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Australian Mental Health Speaker and Sneakerhead: Melissa Yu

Interviews

Camille Lumogdang
July 21, 2022

Melissa Yu @mellieyu is a mental health speaker/ podcaster who is also into sneakers. She loves wearing oversized fits and comfy shoes.

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

I fell in love with sneakers first for practicality rather than fashion. Sneakers are that go-to shoe for comfort, being on the go, and suitable for any fashion style. Working in the hospitality and events industry, we couldn't survive a day without a good pair of sneakers. I got into the sneaker game pretty late in my life, and the first ones I truly fell in love with are my Adidas Original Gazalle's - an iconic staple item in my wardrobe.

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

I think everyone can resonate with the moment Nike and young Michael Jordan entered the deal of a lifetime with the Air Jordan 1's that changed how we all wear sneakers and our relationships with them. This moment was told many times over, documented in books and history, and resonates with me because it's the story of the underdog. It gives us hope and inspiration to shoot for our dreams and take risks in life. You have to hit your shot. Jordan took a punt on the Nike collaboration when the world was looking at Converse, and well, the rest is history.

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

There's something about a fresh pair of kicks (especially crisp white ones); they make me feel confident and empowered as though I can achieve anything in the world. And that's a great kick-ass feeling!

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

I am always inspired by Bobby Hundreds and the brand 'The Hundreds'. I truly respect the hustle of what he did to take the brand to such a household name. I admire what Virgil Abloh did for not only people of color but for the streetwear community to reach the levels of high-end luxury wear. I like to see creators and designers stay true to who they are and push boundaries despite the seemingly impossible tasks to get the brand to where they need it to go.

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

Surely I can't be the only one wanting to see a collaboration between Nike Air Force 1's and the best fried chicken in the world - KFC?!

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

I have all the classics. I can't say I am a sneakerhead, hypebeast, or shoe collector, but I have over 20 pairs of sneakers on rotation. I love my Air Max 90s and 270s, Adidas Superstars, Vans, and Pumas. For running, I can't go past my Nike Flyknits.

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

I would love a collab piece by Comme Des Garcons or Dior.

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

My daily essentials to go with my sneakers are oversized fits. I love going for comfort and casual attire as I am always on the go. I need outfits that help me get through big, big days with long hours. Outside of known sneaker brands, I love to support our independent and emerging streetwear labels. It's why I created the platform of Ego Expo - to shine a light on the creatives and talents within my own country and community.

Where can people find you on social media?

Instagram: @mellieyu

Tiktok: @mellieyu

Facebook: Mel Yu


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An engineer who loves writing in her spare time.