“My name is Fernanda, I’m 25 and I’m a graphic designer and freelancer. My family is Japanese and that was one of the reasons why I chose Liberdade as the location. It’s a place visit frequently, at least once a month I come here to see friends I don’t see too often. Liberdade means a lot to me, so I thought it was only right to register something that’s so important to me in this place that I have such a special connection.”
Fernanda, what’s your relationship with sneakers in general?
I’m madly in love with sneakers, I’m not a collector but I really like them. I think that a while back, most of my shoes were sneakers. I think that they’re really comfortable and I like them so much, that if I could, I would sleep with them (laughs). I prefer sneakers because not only are they stylish and comfortable, but because I like fashion so much – not that I’m a fashionista or anything, I just like it – just like clothes, sneakers can give you an identity, they can say a lot about you. I like the classic ones but remastered in some way, or a really different one that makes me lose my breath (laughs).
Do you remember when your passion for sneakers began?
The moment that it really struck me was going from middle school to high school. Mostly because before I changed schools, in high school, everyone wore the school’s uniform. Everyone looked the same. I always looked at all the sneakers and thought that they were a good way to make you stand out, and right there I started looking at sneakers differently. I noticed that everyone was using Nike Shox because it was all the hype back then, and thought they were ugly and didn’t understand why people were so crazy about them. I always looked for something different and out of the ordinary.
When I got to high school, I moved to another school that didn’t have uniforms. You could go there dressed however you liked, and that’s when I started to take a bigger interest in sneakers. At the time I had some friends that break danced and they wore a lot of Air Force 1s – this was the first time I fell in love with a sneaker. I even tried to learn some breakdance moves, but that didn’t work out.
I knew that Air Force 1s were expensive in Brazil, so when my dad went to the US I asked desperately if he could bring me a pair. He asked me “oh, are you sure this is the one you want?”, until then I never had one of these bulky shoes, so I said: “Hell yeah, bring them!”. I e-mailed him photos because there was no WhatsApp back then. It worked! He brought me the sneakers and when I saw them, I hugged them! Then I used them for a full week straight. My friends all said “now you’re part of the crew”. I was so stoked! Most sneakers have traction pattern on the sole and I noticed that it makes a difference when it comes to dancing, so now I understand why they prefer sneakers with a smooth outsole because it’s easier to move and slide.
And what’s your relationship with this Vans?
Last year I had too many things in my room, and it was bothering me. You know when you get to a point where it’s so messy that you can’t find yourself in the mess. That really bothered me. So I began to discard everything that I was keeping just because of its sentimental value. And this sneaker was the only one I kept that was old and beat up, I still wanted him. I gave away my Air Force 1, but this one stayed.
I think I kept him because of all the things we’ve been through together. I bought him when I went to Japan for the second time and made me think that I could do some things more than once, I have the opportunity, I don’t need to think that it is only once in a lifetime. Later I went to my first Lollapalooza with them, I watched a lot of bands play while wearing them. So I think, I remembered so many things I did with them, that there was no reason to throw them away.
And you still use them right?
I do, but I’m going, to be honest – my mom used to say to me “ your sneakers are ruined, are you going to keep using them? Aren’t you embarrassed by going out with a sneaker like that, all torn up? She would say that so much that there was a brief moment where I stopped using them. I kept thinking if it wasn’t time to donate them, all this after I cleaned my room. I even looked on the internet to see if I could find another pair but I found nothing similar. I was so sad, and I kept thinking that I should have bought 2 pairs, and kept one in a box (laughs).
Even today, I was thinking about what you guys were gonna ask me, and if I really had something to say about them even though he’s super old. I thought about it and came to the conclusion that it’s all about the look: they’re so worn out, I wanted to abandon them, but since they’re a part of me I couldn’t ignore them. They’re a part of my story. When Ian invited me to be a part of the project I decided to start wearing them again, they have a great meaning to me.
Do you have a specific story with them?
This sneaker is my first Vans, he’s all beat up but he’s still around. I bought him when I went to Japan, on my first year of college. I was walking around with my aunt, and she told me about this outlet, I didn’t make much of it but I said let’s go. We went into a sneaker store and I saw that there was Vans.
Just so you can fill the situation, my dad is an orthopedic, and he and my mom said I needed the most comfortable shoes out there. It was so that my first All-Star, my friends gave me for my birthday. I always wanted a Vans but I never had the opportunity to buy one. When we got to the outlet I looked through the whole store, but I only found men’s sneakers – to my luck, my feet are kinda of big, I’m a size 8 – and most of the shoes had my size. I saw this sneaker and I fell in love, so I showed it to my aunt, and she said: “are you sure you what this one?” I got all excited and said “ of course! He’s awesome! I want this one.” So I went to the cashier, figured out a way to speak Japanese, and started using them right away.