Byan left a career as a financial administrator to follow his will to become an event producer, taking part today in shows, festivals, launches and parties. Byan started his relationship with sneakets very early in the 1990s, with brands like Rainha, Le Cheval and Reebok, but it was in his time working on @guadalupestore that this taste grew and became a passion that lasts until today.
“I’m Fabiano Byan but I’m better known as Byan. I have a degree in Management but I work with Marketing, digital content, social media and besides all that I’m an event producer. One thing has nothing to do with the other but 10 years ago I left management so I could dedicate myself only and exclusively on what I really liked working with, which was event production – I do executive production, shows, releases, cocktail parties, events, parties, festivals, I’m completely passionate about this stuff.
Now, my thing with sneakers comes from way back when I was a kid, the first sneaker I went crazy for was the Rainha System around 91. Those sneakers came with two extra cushioning pods so you could switch colors and if I remember correctly they were the first ones with visible cushioning. The Rainhas were my first sneakers, they were white and blue with neoprene internal sock they were dope. Back the then there was also Le Cheval, they might be a joke today but back then they were sick because they showed up at a moment when Le Coq Sportif was at a high point and Le Cheval came in with much more accessible prices, and with similar silhouettes, even the logos looked the same, it was a national brand. I was also crazy for the Reebok Pumps, those really got me.
I started to like sneaker around that time and obviously, I didn’t understand anything since I was only 12, but my taste in sneakers was obviously different from the rest. At that time we didn’t have like a third of the information we have today and have any access was very hard. Only the ones who went to the center, to Galeria, would get the sneakers. But I only got into this whole sneaker thing or became a sneakerhead when I was decades later when I was invited to work at Guadalupe in 2010. I’ve been friends with Rato since we were kids, and he was already store manager at the time, I already knew Twothousand as well, and I ended up staying there for 2 years. And it was during that time that I became completely addicted to sneakers.
To it doesn’t matter if the sneakers are hits, grails if they’re in trend if they’re hype or not. I like sneakers no matter the model if I like the colorway if I like the silhouette, if I have money at the time, they’re mine (laughs). It doesn’t matter if they’re rare or not. Nowadays people care too much if they’re rare if they cost X amount of “dols”. I’ve slept I don’t even know how many weeks on the streets to get a pair of sneakers, and to me, that’s not being a sneakerhead, to me if you like sneakers you want them no matter how many you already have, and enjoy learning about them.”
“I don’t consider myself a sneakerhead by today’s standards, because if the sneakers are too expansive, and I don’t have the money to get them, I don’t. Today wouldn’t pay my bills to get a sneaker.”
Do you still collect sneakers till today?
byanYes, till this very day. And the amount of passion I have for it hasn’t changed, the only thing that changed is the amount of crazy stuff I did to get them. I don’t consider myself a sneakerhead by today’s standards, because if the sneakers are too expansive, and I don’t have the money to get them, I don’t. Today wouldn’t pay my bills to get a sneaker.
For example, I don’t like Yeezys, so I’m already going against the market. I’m still loyal to Air Force 1s, the more underground sneakers. Nowadays I’ve surrendered myself to comfort, so I really like Huaraches, there one of the most comfortable sneakers I have. And besides, I’m kind of a “Nikeboy” and it’s always going to be my go-to brand, I really like it. And I also really like Reebok, those are the brands that I like the most.
Have you ever stopped and counted how many sneakers you have?
byanI don’t know for sure how many I have today, but looking at what I had I’d say it’s not a lot. There’re people that have easily like 400, 500 pairs, there was a point when I had more than 300 pairs. But I sold a lot of them and there was a moment when I took a break from all that when it became too trendy – I have nothing against it because I think the more people are into it the better, but I think that the whole thing blew up in an unorganized way and that the meaning of what it meant to be a sneaker collector got a little lost. Like having a sneaker that costs 1500 grand doesn’t make you a collector.
When I started, and look, I consider myself an old school guy, I learned a lot from others that already knew a lot more than me, but I feel that nowadays most people don’t have the drive to learn. I feel like they don’t really know how it feels to actually own a sneaker, to collect them – they’re all about “how much is your outfit worth” and that to me, has nothing to do with sneaker culture, but I also don’t have anything against it.
Being an old-school guy like you said, what are the biggest differences you see between what’s going down now and what used to go down back in the day?
byanAs I was saying before, the more people are in the scene, the stronger the scene gets. But there’s a division going down these days, where the old school guys don’t have the mind to accept this new segments and the new guys don’t want to learn what the old guys have to teach. No one knows more than the other person, but when you’re getting into something new it’s good to learn from the people that have been here for a long time.
