In partnership with SneakersBr and support from adidas we started a series of interviews to talk about a sneaker family that for 36 years since its first release, has remained one of the most iconic lines of adidas, having gone through countless moments in history, from different types of runners to various musical scenes: the ZX family, which this year has added another silhouette to its iconic sneaker line, the adidas ZX 2K Boost.
We sat down to chat with Enrico, actor, creative, and sneaker enthusiast, who seeks to gather as much knowledge about the ZX family as possible. In our interview, Enrico talks about what, in his view, makes the ZX line to this day so important and relevant, and how a retrofuturist look makes it not look like a sneaker of almost 40 years. He also told how his interest in sneakers began, and how his admiration for Kanye West’s work took him to the Yeezy 350 ‘Pirate Black’ line at the age of 12.
“I’m Enrico, in a week I’ll be 18 years old, I’m an actor and in these last years, I’ve also been a model. I’m a very production driven person, whether it’s working on a film set doing what I like best, which is acting, or even with my own production, which is something I started recently – I’m starting to direct some things now, diversifying myself creatively. I really like creating, producing ideas with people I like on my side, with my friends. I think that’s what moves me. If I’m not being productive, I sink, I feel stagnant. As if I stepped on cement and got stuck”.
You have been acting for a long time now – how did your interest in acting begin and how did you start your career?
EnricoMan, I started acting 10 years ago when I was 7 years old. My mother was a model when she was younger and she used to work with events, do photoshoots and advertising campaigns. When she had my brother, she would take him to child agencies. He modeled until he was about 13 years old, doing photos, catalog, advertising. I remember when I was 6 years old, looking at a Johnson’s Baby paper calendar with a picture of my brother, this fat little baby, in the calendar. And then I said: “Mom, I want to do that too. Take me. I want to be on TV, I want to make movies”.
I have always been very passionate about audiovisual work – when I was little, I would take my action figures, my mother’s camera, and I would make some stop motion videos moving them around, and they would turn into characters. And so, after a lot of insistence and bagging, my mother started taking me to agencies that she knew and things started happening, I started working as a model doing advertising. My first job, I was 7 years old, it was a commercial for the city of São Paulo, I was on a bus, I was a lost tourist with a map, it was very crazy, bro. After about a year and a half, my mother left her job and since then she has accompanied me and still accompanies me today. My mother is my agent, my manager, my best friend – I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am today if it wasn’t for the support she gave me, from the beginning, for everything.
But you know, in our country’s current scenario is very hard to succeed as an actor, so that’s why I feel more and more the need to diversify myself professionally and creatively. It’s not just a matter of talent – it’s a matter of who knows who, luck, it’s a matter of you being accepted in the cliques, which whether you like it or not in our country, in any sector you work in, it’s all about the contacts and connections you have. So, it is very difficult to establish yourself as an actor in Brazil. And after you managed to establish yourself, I think it’s even harder to maintain yourself. There are lots of people who end up just being fotgatten. People who were once renowned and today we don’t even hear about anymore, who are pushed aside, who lose their contracts. These are difficult times for the audiovisual, bro.
And what are your plans for the future, as an actor and as a creator?
EnricoI started studying cinema this year, I had a month of class, I fell deeply in love with it, I loved the teachers, the subject…and then suddenly came the pandemic. And then it was a complete disappointment because I hated distance learning, I was very frustrated. I dragged myself through the semester, and finished based on hatred for the whole thing, and then I decided to drop out. But I really liked the course, even though distance learning sucked, at least for me, and I intend to go back to studying cinema as soon as it’s possible to attend regular classroom sessions. And in fact, studying also made it possible for me, gave me the confidence and maybe even the necessary knowledge to do other things in this creative field and I started feeling what’s it like to be a director.
