlotte made a brilliant point about the rapid pace at which our generation’s (the millennials) childhood has come and gone. Twenty years ago, cell phones barely existed and the internet was used for governmental purposes fairly exclusively. Today–who are we without the two?
Handicapped, we’re handicapped.
Yesterday, I looked back at the some of the essays I’ve already penned for Man Repeller–it seems the common denominator of most are backlashes, preservation, my inherent obsession with the internet. To add just one more layer to the unfolding onion, I’ll say that I do believe we’re using fashion (retro sneakers, graphic t-shirts, I might argue even the resurgence of, gasp, birkenstocks) as a vehicle to help sustain memories that aren’t so distant and yet seem like light years ago.
Back in New York, shoe on foot, they started to look like the pair of Adidas sneakers my mother had been wearing while she birthed me with her own two hands.
That’s actually not true at all, but makes for a dramatic kicker. At last, a new layer begins to unfold.
What do you think?
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