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American Sneakerhead and Photo Composer: Carlos Jiménez Varela


Hapsari Listya
July 23, 2022

Carlos Jiménez Varela @cejimenez is an award-winning photo composer who shows his sneaker obsession through his photos. It all started since his childhood in the 80's where Air Max 1 was a big thing during that time.

All images via @cejimenez

What was the moment you first got drawn to sneakers, and which pair of sneakers triggered your passion?

During my childhood back in the 80's, sneaker technologies were starting to evolve so shoes became more of a statement piece in your style rather than a performance product. Air Max 1 was a really big thing. The fact that you could see through your shoe and walk literally on air was amazing.

Then in my teens, I played basketball all through high school. So for me, as well as most of my peers, it was all about this guy named Michael Jordan! I am sure you might have heard of him.

What’s one moment or trend in the history of sneaker culture that resonates with you?

If we are talking about recent trends, I would say the prominent place New Balance is having right now in sneaker culture; which I think is long overdue. They have been making really smart choices from the models they decide to bring back from their back catalog to the collaborations they choose to feature those silhouettes with. And obviously, hiring Teddy Santis from ALD as Creative Director for the Made in US line is one of the best business decisions they have made in the last decade.

Please describe how it feels to you when you get and wear a new pair of kicks?

It's a multi sensorial experience! From the anticipation before it arrives to the unboxing, the inspection, then the new sneaker smell (we all know it too well), to the lace up. I re-lace all my brand new sneakers because I have a particular way to do it and  I also take the opportunity to swap the laces on some pairs when I feel the shoe calls for it. Then you put them on your feet and you feel like a million bucks. It's incredible.

What are some of your favorite creators/designers or brands and why?

Erroslon Hugh (Acronym), Yoon Ahn (Ambush), Salehe Bembury (Spunge), Chitose Abe (Sacai), and Hirofumi Kojima (Atmos). I love the ones who are willing to push the envelope of sneaker design without pushing too hard like Raf Simons or Matthew M. Williams.

Don't get me wrong, there is great cultural value in going too far when it comes to high fashion but the runway doesn't always translate the same to streetwear.

What is one sneaker collaboration that doesn’t exist, but you wish/think should exist?

I think J. Cole and Nike / Jordan Brand should collaborate as soon as J. Cole is out of his PUMA contract. I bet they can come up with something really special.

What are some of the current pairs of sneakers in your rotation?

Concepts x AM1 "Heavy", ALD x NB 650r White/Green, Nike SB Dunk Low VX1000 "Camcorder", A Ma Maniere x Air Jordan 3, and Salehe Bembury x NB 2002r "Water Be The Guide".

What is your ultimate holy grail sneaker that you have not managed to acquire so far?

Off White x AJ1 "Chicago"

Other than kicks, what are some of your daily essentials or treasured items?

I have a pair of Diesel jeans that I refuse to throw away or donate. I bought it many years ago and I destroyed them. I have looked for a replacement but I haven't found one that I like. There is something about the cut and materials used in Diesel jeans that I love. G-Star Raw and Purple Brand make good stuff but they are not even close.

I am also aware there are many boutique denim brands like Naked & Famous who make incredible products of outstanding quality but I just haven't tried them yet. But someday I will!

Where people can find you on social media?

Instagram: @cejimenez

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An ailurophile who loves bake cookies and listen to indie music!