Created by merging two classics, the Air Max 93 with the Air Max 180, the Air Max 270 is here as the first sneaker of the line created exclusively for casual use. Mashing together the most striking features of each classic is what makes this sneaker the new expression of the Air Max family. Nike called us out to talk about this release and chat with three individuals who experiment, collaborate, blend, evolve and express themselves by breaking paradigms.
My name is Artur Santoro, I’m 21, I’m a young one. I was born in Roraima but I’ve always lived in São Paulo. I’m gay and single! (laughs). I study social science at USP and architecture at Escola da Cidade; I’m an intern at MASP where I do research on Black art, Afro-Brazilian art, and Afro-Descendent art. I’m one of the producers for Batekoo, along with Renata, Miranda, Maurício (the founders of Batekoo). I’m a DJ and I play at some parties- I’m a bit of everything guys.”
Tell us a little bit about why you chose these two subjects.
I got in Architecture, I wanted to study the city, urbanism, about how people relate to the city, public space, how does the dialogue between people and urban space go down and etc. I was a bit disappointed with college because the course was very focused on building projects, so I put it on hold for a while. I went to Social Science because I wanted to study the city, study about oppression, society, the differences between races, gender, and sexuality – I always wanted to talk about this but thinking about the city, as the place where all these social relations happen. Today I’m in the middle of my Social Sciences course and within the course, my research area is Afro-Brazilian and African culture and history.
I still do not know what career to follow, can you believe it? But that’s it, I work as a curator, with the cultural production of Batekoo, I’m the kind of person who is always doing a thousand different things, several projects but anyway. I like to say that “I’just go along with it”, I just let letting things happen and take advantage of the opportunities that appear to me, I’m exploring all the ways – even because people, I’m very young, and I still don’t have to choose something specific just yet.
How did you get involved with Batekoo?
Mirands and Mauricio created Batekoo in Salvador, it was going to be Mirands’ birthday and he was also moving from Salvador to São Paulo so they decided to throw him a farewell/birthday party called Batekoo. The party was absolutely full, there were a lot of people outside, and everybody liked it so much that they asked for it to happen again. They started throwing monthly Batekoos and latter on Mirands moved to São Paulo with already the idea of having the party here too. Coincidentally, he started dating one of my best friends back then and that’s how we met.
He came to talk to me because I knew more people here in Sao Paulo, I started to help them out, I introduced them to Renata, and anyway, I was kind of in the background and after a few months, I officially joined the team. Now I’ve been officially with Batekoo for two years, and it has been here in São Paulo for two and a half years.
Do you think Batekoo has any impact on the city?
When Batekoo, just as it did in Salvador, São Paulo and all the other states where it happens, it arrived filling a space – which was the absence of having a black and LGBT scene. There has always been an LGBT scene, several nightclubs, even Augusta, which was for white gays. But Batekoo was something that needed to happen, something that was necessary and ended up occupying an absence and I think that’s why Batekoo blew up like it did.
I don’t think Batekoo is making anything new or anything because it’s inspired by the baile Funks of the 70s and 80s that went down in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, but I think it ended up providing a space much needed; we’re just doing the bare minimum, but I would say it has come to dominate and put black people in the spotlight.
What do you want to express with your style? What inspires you?
I think it’s very weird to say “my style” because for me to wear these clothes is really natural, people sometimes think I’m super produced but actually, it’s just the look I wear for buying bread, you know? But to get to the point I’m at right now, everything was a very funny process – when I was about 16 I wanted to wear colored pants, which at the time was kind of shocking and everyone was talking about it. Then I started wearing leggings and people looked at me with oppression.
The truth is that when you start wearing clothes that don’t fit what society or the “traditional family” is used to when you try to break a rule, society gives you only one answer – and the answer is usually negative, always repression. When I started to let my hair grow, everyone was on me saying that I looked a lot better with my hair shaved. Again, when you begin to take on a look that is reminiscent of black society, society gives you a racist answer trying to take down your identity.
I still get shocked how people actually bother you when you take pride in being who you are. How me putting on a skirt can bother people so much that they lose their own balance? But anyway, to me the process was to break the barriers, to kick down walls and I always say: I didn’t get out of the closet, I exploded, I broke all the doors so there’s no turning back (laughs).
When I started wearing clothes that were considered for girls, I was afraid of getting beat up or cursed at on the streets, but I always say that we can not negotiate who we are. The important thing is for you to respect and use whatever you want.
What are the people, things and/or places that inspire you?
Batekoo as a whole was a big breakthrough in my life, it was in it that I started to let go and use what I want, so I say that my great reference is the people that attend the parties. I admire these people so much, this crowd helped me to open up my head in many ways, they taught me many things about the reality of black culture, about the outskirts of the city, black LGBT culture. I met wonderful people – people who put their faces in the sun and kick down doors, people that are here to turn shit up and that are in the fight with you.
So this is what’s up people, put your faces in the sun, fight against your boring father, your conservative uncle, make a scene at the dinner table and break the fucking door because no one will go back in the closet.
What is your relationship with sneakers in general?
One of the first things I used that was “against” the standards set by society, were my pair of sneakers. I remember when I had a patterned women’s model; For me, the good thing about sneakers is that a lot of them are unisex, I don’t think it’s something that is totally based on gender separation.
I used to buy women’s sneakers and that was like an opening for me so I could feel comfortable think to myself “it’s ok to wear something from women’s department”. I was very afraid of going to the store and going into the so-called women’s section, I was very scared of what people would think. And to be honest, men’s clothing is very boring, very basic and limited, it must be very annoying to be straight (laughs).
Last year Batekoo had a big presence at Air Max house, how was the experience?
This is one of the projects that Batekoo participated that I most liked because it was one of the biggest and it was also the beginning of what Batekoo is today. Nike was the first brand that invited us to do something big and put us in a highlighted position. They were the first ones to really look at us. It was a dream project because we could use and act the way we wanted to, I remember that for this job I was just wearing a body.
Something that was also really cool was that I didn’t use these running style sneakers, I didn’t like them and I never had one before. But then I got one from the Nike, the Air Max 90, and that was my first. I’m not gonna lie they opened my mind, I use them till today like a lot, it’s so comfortable. I use them on a day-to-day basis, for Batekoo’s dance classes and etc, it works for a lot of different moments.