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28 Apr 2009

Industry News

Corgishoe Interview

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Corgishoe is the ultimate man of mystery! You may never have heard of him, but if you’re a true head, you’d know about his ridunkulous collection that is so chunky, you can carve it. At last count, the rickety-piled boxes reached a mammoth 2000 pairs, but after inhaling enough leather and suede to fly high for decades, Corgi needed to go into sneaker rehab. Having amassed this museum of madness over 15 years, Corgi made the cold turkey decision to sell off his entire Nike collection, one pair of sneakers at a time. With enough heat to melt the Artic, we needed to get to the centre of this insanity and collar Corgi with some hard-ass questions, if only we could get him to stop talking about his damn dogs!Is he barking mad? Woof! Woof!

Yo Corgi, waddup! How’s things crackin’ in LA?

All is well. I’m looking forward to this year.

You’re selling off a massive collection of over 2000 Nikes. How long did it take you to accumulate them in the first place?

I’d say I’ve been buying shoes with the purpose of keeping them in good condition from ‘93-2004 with a few interruptions during that time. But it wasn’t hard to catch up on things I missed out on.

The obvious question is why?

Simply, it’s just that time. It’s really a matter of not having anywhere to store them. I never planned to sell my shoes but sometimes that’s how it goes. I haven’t bought a shoe since 2004, I don’t look at them, takes pics of them, or show people I have them, and I don’t wear them but I have one or two pairs of the ones I have so I figure why not let others get use out of them? Plus I can’t buy shoes how I used to years ago. Not only do I not have the money but it’s tough to buy for example each AM 90 that’s released, when there used to be four or five a year, and now it seems like four or five a month. My feelings towards shoes have remained the same. I love shoes. I always will but it doesn’t mean I need to buy another pair ever again or keep up with the current releases. I can be perfectly content not having any shoes except a few pairs of stuff no one wanted to begin with that I can wear till they fall off.

How do you feel about the ‘sneaker scene?’

I’m not really sure what the sneaker ‘scene’ is. I always bought what I wanted and never was one to show and tell. Very few people who know me personally know me as ‘Corgishoe’ nor would I want to walk around saying ‘hey my name is Corgishoe and I have 2000 pairs of sneakers’ and they certainly wouldn’t know I collect shoes by what shoes I wear day in day out. I think the ‘scene’ is a bit too hectic these days. Maybe people buy shoes more based on where a shoe is sold, how many are made, or how much they can resell them for or if someone who has somehow earned some message board/blog/internet ‘shoe cred’ says they are nice. People are buying shoes they might not even like and wearing them because of the reaction they will get or because they are limited. I hate when people show their collection and say ‘I don’t have much heat’. To me, every shoe you buy should be absolute heat. Why? Because, you as an individual like it. It’s your own personal preference. Why do you need anyone to co-sign your shoe choices?

Do you blame brands for that?

I think a major problem with the scene is how the shoe brands have lost their brand integrity. It all seems so fabricated, packaged, carefully staged, and gift wrapped with bells and whistles. It just doesn’t seem as personal anymore. Maybe the passion has left the scene and the business aspect has taken over. The consumer is just bombarded with ‘limited’ releases and re-retros of retros. And the consumer now expects every shoe to be retro’d. And every retro to be re-retro’d every two years. I used to be so enthused about new technology and design but I think that is sorely lacking and has been for years. It seems like there are just as many liquor stores as there are shoe boutiques all carrying the exact same product. It all just makes it very easy for me to just not pay attention to any of it at all and keep my memories instead. I am hoping the shoe brands get back to being creative and look at their respective brand history as inspiration to push the envelope towards the future.

Any other axes to grind?

Everything has become such a competition with who has the most limited shoes or who has this or that. You have shoe competitions, people titling themselves ‘king of this shoe or king of that shoe’, people posing with their shoes, and people making YouTube clips of their shoes. Or a magazine like Sole Collector that is just out to pimp and promote its own agenda and be in bed with certain brands for profit and its own indulgence. It all lacks any purity and passion. It seems to me that the focus is not on the shoes anymore. It’s all about the ‘status’ of a shoe. A great shoe can be totally dismissed because it's not limited or you don’t have to sleep on a curb for it.

What do you miss about those days when you had a major jones for the Swoosh?

