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Keat - Keataway Founder Interview

Interviews

Hapsari Listya
December 14, 2022

Keat @zhengkeat_ho still remembers the moment he discovered the Yeezy Pirate Black and has become interested in sneaker culture ever since. As the Keataway founder, he wants to introduce inspirational and innovative apparel that makes people feel empowered and confident!

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

I was drawn to sneakers when the Yeezy 350 was released way back in 2015 through social media. At that moment, I have zero clue or knowledge of "streetwear" & "sneakers".

I even went to an Adidas Performance store and asked the staff whether the Yeezy 350 Pirate Black is available, as I thought it was just ordinary sports shoes. Therefore, I started doing research and I was shocked after viewing the retail and resell prices.

However, my first sneaker was the AJ 11 Bred 2012. I've been saving money for that dream shoe and I finally copped it in 2017!

All images via @zhengkeat_ho

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

Ultraboost Olympic Medals! Nowadays, Ultraboost is a very common shoe, yet back in 2016, they were grails!

It was also my first pair of sneakers as I decided to keep and wear them instead of selling them. The reason why I chose the silver medal is that our National Badminton Hero, Lee Chong Wei, was defeated in the finals and won the silver medal in the Rio Olympics.

It was a very emotional moment for most Malaysians and I picked this way to pay a tribute to him.

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

It feels great, the feeling is like taking care of a baby and you will be afraid and aware of people especially a big crowd or on rainy days. I believe every sneakerhead will have the same reaction when someone accidentally stepped on your new kicks.

However, as a collector, I don't wear new sneakers that I bought without a good reason for myself. Therefore, every sneaker in my collection is meant for something, and it has my own story behind it. Eg: I bought AJ 11 Win like 82 during my foundation, but I first wore it on the last day of this course.

To me, it feels way better because I will appreciate the shoe every time I wear it. The story behind it will appear in my mind, flashing back all the memories in the foundation.

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

Definitely Tinker Hatfield!

I was astonished by the story behind AJ 10, the reason why he stated all the trophies and titles won by MJ on AJ 10's outsole. I strongly recommend you guys to check it outūüĎĆ

He was the one who inspired me to cop my first pair of AJ, which is AJ 11 Bred 2012 (dream of all time). I copped it in 2017 after months of earning and saving pocket money. I was in tears too when I first got that pair in hand during a COD session with Storebox.

I heard you're the founder of Keataway which focuses on streetwear. Could you tell us more about it? How did you start this business?

Keataway was founded at the end of 2019 right before the pandemic. It is a portmanteau of the name, "KEAT" and "get away" -- to get away from the norm. The norms of fast fashion. The norms of unoriginality. And the norms of trivial streetwear pursuits.

I founded this brand during the second year of my university life and it was because I wanted to try something new instead of reselling sneakers. Starting up a business as a student, I've got nothing to lose, even if I fail, starting it over again will do.

What's your vision and mission with Keataway?

VISION: Introduce inspirational and innovative apparel that makes people feel empowered and confident.

MISSION: Produce sophisticated, unique, and lifetime apparel. Maintain utmost service through quality guaranteed products and constant improvement. Inspire the dream of a better life through our brand.  

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

Air Jordan1 X Kaws.

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

Air Force 1 Paranoise, AJ 11 Concord, SB Dunk Chicago, and MMY Sneakers as they are comfy & easy to match with any outfit. Somehow, I would only wear some of the AJ 1s and 11s for special occasions.

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

To me, it is the AJ 1 Chicago 2015. Although Nike released the Chicago "Lost and Found" last week, the feeling upon it is not the same as AJ 1 Chicago 2015.

I wanted to cop that pair in 2020, but after Michael Jordan's documentary (The Last Dance) was released, the price went incredibly high... AJ 1 Chicago is the last piece of the puzzle to complete my AJ 1 OG Collection as I own Bred, Royal Bue, Black Toe and others.

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

My daily essentials are clothes and accessories.

Ever since I was into Malaysia's Streetwear Culture, I admire and bought lots of products from most of our local streetwear brands, wearing em' with pride. Unity makes us stronger, support your local!

Where can people find you on social media?

Instagram: @zhengkeat_ho and @keataway_official

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