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Filipino Sneaker Customizer: Paul Tan


Hapsari Listya
October 25, 2022

Obsessed with custom every pair, Paul @1985xmnl's passion for sneakers has been growing since he got his first basketball shoe at a young age. His childhood is what inspires him behind every customed sneaker and others find it truly sentimental!

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

It is a long story. I can’t recall my age, but I remember the first time my dad walked me to a local sneaker store, and we bought my first ever basketball shoe. It was not branded, but it was hi-cut, white with a knicks colorway, and the tongue had a basketball logo.

All images via @1985xmnl

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

It was the moment when MJ wore the 11s. Many at school have it except me for PE as I couldn’t afford it. I even sketch it in my notebook. Not historical, but for me, it was like the epitome of MJ’s career.

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

Oh, men, if I can describe my feelings, I would wear that new sneaker for the entire week or month, throwing different fits.

I heard you're a sneaker customizer. When did you start custom sneakers and how did it begin?

I began customizing sneakers from 2014-2015. I always wanted the idea of giving our own personal touch to some of our personal belongings. Making your own 1 of 1 is as good as you and I are unique in every way. So, what I did was research things on Youtube University (LOL), and prepare the painting materials needed.

My first project was Kobe 9 since I was collecting it before. It went well on a local FB Group called Kobe Section PH. Then I had some clients from that group. Fast forward, to the first ever "1985" painted on a sneaker was around 2015. It was a thrifted Nike Air Flight (don't really recall the exact model, will show a photo).

But my 1985 Adidas Stan Smith Sneaker was the official release back in 2015-2016. It had the first batch of 15 pairs, and another 15 on the second release.

How do you find inspiration for custom sneakers?

I usually find inspiration based on my childhood experiences. Growing up and surrounded by 80s-90s materials was very cool for me and I find the vibe very homey. During those times, I don't actually understand what I'm actually seeing or hearing. But, when I look back at it now to get some inspiration; I do research and basically try to understand what made it look the way it was. Somehow the love for the 80s-90s grows deeper in me.

I really adore the vibes and yet it so happened that in this generation, many fell in love with the 80s & 90s vibes. That helped me a lot with my art pieces to become more personal or sentimental.

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

There is no particular designer in mind, but I always follow designs of Lamborghini, Audi & classic Nikes.

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

I would love to see a collaboration between Nike and Converse.

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

Some pairs are the Chuck 70s and Jordan 1 low and high - all customized by me. My own 1/1 collection.

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

My grail would be Jordan 11 Concords. Although it’s easier to acquire now, I want to get it when I finally feel like rocking them. It’s not time yet.

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

Oh, not sure if it counts. But I only need a small bag where I can bring my phone, and not forget to wear my Apple watch. I also ride my bike every day!

Where can people find you on social media?  

Instagram: @1985xmnl

Tiktok: @1985xmnl

Facebook: @1985xmnl

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!