That’s an easy one. I used to love going in to my local mom and pop store and asking the lady at the counter if I could see the newest upcoming release/sales sheet for all the brands. Man I can remember it like yesterday when I first saw Nike was coming out with the Air Max 95. Being able to see the next Jordan release or when New Balance came out with their Rollbar Technology. Remembering first seeing the Converse Energy Wave technology, or Reebok’s Pump program. Or Asics introducing their Gel Kayano. There were only a few new releases in a few basic colours and it was all so new and interesting. I know things will never go back to that because at the end of the day the shoe industry is exactly that; a business. But I certainly always look back and think how I enjoyed the simplicity of it all.

You pride yourself on being incredibly humble about your collection so it must have seemed a shock for the newer wave of collectors to come across your bottomless supply.

I think it’s easy to be humble about having a bunch of shoes. It’s not a big deal. I have no problem with anyone who likes shoes. Whether you just started buying shoes or you been collecting for 20 years. Whether you wear them or save them, it’s all the same to me. We all have to start some time. It’s not like I was the first person to like sneakers. I think it’s great that more and more people are becoming interested. And we all know that our own preferences and tastes change in all areas of life so if people treat shoes like a trend so be it. The people I find the most humour in are those who lived and breathed sneakers a few years back and now look down on those who still have a passion for it. They are the same people who used to line up and arrange their schedule around release dates and now swear they have been wearing Vans and Chucks since they were spit of their mammy’s womb. Everyone goes through changes in style and we are all certainly free to wear what we want but the people most critical of those who still appreciate and have a passion for sneakers are the biggest trend chasers out there. Trying to not be trendy is the new trendy. What you have is an entire group of people trying to be different and all wearing the same thing. Let’s face it; no one is going to reinvent the wheel with what you are wearing. You were influenced by someone and someone will be wearing the same thing you are. It shouldn’t matter at the end of the day unless you can’t look in the mirror and accept the fact that we are all products of hype, marketing, and consumerism.

Do you think we are finally growing up?

I think the trend is due to several reasons. It could be people just have different priorities and are at a different stage in their life where even if you still have a passion for sneakers you really don’t have the time to wear them as much as you did when you were 10-15 years younger. You’re not in school, not at a job where you can wear them and so on. Plus as you get older you realize it’s time to start saving for a house, car, or you have kids and a wife that suck all the money from you already so there’s not as much income for shoes. Or maybe it’s because older shoe buyers don’t like the general direction of the sneaker brands and want to disassociate themselves. I think a key reason is that people in general don’t like it when something that is ‘theirs’ becomes commercial and popular and has a following. And people’s tastes naturally evolve. So they rollover to another trend regardless of age. There are a lot of older people who are buying the same amount of shoes they did years ago except it’s different brands than the athletic footwear brands. There’s been a huge resurgence by classics like Vans and Converse who have capitalized on this market by doing exactly what the athletic footwear brands had done for so many years with limited releases, special make-up shoes and collaborations, and product placement in exclusive retailers.  Along with a very smart brand like Supra who have been able to grab a very diverse following.

Are you into any new sneaker brands?

To be honest I don’t follow any brand more than another or really follow it at all. There isn’t a single brand that hasn’t done a complete overhaul in direction. And I understand why. It’s called the shoe ‘business’. But I greatly appreciate all the shoes that all the brands have put out over the years that I am so fond of and remember so clearly.

You were collecting sneakers way before the advent of eBay and the interweb. You put in the hard yards! Is it disappointing to get rid of so much hard work or is it a necessity?

At first I thought it would be tough to sell the shoes. But truth be told, it’s not. I really just feel so disconnected to them that it’s just a formality now. It would be different if I was currently following sneakers or actively looking through my shoes. But I hadn’t looked at them for almost five years up until now since I started the blog. And I find enjoyment in people’s reactions to be able to find a pair they have been searching for and now can buy it. Plus you run into some good conversation with people who share a passion for shoes. The best part is getting people to send me photos of their dogs so I can put them up in the ‘Dog Of The Day’ section. And indeed it is a necessity to where I am at in life right now.

Any interesting stories you can recall on your hunt to find that holy grail?

