Carla Arakaki Carla

Carla Arakaki

Sacai x Nike Blazer Mid Sacai x Nike Blazer Mid
01—18—2021 Photos by Pérola Dutra
Carla Arakaki
Interview Nº 169

This week we kick off the interviews for 2021 with the conversation we had with Carla at the end of last year. She’s a multi-talented person that does a bit of everything – She’s a photographer, an executive producer, and Dj as one of the Ice Cream Girls and for Clara Lima. Having to pick only one sneaker to tell their story is always a hard thing to do, but Carla chose to talk about her Sacai x Nike Blazer mid for her Kickstory interview – a sneaker that not only carries a lot of stories by itself but also represents a lot for her since it’s from a Japanese brand led by Chitose Abe, a fashion designer that she admires a lot.

Chitose Abe is not only Sacai’s creative director but she’s also the founder and owner of the brand, which gives her freedom to create the way she wants it and in her time with no pressure. After working with patterns for CDG, Abe started Sacai in 1999 during her pregnancy, where she felt the lack of more elegant and functional maternity clothing. And maybe that’s where her style of creating hybrid and functional pieces came from, mixing two pieces from different universes and that can be worn by people that are not even into fashion.

You can clearly see her style applied to the Nike Blazer launched in collaboration with Sacai in 2019. The shoe features all of Sacai”s main characteristics – the overlap and fusion of two different pieces without losing usability. Therefore, it has a mix of Nike Blazer Mid and Nike Dunk High – a shoe that was the platform of her second collaboration with Nike in a pack of 3 Dunks Highs. It is easy to see the Blazer’s silhouette with the rubber overlays on the heel and toe cap, but looking closely you can see the Dunk’s lace holes piece superimposed on the leather, as well as the iconic Blazer swoosh overlay with the Dunk swoosh.

“My name is Carla, I was born in São José dos Campos, I came to São Paulo at the age of 17 to go to college and to work. Today I am an executive producer, DJ and photographer.

I like skateboarding and rap since, I don’t know, I was like 14 years old, so when I got here, I went looking for work in that area. I looked for the person who organized the professional skateboard circuit in Brazil, asked for an internship, and that quickly became a job (I studied Tourism because one of the things you can do in the profession is event management, and I was very interested in that). I worked with skateboarding for a few years, it was really cool, we traveled all over Brazil producing championships, meeting people, going to parties. It was around the time when the movie Kids came out, and we had that first contact with Supreme and then I started curating and producing the championship shows, I liked it a lot, it was like Kamau, Marechal, Shawlin, Parteum, Charlie Brown Jr and etc.

Well, then I decided to go a different way, and I went to work at Trip Editora, I did an MBA in Marketing, I studied some other things I needed in life like that – I am an audio technician, I studied photography, I took DJ classes, in short, I like to learn. I also spent some time at a record company doing production for music videos, I worked with concert management and road production, and then I went back to Trip doing executive production. That was when I started to dedicate myself more to photography (I already photographed rap shows). At Trip I had the opportunity to work with several photographers that I admire, super creative art directors, partners, learned a little here, a little there, you know? How to direct this, how to do a light trick, Photoshop skills, why the art director chooses a photo and not the other one… So it was natural to start taking more pictures as well. “

And when did the Ice Cream Girls come about, and why the name?

Carla I used to have a blog that used to talk about music, called “Café com Bolachas”, before Ice Blue (laughs). I always liked rap a lot, I researched a lot and it was the main subject of the blog. One day Vivi Varela asked me to play at her trap party at Morfeus (Bataklan) as a special guest and it was my first experience as a DJ. At the time, 2016, it was difficult to hear updated rap songs at parties here in Brazil, it was just boombap, so it really cool.