Today is all about if the sneakers are extremely limited and expansive, so I’m going to buy them because I’m a sneakerhead. It wasn’t about that back then, it was about having limited sneakers but it didn’t matter what you were wearing from your ankles up. Today sneakers are associated with catwalks, expansive clothes with expansive sneakers, very different from sneakerheads back in the day, that wore baggy clothes and looked all messed up, but their sneakers would be shining (laughs). Most of my close friendships are people from back in the day, but I’ve met a lot of new people like the guys from Sneaker Cult, for example, I really like them and their work, total synergy.
Also, back when I worked at Guadalupe, I would get there early to open the store and I hat to kick people out of my way to get to the door, there were dudes sleeping on the sidewalk for two weeks because there was no raffle or anything, it was by the order of arrival, it was like throwing a sneaker up in the air everyone just ran for it (laughs). I remember when the Air Force 1 year of the Rabbit dropped and only 12 pairs came to Brasil, just to show you how it was way more limited back then when there was no restock
Guadalupe itself, changed a lot if you look at the videos from the beginning it was all Lowriders and chinos/ sneaker collectors. And the clothes they sold were like real “gangster” rap stuff from abroad. And now the page has turned, they blew up, they’ve grown and become very successful, and in the end the more the better, always in progress.
“Today sneakers are associated with catwalks, expansive clothes with expansive sneakers, very different from sneakerheads back in the day, that wore baggy clothes and looked all messed up, but their sneakers would be shining (laughs).”
“According to Sneakernews, these AF1s are one of the best editions made because Nike was trying out these materials for the 30-year editions. The combination of common materials like plain leather and denim was very well accepted.”
And why out of your entire collection did you pick this Air Force 1 for your Kickstory?
byanI chose them because I didn’t want to talk about grails, I wanted to talk about something more street, that has more to do with me. Besides Air Force 1s are the sneakers that I like the most, that makes me go crazy, and I still like them a lot till this day, even though there was a time when I wore them a lot more, nowadays you end up making way for more comfortable ones (laughs).
This Air Force here is a warrior, they’ve been with me since 2011 and they were my fifth Air Force in my collection. They have a lot to do with me and they have been my partners through many shows, from rap, hardcore, metal, a lot of head bangings, mud puddles, soccer stadiums, everything. This sneaker is not only beautiful, but they’re also warriors and they last a whole lot, and I haven’t clean them since the beginning! I take real good care of my sneakers like this one is from 2011 and it’s one of the most beat up ones I have. At the time I had a lot of pairs so I was always switching them up and I would end up not wearing them that much – so the durability on them would go up and their lifespan would increase enormously.
This specific model is part of a Denim Pack that had 4 different colorways, and this Pack was released just before the 30 years special editions. The 30 years editions dropped in the summer of 2012 and this pack came right before at the end of 2011. According to Sneakernews, these AF1s are one of the best editions made because Nike was trying out these materials for the 30-year editions. The combination of common materials like plain leather and denim was very well accepted. They were a big success and they previewed a bit of what was to come for the 30-year editions. I have the Camos, with the translucent soles and it’s one of my favorite Air Forces out of my collection.
You’re a part of the world of events: more specifically, sneakers and fashion related events, what are the difficulties, the cull stuff, what is it like being part of all thing at this moment in time when this kind of stuff is on a rise?
byanI’ve done some big events within the sneakerhead scene, in stores, in festivals, I did the I Love Sneakers together with the guys from Sneaker Cult and many others. Once I did an event at Metrô Tatuapé’s Artwalk, which was, in my opinion, one of the events that I liked the most since we shut down an entire corridor on the mall and more than 400 people showed up! There was DJs, Bboys, and with the help of my friends, in my humble opinion, I was able to put together the biggest collectors since the old school guys.
The store’s window was huge and we covered everything with black satin, we pilled some black boxes and put some really rare sneakers from those collectors on top of the boxes. At that time the difficulty was to spread the word about the party, because, today with the number of people that are part of the scene, it’s really easy to get an event like this packed, that being one of the reasons why we had shows and other attractions.
On October 2016 I did the 10 years Artwalk festival, which was huge since back then they were the biggest sneaker store in the country, having more than 40 stores today. We did the festival at the Latin America Memorial for 4000 people, it was huge, there was a Rael show, a bunch of DJs, an activation by Puma with a streetball court, two baseball activation from New Era, really a lot of stuff. It was so dope because of the entire sneakerhead scene showed up. There was coverage from Sneaker Cult and I Love Sneakers, it was awesome.
Do you have anything you want to add?
byanI just wanted to emphasize here on the interview that I’m a very big fan of what you guys do, and I know that your work is very serious, very professional, not demagogic or ass kissing and it’s dope that you guys do it because you like it. Also, you guys really shine a light on the scene, with old people just like me and people from the new generation as well. It’s really something different what you guys do, you know? You don’t form cliques, you don’t divide yourselves from others, and this is so dope to see.
Byan, we thank you for participating and for sharing a bit of your story with us!
Nike Air Force 1
Owner: Fabiano Byan
Photos by: Julio Nery