I still have yet to find my holy grail. It’s the original Nike Air Python Basketball shoe. Pretty ugly shoe but that shoe stands out in my mind so distinctly like it was glowing when I walked into Foot Locker and saw it for the first time. But in general there weren’t many people who were really into shoes and asking to go into stockrooms and dig through stuff. And the owners of the mom and pop shops gladly wanted to sell you their old product because the shoe companies wouldn’t take it back. And by doing that you develop relationships with all these people and it just builds from there.

Are you surprised as to what is moving fast and what is being left for dead?

Sales have been good. It seems like each day there’s a few more people checking out the site and emailing. Some stuff moves faster than others but I can’t really think of any shoe that hasn’t received an email inquiry. And you get good offers and bad offers but that’s all part of the process and I never take offence to it because it’s not that serious. Plus I enjoy the emails from all over the world and get to know people a bit or talk about shoes and stuff like that. If I really wanted to I could have sold the collection in bulk to a few people/places but I like doing it this way and to be honest. The people who wanted to buy it in bulk were giving the most lowball offers you could imagine. Or I could just clear them out but I figure I have had them this long so I can just get fair prices for both the buyer and I. Not high end, not low end, just right in the middle where both of us are cool and the buyer will hopefully keep checking the blog and buy a few more pairs. All the shoes get attention and I believe I will have something for almost everyone at some point. And if not, at least a shoe that will bring them back to a memory from when it came out and what they were doing at that time. Mostly the stuff that moves the fastest is all the GR (general release) stuff that people missed out on years ago. And I have always preferred GRs over anything else. Some people claim to be ‘the so and so king’ or ‘the best Jordan collector’ or all those stupid self-imposed shoe titles so I will add to the lunacy and take the crown as the ‘GR King’. A title no one wants. All the stuff no one wanted that sat on sale racks and collected dust is my favourite shoe. It’s what I grew up on. It was the only option. And I think now looking back at it many people do appreciate the clean lines and simple colorways of the GR shoes from years back.

What are you going to do with all this newfound space now? It must be incredibly liberating to let go of such a massive part of your life…

Well I still have at least two years of selling to go by the way I’m doing it, by listing a few shoes daily so space is still an issue. It does feel liberating to get this process going and following through with it. Especially doing it my way, on my own terms. Not having to use eBay, a consignment shop, or meet the insane criteria to sell on a message board. I’m doing this on my own, on a free blog, and I’m very thankful to all those who have helped me spread the word about my blog and supported me.

Let’s talk about your name - it arises from your love of Corgi dogs right?

Well everyone needs a stupid shoe name. Whether it be for the message boards, eBay or whatever. So I just figured I have a corgi and I like shoes so that’s how Corgishoe came about. My dogs mean the world to me. Anyone who checks my blog can easily see that from all the photos I have of them to the tattoos of them on each of my forearms. Simply put they have never let me down, never lied to me, never used me and never forgot about me. Bubba just turned 13 and is still the alpha. El-A will be six in June and is such a great dog and is the sunshine in my life. I could go on forever about them!

Ever thought of doing a Corgishoe shoe?

I would love to do a shoe with a sneaker brand. But let’s face it shoe brands don’t look at a person like me to feature or promote or do a shoe with. I’m not famous, I’m not an artist/musician/dj, I’m not a shoe painter, and I don’t chase or create hype so why would they. But if I ever were fortunate enough to do a shoe it would be a shoe for the people, that’s very simple and plain. Just a classic shoe that I like with no flashy colour, no fur, no animal print from every animal on Noah’s Arc, no gimmicks, no bells and whistles, and none of that stuff that pervades the shoe market today. A simple nice leather with the three colors of my corgis: tan, white, and sable.

You are working with The Hundreds these days. How did you hook up with the brand and what is your part in the fam?

I knew Ben before The Hundreds started. So it’s been incredible for me to see how the brand has grown from when it started to where it is now. I’m lucky because if I hadn’t met Ben years before there’s no way they’d let a savage like me work for them! As far as my job with TH I just work in the warehouse. Nothing fancy.  But it’s the job that works best for me.

Do you see yourself staying on for a while, or do you want to venture into other avenues in the future? What is the Corgishoe dream?

I’m very fortunate to have a job with The Hundreds.  So I would like to stay on as long as they will have me.  But really I would just want to do something with dogs. Maybe a non- profit rescue shelter for dogs that places dogs in loving homes. That’s where my heart is: with dogs.

Thanks Corgi!

28 Apr 2009

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