A little while later, Flora Matos called me and Vivi to throw a trap-only party at Nola, down in Vila Madalena. I had just returned from Los Angeles and I had gone to a summer party there called “Ice Cream Sundays”. Do you know when you go to a place, and it’s playing what you always wanted to hear, everyone with dope sneakers, dope style, everyone looking fly, dancing? I was enchanted by the party, I said “wow, I want to make one just like this here in Brazil”. Then I talked to them and “Ice Cream” just stuck. It was supposed to be only one edition on a Tuesday, but it worked, it was a success, and on by the second edition it was already a weekly thing. We stayed at Nola for a year with Flora, then she started to focus on her things to release another album, Vivi and I continued and the party became “Ice Cream Girls Club”. This party at Nola lasted about 2 years or 3 years, then we left and Vivi and I became a pair, Ice Cream Girls.

“In a practical sense, it’s very good to be a producer and photographer for example, they’re super complementary things. Especially because I can do both, if the situation calls for it. For example, I produced and photographed a trip with Djamila to Detroit for Gol!”

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It’s really cool to see that you do a bit of everything and in the end all those things connect.

carla Yeah, I think we don’t need to limit ourselves. Funny that these days I was thinking about this question that I saw: “do you know how to answer who you are, without saying your profession?”. Isn’t it crazy how hard it is to answer that? How do you define all your experiences?

In a practical sense, it’s very good to be a producer and photographer for example, they’re super complementary things. Especially because I can do both, if the situation calls for it. For example, I produced and photographed a trip with Djamila to Detroit for Gol! When I’m able to contribute, it is better for my team. Being a DJ and studying audio is also helpful. At the right time, everything connects.

And do you have other projects as a DJ?

carla In the meantime Clarinha Lima invited me to be her DJ, which was an honor for me, she is so awesome. Talented, focused, gangsta and has a huge heart. She deserves everything, it is a great privilege to work with her.

I also have a project to discover women MCs around the world called “365 Mulheres que Rimam” (365 weman that Rap). I research and look for women in Brazil, Japan, Morocco, Italy, Korea, Angola … Only women who rap, whether it’s boombap, trap, grime, drill and so on. I started the project because when we started playing –  and I pay close attention to that kind of stuff – most DJ sets were 100% only male rappers. It didn’t have a single woman’s song, and when it did, it was only like, one. Or singing a chorus. So when we play, when I play, I make a point on either playing the majority of songs by women, or at least half. And so, this project is for people to meet new artists, get used to protagonist women, and enrich sets and playlists. And see that there are a lot of females doing crazy things in all countries.

“I also have a project to discover women MCs around the world called “365 Mulheres que Rimam” (365 weman that Rap). I research and look for women in Brazil, Japan, Morocco, Italy, Korea, Angola … Only women who rap, whether it’s boombap, trap, grime, drill and so on.”

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The 3am Files project comes from your passion for photographing urban writers. How did you become interested in this kind of art and expression?

carla 3am Files is a project in which I photograph the graffiti and pixação scene, and  the action behind the art. There’s that one line from Ogi, “adrenaline is our sport” (laughs). This is a world I have always lived in, I have been doing graffiti since I was 17 or 18, I have many friends and good times. It is one of those addictions that come and go, but it never leaves us, I like to photograph more of the real side, the side that’s not authorized.

Here in Brazil people don’t like it very much, but the rest of the world goes crazy for it. This is so crazy, the pixação is originally from São Paulo, it’s art, admired and valued all over the world, except here. In addition to the unique calligraphy being a reference and very badly copied by designers out there, who said that art has to be inside a gallery or within the framework of a painting or, even, that it needs your authorization? The pixo is a form of urban occupation. And did you know that Brazil is the only place in the world where nobody runs over anyone (writes over the words of another pixador or graffiti artist)?

I started photographing graffiti, then I took a photo for a print of a collab shirt by Zé LIXOMANIA – one of the greatest urban writers of all time – for Juk of An Urban Shop, my little brothers from Beside Colors and Ease. Then there was the one by Gds OSCURURU – which is one of the greatest climbers in São Paulo – and everything was flowing, a gig sets up another gig, which sets up another gig, you go photograph at dawn, you go through some shit and you become friends. Going through shit creates bonds (laughs). Early mornings on rooftops, at the police station, on deserted streets, worried about the police and the bad guys, I’ve already broken my foot, I’ve got a tick, I’ve lost equipment, I’ve thought a thousand times “I could be watching Netflix, but I’m here”. You have to like it a lot (laughs). I’m also a huge fan of graffiti on the subway / train, the true graffiti, real, official, original right.

