Located at the southernmost point of Europe is Gibraltar, a British territory with just over 30,000 inhabitants. It is, above all, a country with a very rich cultural mix, and with people who take great pride in their origins. With its own language – Llanito – and a rich history of wars, sieges, and conquests, Gibraltar may be a small place, but it has a strong personality and many stories. Kickstory went all the way there to talk to 4 people who love their country of origin and of course, their sneakers.
For the first interview, we talked with Charles , graphic design master’s student in Barcelona, and the guy who introduced Gibraltar to Kickstory. He told us about what it means to be Gibraltarian, how important to him is the location we did this photoshoot, as well as how he got his hands on these Stan Smith and the things he has done with them on his feet.
“I’m Charles, I’m 24 and I’m a graphic designer. I’ve spent four years living in the northeast on England, in a city called Leeds doing a Degree and now I live in Barcelona doing my Master.”
What does it mean to be Gibraltarian for you?
charlesWe’re small, but we’re a strong people. We’ve been through a lot throughout history – wars, sieges, more wars, and more sieges. We’re British, but above that, we’re Llanito. We have our own identity, which is a result of both our geographic location, where we are on the map, as well as our origins from around the Mediterranean – which I think really shape us.
Why did you choose Spur Battery as the location of the shooting?
charlesBasically, I wanted to do something in the most iconic feature in Gibraltar – the rock. It’s 428 meters of limestone rock, it’s very impressive and iconic. I wanted to do my photos somewhere high up, so we chose Spur Battery – this is the real name, but we call it 50p because it has the shape of a 50p coin (£ 0,50), and basically this is one of the higher points of the rock.
It was a lookout point, a vantage point which they used in the war, and I like it because you can look out over the Strait of Gibraltar, the territorial waters of Gib – on one side you can see Algeciras and then you can also see Morocco, the North of Africa. So it’s pretty cool that you are standing in Gib and you see two continents, Europe and Africa, in one. It’s a very beautiful spot.
What is your relationship with sneakers in general?
charlesI like it cause they look good, you know? I just buy things that I like visually. Usually, it comes in a couple of brands, but I like stuff that has self-expression. In the end, sneakers are more me than all the other kind of shoes.
When and how did your relationship with sneakers started?
charlesI think it was when I started living in England, ‘cause here in Gib there’s no sneaker culture, I wouldn’t say, but in England, they take sneakers very seriously. Once you go to England you open your eyes, and it happened to me for a lot of things – moving from a city with 30.000 citizens to around 800.000, it opens your eyes to a lot of things and definitely, shoes were one of this things – different cultural experiences and life experiences. And that was when I started to buy more shoes.
What’s your relationship with this Adidas Stan Smith?
charlesMoving to Barcelona marked a significant point in my life, both personally and professionally, and these were the first pair of shoes I bought after moving there. Funnily enough, I picked them up at a €1 flea market – they were sitting on a chair in a corner of the warehouse where the market was. They were a bit worn, but they were €1 and my size, 42.5, so I obviously had to get them.
Although they’re a bit messed up and I’d never have worn (or continued wearing) shoes in their condition, these fucked-up Stan Smiths mean a lot to me. They’ve been with me through drunk days and nights, all kinds of alleyways, through rain and piss, and two beautiful sunrises on a boat in the Mediterranean.
Adidas Stan Smith
Photos by: Kickstroy