The Stash: @gtfan712

  • Air Jordan 1

    @gtfan712

    Can you remember the first sneaker you got that changed your approach to shoes? Where you went from wearing shoes casually to being a person who actually loves and collects them?

    I’ve been into shoes since my middle school basketball days in Reebok Answers, but the shoe that kickstarted my current collection was a pair of Jordan I Phats that I picked up at my local mall. The colorway is identical to the White/Navy 2001 Jordan I, but with an embroidered Wings logo.

    1 of 10
  • @gtfan712

    How many pairs do you have and where do you store everything? Do you have a favorite right now? If someone asked you to showcase one shoe from your collection, what would it be?

    I’m currently somewhere around 200 pairs, but I’m looking to downsize. Quality > quantity. They’re scattered in stacks all around my home, but I’ve got it fairly organized. My current favorite silhouette is the Stan Smith. Between the OG White/Fairway Green colorway, the German-made Hirsch Kollektion Stan Smith, and the contemporarily-modified Barney’s collaboration, there’s a white pair of Stan Smiths on my feet at least once a week.

    2 of 10
  • @gtfan712

    @gtfan712

    What’s the sneaker culture like from where you’re from?

    I’m from Atlanta, where sneaker culture is abundant, but shallow. Over the last few years Atlanta has grown to become one of the biggest cities for sneakers, with Nike moving from a small Nike Running store to the massive NikeATL that anchors Atlanta’s biggest mall. As sneakers continue to trend, more grade school kids are joining in, wearing plenty of Roshes, KDs, and ZX Fluxes, all paired with (oftentimes matching) crew cut socks.

    3 of 10
  • @gtfan712

    What are the most popular shoes among the community in your region right now?

    A trip to Lenox Mall on a weekend will result in plenty of Jordan Retro sightings, but not much more. Although retro running has taken off in recent years, Atlanta has remained loyal to the Swoosh and Jumpman, even with gradually rising prices. If you’re looking to purchase New Balance, Asics, or Saucony, you’ll have to shop at boutiques, and even there the selection can be limited.

    4 of 10
  • Nike Air Huarache

    @gtfan712

    What’s a sneaker and/or line in your collection that you feel gets overlooked/underappreciated by the masses?

    I’ve always liked the Air Flight Huarache, especially in the original White/Lyon Blue/Bold Berry colorway. The 2012 Free variation was one of the first shoes I added to my current collection, back when NikeStore used to release products at midnight. Nike re-released the original silhouette as a quickstrike earlier this year, but they restocked as a general release for the summer. They’re still readily available, and priced at only $115 with impressive leather quality.

    5 of 10
  • @gtfan712

    Have you had any crazy release day stories? 

    My craziest release has to be the Lance Mountain Jordan I SB. I was in Europe traveling with family on a cruise ship, docking in Barcelona on the day of the release. My brother and I managed to jig the ship’s Internet to find the one skate shop in Barcelona that was carrying the shoes, so we hopped off the ship first thing in the morning to go line up. We rolled up in a taxi around 6:30 a.m. expecting to find some sort of crowd, but we were the only ones there. Four hours later, after a few games of alley soccer with local kids, the shop employees arrived and we were still the only people lined up. We each grabbed both colorways and headed back to the ship to continue our vacation. Not as “crazy” as some sneaker releases in the US, but navigating through a foreign city using broken Spanish to find a pair of shoes was quite the experience.

    6 of 10
  • @gtfan712

    How have things like Instagram changed the sneaker industry over the past few years?

    Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and all of social media have completely changed the community aspect of sneakers. Social media provides a platform for discussion that isn’t available to most of us in our day-to-day lives. I started my YouTube channel while in college, where I had few friends interested in sneakers, to showcase my new pickups and generate discussion. Years later, I’ve made some incredible friends through social media, while growing a following that I’m able to share my content with on a daily basis.

    7 of 10
  • @gtfan712

    @gtfan712

    What cool things has your love of sneakers enabled you to do?

    This hobby has provided me with incredible opportunities, from landing a job in the industry in boutique retail, to working with brands and retailers on photo and video projects, to meeting incredible like-minded creatives with a passion for footwear.

    8 of 10
  • @gtfan712

    What’s the hardest part of this hobby/maintaining your collection?

    It might not seem difficult, but putting out consistent video and photo content is hard work. Everyone making YouTube videos is putting in hours of work for only minutes of screen time, but the appreciation of the viewers makes it all worth it. Unlike bigger genres on YouTube, sneaker videos net significantly less ad revenue, resulting in a YouTube community that produces videos because they truly enjoy it.

    9 of 10
  • Saint Laurent

    @gtfan712

    What were the highlights of 2014 for you in terms of the sneaker industry and in your own collection? And if you could map out the perfect sneaker year in 2015, what would that include for you?

    2014 was a big year, packed full of releases and an unprecedented amount of collaborations. Oversaturation became a topic of conversation, as products that would’ve sold out instantly in years past didn’t seem to carry the same weight in the later half of 2014. You can check out my personal favorites from 2014 in my Top 10 video. The first half of 2015 has continued the trend of oversaturation, resulting in customers becoming more selective with their purchases. I personally have started experimenting with higher-quality footwear brands, opting for the Saint Laurent SL/10H over tracking down a pair of Royal or Bred Jordan Is. In the second half of 2015, I plan to pick up my first pairs from Y-3, Common Projects, and maybe a pair of Raf Simons Stan Smiths.

    10 of 10
  • Air Jordan 1
  • @gtfan712
  • Nike Air Huarache
  • @gtfan712
  • Saint Laurent

The sneaker community is an interesting place. Because of the rise of the Internet and the growth of social media apps like Instagram, the game has changed. Back in the day, each area of the country might of had its own unique sense of style or swagger, and the people involved might’ve been limited to street cats who loved basketball. But now? In 2015? The culture is everywhere and there are no limits. A female in Europe can floss and influence just as much as a Jordan head in Detroit can. And sometimes regular Joes can grow to be even more important to the culture than some professional athletes.

While that new popularity has often bred posers and hypebeasts in record numbers, I’m also seeing a slight changing of the guard recently as well. Air Jordans are still probably the country’s most hyped silhouettes but more and more cats are coming up ready to break the trend. Some of that, I’m sure, stems from the obvious fact that Michael Jordan has been retired for nearly 15 years. However, the rise of younger, creative brands has to also play a role.

If you need an example, check out @gtfan712’s Instagram page. While posting nearly 1,500 times, with pretty much all of them associated with sneakers, this sneakerhead has racked up close to 12,000 followers. His taste? Eccentric. He runs against the tide.

There are sneakerheads all over the country who are constantly looking to separate themselves from the competition. This cat does all of that and then some. Check out @gtfan712’s sneaker stash.

Follow Sean on Twitter at @seanesweeney

all images via @gtfan712