I directed the first project of my life, with my best friend who has a clothing brand. He’s launching a collection with a very dope artist from Rio, and then he said “bro, I want to make a release video just like those dope brands do, you’re my best friend and we’ve been exchanging ideas every day about it,” we’ve been talking ideas ever since he started developing the collection and then he said “how do you think we should do it? And I said, “Hey, hire me to direct it, bro. And he said, “that’s it”. And I didn’t believe him, because it has always been a dream of mine, ever since a was a kid, to direct anything. I have always wanted this, it has always been my ambition. Of course, the ambition of my life would be to direct my own feature film and so, but I have my feet on the ground, I know that things are not that easy or fast. I’m not even 18, for God’s sake. But com on, I can say with great pride that I had my first experience as a director before I became of age and this was very special for me. I was very happy.
“I think it’s all about grabbing the opportunities that come around and saying: Bro, I’ll do it. Let’s do it. I’ll try, I’ll learn. I’ll learn by doing – all the great ones learn by doing.”
You are always running after what you want, and making it happen. Would you say that this is essential when you work with creation in general, right?
enricoI think it’s all about grabbing the opportunities that come around and saying: Bro, I’ll do it. Let’s do it. I’ll try, I’ll learn. I’ll learn by doing – all the great ones learn by doing.
And I think that in this moment that we are living, we have to face two things: the first, is the coronavirus pandemic; and the second, are the mental health-related problems. This is very real and has affected me a lot. During this quarantine period, I lost my grandmother and I was very close to her, she was like my 84-year-old best friend. And dealing with her loss, along with the quarantine, was very difficult. And for me, going back to what I started talking about, what gave me purpose, what made me get out of bed in the morning, was the possibility to create, to work producing these things that complete me, that make me have a purpose.
And I’m always reminding myself of the privilege that is to work with what you like, we tend to forget that in our daily lives. The great majority of people work to maintain themselves, to survive. So, bro, if you have a job that you like and can sustain yourself, it’s done! You know? You’re made for life.
“The people you meet in this environment, to have friends who like the same things as you, who you can talk to for hours, is very dope. And it was on that night that I definitely fell in love with the sneaker culture. I spent the whole night exchanging ideas with people 10, 15 years older than me, about sneakers and listening to music, and everyone exchanging ideas”
Now talking about what we all love here – what was your first contact with sneakers?
enricoDude, I think I started being interested in sneakers when I was 12 years old. Whenever I traveled with my parents, I’d see different sneakers that we didn’t have in Brazil. This started to trigger my curiosity, so I started snooping on the internet and YouTube to understand more. I first found the sneaker blogs from abroad like Sneaker News and Nice Kicks – I remember I used to access them every day, and I loved watching the new collabs they were going to release. I was learning about the history of sneakers and how sporting performance ended up creating sneaker culture as we have today, how it came about 30 years ago, you know. I started to fall in love with all that, and at the same time, I started to fall in love with Rap and Hip-Hop – especially Kanye West, who I’m a big fan of, bro, until today.
And the sneaker that started my relationship with adidas was the Yeezy 350 – the second Yeezy that dropped here in Brazil. I was 12 years old and I went to wait in line with my father, I made him stay up all night with me, my father is awesome. I was the second person to get the sneakers, and then my father was also chosen, so I got two pairs! I was very, very happy, I still have the picture – me with the sneaker in my hand, incredulous, with a smile from ear to ear and crying, dude. I cried of happiness. Unfortunately today it no longer fits my feet, because it is a size 37. Do you know who wears it now? My mother. And the sneaker is very well built, she wears them until today and it’s all in one piece, man. For a 5-year-old sneaker?
And it was also there where my relationship with both adidas and SneakersBr began, that was the day I met Jaime. It was very crazy. I actually met a lot of people that, of course, nowadays not so much, time goes by and we end up distancing ourselves from people, but I met a lot of cool people that I still, in some ways, maintain in contact with until today. The people you meet in this environment, to have friends who like the same things as you, who you can talk to for hours, is very dope. And it was on that night that I definitely fell in love with the sneaker culture. I spent the whole night exchanging ideas with people 10, 15 years older than me, about sneakers and listening to music, and everyone exchanging ideas, talking, it was very cool.
