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Derrick Narciso - Filipino-Australian Sneaker Photographer Interview


Hapsari Listya
November 1, 2022

Derrick @shoezen.one sneaker obsession started a while back in 1987, where he fell in love with the OG Air Max 1 in University Red. One day he wants to get Air Jordan 1 Chicagos with Michael Jordan's signature!

Could you share a bit about your secret origin story? (Tell us a bit about yourself, how did you start loving sneakers, what you do/hobbies etc.)

My journey into sneakers started way back in 1987. I used to live in the Philippines during my younger years. Back then there were no proper footwear stores like Footlocker or JD Sports. Luckily enough there was a mall that I used to pass by on my way home after school. One of those stores specialized in the latest running and basketball shoes from the USA.

One day a certain running shoe really caught my eye, it was unlike any other shoe that was ever made or that I have seen before. Back then all forms of rubber shoes had a solid midsole. This shoe that I saw had a huge hole in the heel, which I would find out later to be some sort of air capsule.

The shoe I am talking about is the OG Air Max 1 in University Red. Thinking about the moment when I first held it in my hands still gives me goosebumps. It felt like I was holding a piece of alien technology.  Unfortunately, imported shoes like those were really expensive. I felt bad asking my folks for one. Seeing them on the feet of rich kids at school made me so jealous and made me want them even more.

All images via shoezen.one

To satisfy my longings, I drew them everyday at the back of my notebooks. I ripped out any pictures and information about them from newspapers and magazines. I used these clippings to decorate my books. In a way, this was the closest I've ever felt to owning a pair of Air Max 1s.

It would be another 2 years till my feet would proudly wear a Nike AIR shoe. My first pair of Nikes were the Air Jordan 4 White Cements. They came by way of my grandmother (god bless her soul). I remember her asking me to trace my foot on a piece of paper, I eventually forgot about it. Years later I would find out she would send that to her relatives in the USA so that they could send me a pair of Nike rubber shoes. I love those Jordans. I'd wear them everyday. For school, for going out and even just hanging around the house. I wore those to the ground.

Those Jordan IVs would eventually become my gateway into the world of Michael Jordan, basketball and basketball shoes. Things got eventually better for us financially and I would spend all of my savings for new basketball shoes every year.

Being a collector was far from my mind. I just wanted to be like my basketball heroes. Sometimes it did indeed feel that way when I wore their jerseys and basketball shoes whenever I played. I felt like I jumped higher, ran faster, and played better. I also amassed a ton of basketball shoes underneath my bed.

What’s your personal sneaker-collecting philosophy?

Once upon a time, you would never ever see me pay retail or re-sell whatsoever. I always believed that sneakers were meant to be worn and beat, so why pay a premium? Sneaker hype wasn't big back then and I wasn't into the whole collab thing, so I'd wait it out for a few months after release and wait for the sneakers to be discounted or hit the outlets. I found it much more fulfilling finding hidden gems in thrift shops and outlets.

Unfortunately, these days, it seems like everyone is into sneakers. Whether you're in it for fashion, collection or business it has become much harder to buy hype sneakers and to some extent general releases. Back then sneaker releases were sometimes months to years apart. These days, we get three to five collabs a week on top of normal releases. I still enter raffles and take most of the time with my 'Ls' and move on knowing there'll be another dope release around the corner. In the event that I do miss out on a particular pair that I really really like and have exhausted all retail means then I will gladly save up for it and buy them down the line.

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

These days, I try not to buy sneakers based on impulse and hype. I make sure that the sneakers I get now will not just be worn a few times and forgotten, but instead will enhance my current collection. So, in saying that, a new highly sought pair brings me an enormous amount of joy and satisfaction.

Well...until the next grail quest happens!!!

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

My rotation is pretty much a smorgasbord of different sneaker brands. I try to wear all the pairs in my collection at least once per year. Hype, GR, samples, runners, ball kicks, trail runners and even slides have been worn at least once this year.

Though I can appreciate the current trends (like Dunks and NBs) and love seeing them on everyone's feet when I am out and about, I like to wear something different from the norm. They zig, I pretty much zag.

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

For me, a 'Grail' means something super unobtainable. That sneaker for me is a Game-Worn Michael Jordan autographed Chicago 1s.

But for now, I will settle for the upcoming Lost and Found 1s that is set to be released this year.

What's your day-to-day style like?

I'd like to call my style --- versatile, comfortable street. It's something cozy, stylish enough yet non-restrictive when I go about my walks and photoshoots.

We Melbournians typically experience what we call "four seasons" in a day. So when I am out and about, my gear and clothing has to match the ever changing weather patterns. My tops will usually consist of an oversized vintage/branded tee and hoodie. My bottoms would be a  pair of relaxed-fitting ACG/skate/sweatpants.

As for my footwear, since I am getting up there in age, I have traded in my Jordans and Ball kicks for the comfort of old school runners like Air Maxes, ACGs,  Adidas UBs, Asic Gels, Puma Suedes, Saucony Shadows, Salomons XT6s and NB 997s.

Where can people find you on social media?

I am very active on my main Instagram account @shoezen.one and peeps can find my articles on thekickzstand.com.au

Do you have a sneaker collection that you wish to showcase or share with the world? Or maybe you have some hyped deadstock that you wish to sell. Join Ox Street as an early community member in our beta stage today and get $25 SGD off your first order (while discount slots last).

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