You have been working at Trip as an Executive Producer for a long time. What were the most special experiences you’ve had there?

carla Trip provided me with many unique experiences, mainly doing the Gol magazine. Traveling to Detroit with Djamila Ribeiro was certainly one of them, she is wonderful. I’ve spent a Carnaval in Claudia Leitte’s Trio elétrico (sound truck) in Salvador (and I hate Carnaval). There was an interview with Chico Buarque at his house, he made us coffee! I had Chico Buarque’s coffee (laughs). I also ate Palmirinha’s cake, but unfortunately it had plums. I will never forget that situation, what are the chances of you not liking something that Palmirinha baked for you? In her house?

And apart from the experiences, also having the opportunity to meet, work with, show the work of people like Ailton Krenak, MarineIDE do Vida Corrida, Dona Diva, Ilona Szabó, Kondzilla, Dexter, Priscila Cruz, to name a few, inspiring people, and that makes me happy.

And on the other side, with photography, I already clicked two covers for Trip! For those who are photographers, making a magazine cover is a huge accomplishment. This was my first “check” of things I wanted to do in this area. I did Trip Girls Mari Mello and Gabi Rippi. Traveling to photograph and seeing it printed later is another check on that list, one of my favorite types of work.

Now talking about what we all love around here – what was your first contact with sneakers?

carla My contact with sneakers came from skateboarding. The first one I wanted and didn’t have was an Etnies, and the first one I had that I remember I was very happy with was an adidas hemp. It wasn’t even rare, but I remember that I had to buy a bigger size because they didn’t have my size, it started there (laughs).

And why out of all your sneakers, did you choose your Sacai x Nike Blazer Mid for Kickstory?

carla It was not easy to choose one. But I chose this one because, not only is it being beautiful, and has like a thousand cool details, goes with everything and being comfortable, it is a collaboration with a Japanese brand. And I am very interested in the culture, I am of Japanese origin, my four grandparents are from Japan. Half are from Okinawa and half are from Fukuoka. I really like to use brands that have some relationship with Japan, like Bape, Human Made, Comme des Garçons, the ones I can get, right? Besides, Sacai’s owner and creative director is a woman – I admire Chitose Abe very much. I think her thought of not being in a hurry for things is really cool, you know? She created the brand and it took a decade to open a store. It’s kind of a Japanese way of being careful, like skincare, the Japanese prefer to take care rather than treat. So it’s that thing to always think about the long term. I think that’s cool. I like her way of using overlays, different textures and fabrics … And everything you can use on the street. Obviously not everything, but like, you can use it.

“When I started to get into streetwear brands, I actually liked more of the clothes than the sneakers themselves. I wanted more the apparel. But then you get a taste and learn and become an addicted. I really like the collabs, to see how each identity was translated on the shoe.”

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Did you notice any changes in your relationship with sneakers, from when you worked with skateboarding to these days? Do you value it more or take a different approach to it?

carla When I started to get into streetwear brands, I actually liked more of the clothes than the sneakers themselves. I wanted more the apparel. But then you get a taste and learn and become an addicted. I really like the collabs, to see how each identity was translated on the shoe. And I wear them all, all my sneakers. I have no sneakers that I don’t use. Actually, I do have an extra pair of transparent Off-White Converses but I still haven’t had the courage to sell the extra pair.

One thing that I am very frustrated in this world of sneakers and that has not changed much, is that whole thing with womens sizes and models. Why don’t the coolest releases come in  smaller sizes? Like, I wear 35, 36BR. Most come starting at size 38BR. Do they think women don’t like it as much or don’t buy them? Or that maybe we can’t buy them? And if there’s men that wear a 36BR, what would it feel like for him? Can’t men be small? It doesn’t make any sense to me. Not to mention the whole pink thing. 2021 people, there shouldn’t even be gender for sneakers anymore.

 

Sacai x Nike Blazer Mid
Owner: Carla
Year: 2019
Photos by: Pérola Dutra

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