And I think, not wanting to sound like an old 18-year-old, but at that time it was different, you know? there really was a much greater sense of community. I think people helped each other, it was less about the value of sneakers and more about the passion for it.
“Unfortunately, or fortunately, if it wasn’t for these people, the culture wouldn’t be the size it’s today. And I think it’s still the same for those who really like sneakers – they just have to arrive a little earlier.”
In the past, if you were going through all this to get sneakers, it was because you really wanted it, and you’d be like: “Wow, there are crazy people like me”.
enricoIt’s also a double-edged sword, at the same time that it’s boring to have these people who are only interested in the money involved in the whole thing, there are so many people, that this has become a global market, like we see today in StockX. Unfortunately, or fortunately, if it wasn’t for these people, the culture wouldn’t be the size it’s today. And I think it’s still the same for those who really like sneakers – they just have to arrive a little earlier.
“The ZX family has a huge historical importance. adidas was the performance brand, the sports brand, it had this very strong love for sports – and this is still the brand’s spirit. And in the ‘80s ZX was the ultimate culmination of that – it was the first sneaker line that offered several types of shoes for different types of runners. It was something unimaginable at the time”
You are participating in the ZXpedia campaign with SneakersBr and adidas and had the opportunity to receive the adidas ZX 2K Boost that we photographed today. The iconic ZX family was born 36 years ago and until today are very relevant silhouettes. What do you like most about the ZX family, and what does it represent to you?
enricoThe ZX family has a huge historical importance. adidas was the performance brand, the sports brand, it had this very strong love for sports – and this is still the brand’s spirit. And in the ‘80s ZX was the ultimate culmination of that – it was the first sneaker line that offered several types of shoes for different types of runners. It was something unimaginable at the time, and that paved the way for what everyone does to this day, several different types of sneakers for several different types of runners. Sneakers for the person who needs support, or who needs more lightness, or the person who needs more cushioning. So it started like this, but like everything else, besides being extremely functional and very good at what they were designed for, they are also very beautiful sneakers.
To this day adidas produces ZX from the ‘80s because the sneaker’s design is way ahead of its time, even being a bit of a retrofuturist, in my opinion, they don’t seem to be from 40 years ago. Can you imagine what it was like back then, especially for the handful of people in here who were passionate about sneakers, imagine this: you’re in Brazil, accustomed to only seeing your everyday Kichutes and suddenly you see a ZX on a shelf? It must have been a total shock. So I think that besides this milestone in performance, the ZX family also had and still has great importance in sneaker culture.
“As I enter this journey of knowledge with the guys, learning more about ZX, about the history that sneakers carry, I have been falling in love more and more. And this is reflected in my closet (laughs).”
The “A-ZX SERIES” has 26 ZX releases: from A to Z. Each letter is a release and each release of the A-ZX SERIES is a different collab that brings ZX references from adidas files. So far, which ZX have you enjoyed the most?
enricoIn 2008 and 2009, they launched the first A-ZX. And now they’re making a comeback with this series and it’s very cool – and even more so because this time almost all 26 pairs will come to Brazil. So we already had the Deadhype’s ZX 8000 which was sick, the ones from Concepts also beautiful, which by the way I was very sad that I couldn’t get. The Lego’s are also very sick, they’re on my wishlist.
But in general, the ZX that attracts the most attention and that I’m more passionate about, are the old ones, specifically the 8,000 and the 1,000c. But the 4D is also a beautiful thing. I never had a 4D. As I enter this journey of knowledge with the guys, learning more about ZX, about the history that sneakers carry, I have been falling in love more and more. And this is reflected in my closet (laughs).
adidas ZK 2K Boost
Size: US 10.5
Photos: Julio Nery
Video: Gustavo Barcellos