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Seph Manlapaz - Filipino Sneaker Content Creator Interview


Hapsari Listya
May 24, 2023

Seph @sephmanlapaz is drawn to sneakers because he grew up in the Philippines, where basketball has a large influence on sneaker and streetwear culture. His passion for sneakers inspired him and other sneakerheads to create the @nb_numbawanph sneaker Instagram community where they talk sneaker culture daily!

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

Basketball has had a significant influence on sneaker and streetwear culture, especially here in the Philippines, where the sport is lived and breathed.

I may not have gained an ambition to play the game, but watching my dad play basketball while wearing Kobes and Jordans influenced my passion for sneakers and fashion in general.

All images via @sephmanlapaz

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

Being named after the late great Kobe Bryant (my full name is Joseph Bryant Manlapaz), that moment when he dropped 60 points in his final game wearing the Nike Kobe 11 'Fade To Black' is one in sneaker and basketball culture that has extremely resonated with me.

Witnessing the Mamba's greatness one last time while wearing those legendary sneakers was undoubtedly a highlight moment for any Kobe and Lakers fan like myself.

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

Since I work in retail, my current sneaker rotation includes a lot of comfy classic runners from my favorite brand, New Balance. Pairs like the 990V5 and 2002R actually help me and my wide feet get through the day.

But, I make sure to keep some legendary Retro Js in my rotation, such as the Jordan 1 Chicago and Jordan 3 White Cement, for special occasions.

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

That feeling we get when we open a gift on Christmas morning; that's how I feel when I get a new pair of sneakers.

More than that, the pleasure of chasing or hunting a pair you've wanted for a long time is the greatest feeling. Even more than eventually getting the pair.

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

I know it's a far shot, but I'd love to see a Kith x Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance triple collaboration sneaker.

With both Kith and ALD's New York roots, as well as Teddy Santis and Ronnie Fieg's strong relationship with each other and New Balance, it's a collaboration that makes sense in every way. I can't wait until they make this happen!

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

Right now, I'm a big fan of Ronnie Fieg and Teddy Santis' work with New Balance.

Their work is mainly influenced by streetwear and normcore style, but with an elegance that elevates even the most basic pieces of apparel and footwear.

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

Since the release of the Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1, the hype beast in me has been dying to get my hands on a pair.

When news came out that these two fashion giants were collaborating, I thought it was a hoax because the pairs looked like something you'd see at a fake sneaker market. I may buy this pair when the time and pricing are perfect.

This photo was taken by @rylejustinuy

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

Definitely my caps. I have very wavy hair that is difficult to handle every morning. This is why I almost never leave the house without wearing or bringing a cap.

The runner-up item would be my phone, which I believe is everyone's daily essential in this day and age. However, it is particularly important to me because I am also a content creator on the side. I shoot and edit my sneaker content on my phone, therefore it's a must for me.

Where can people find you on social media?

You can follow me on Instagram at @sephmanlapaz, where I post sneaker and fashion content.

If you like New Balance, you may also follow @nb_numbawanph, which is a New Balance community that I handle with many other enthusiasts.

You may also check my YouTube channel, Seph ON AIR, where I create stuff about sneakers, streetwear, and culture in general.

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