“My name is Juno, and even though it doesn’t look like it but I’m 36 years old (laughs). I’m from the Jordan era, and I started playing basketball exactly because of him when I was 9. Back then everyone played soccer, nobody played basketball, I was the only one who did. I was really bad at soccer, and every time they would put me as the goalkeeper. Until one day my gym teacher said: “You should try some other sport, how about basketball?” So I did. I asked my mom for a ball and a hoop, it wasn’t very good, but I would train like crazy. I would set a goal like, I had to hit 10 shots, and I wouldn’t leave until I did.
So that’s how I started to play and enjoy the game, the competition was small so I played for my school. – all my school life playing basketball. I watched Jordan play in his prime, I would stay up late waiting for the games to start on Band, it was so late that sexy time was on before the game. I was only ten and I had already watched “In Bed With Madonna” just because I was waiting for the game to start. (Laughs) But anyway, it was completely amazing watching him play, even today if you have the chance to rewatch the finals, it was really incredible what happened there – He knew how to conduct the game, it was magical. As a matter effect, I bet that a lot of people started playing because of him. Even Kobe Bryant, he always said during interviews how he imitated Jordan, that’s why their moves were so alike.
Magic Johnson once said that “If God played basketball he would be Michael Jordan.” and you know, there are perfection and imperfections – The guy is human but he can do some pretty amazing things.
When Jordan retired I stop playing basketball because of work and etc. And dude, it’s something that never really leaves you. If you look in my closet you’ll see that most of the stuff in there is basketball related, I have a bit of everything. It’s something I really like, it’s a movement, it’s such a strong cultural thing that you are overwhelmed by it all. If you like basketball you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Basketball is a collective sport, I enjoy watching teams like San Antonio or Boston play. If you look at them they don’t have any superstars, they really play basketball at its purest, and it’s really amazing to watch if you really like the sport.
Back to me, I work with sustainability and design, something that everyone is talking about nowadays but I’ve been doing it for a long time. When someone hires me they know that what I do is different, I put a lot of thought into the strategy of what we’re going to execute. Nowadays everybody wants to do everything, everybody thinks that they’re going to come up with the next Facebook, and I always tell them the truth, that’s not really how it is (laughs).”
Juno, what’s your relationship with sneakers in general?
I have lots of sneakers for real, and recently I’ve got into this crazy minimalism thing, where I’m trying to have less material things in my life. I donated 50% of my sneakers, they are all gone and there’s still a lot left (laughs), there are even some that I never wore.
In Design things talk to you, it’s like they have a way of communicating with us, that an object creates a connection. I think that designers, in general, have this need to have things and objects in their lives that inspire them, with a single touch or just by looking at it. So when you look at a sneaker, it’s the same thing: it’s that object that you desire and it’s accessible in some way by its price, and you are gonna get to live and wear that design in your daily life. As a designer, to me, everything is design – getting dressed is design, matching color and etc. Sneakers is a way to add to your personal communication, it’s really crazy.
Here in Brazil it doesn’t happen as often, but in the US it would happen to me all the time, that out of nowhere, a guy would just walk up to me and compliment me on my sneakers or a basketball t-shirt. Especially with this Jordan, it happened a lot of times. They would ask me where I got them, because they had never seen that one before, and it’s funny because over there everyone is so up to date with Jordan’s. This particular design is a classic, this sneaker represents “The Jordan Era”. I see them as an inheritance that exists till today, and it’s a piece of Michael Jordan’s history that I have for myself. I’m so crazy about Jordan that I even have some Jordan dolls, and some crazy stuff.
Do you have a specific story with them?
I didn’t wear them for many years because I didn’t want them to get worn out. When I lived in New York, this was the first sneakers out of all my sneakers that I wanted to bring with me to NY. They got really worn out because of the snow, but it was really special to wear them over there. To me and Daphne it was really good because it was the first time we stayed a while in New York together, living in Brooklyn. It was a different moment in our lives, and this sneaker was really present in all that.
I have this thing on my personal Instagram, that all my sneakers that I abandon or I stop using: I take a picture and put in the subtitles the date of birth and the day they passed away (laughs), I even put the place where I got them and the place I left them. It’s like a funeral. And it’s a decision that I stop and think, it’s time to retire this sneaker. But I don’t throw them away, I leave them somewhere anyone can pick them up and have stories of their own.
There was this once we went to Trancoso, and I left one of my sneakers there in the hotel that we stayed in. Then the people from the hotel called me to say that I forgot my sneakers at the hotel and I said “no no I left them on purpose, stop calling me (laughs). It was a really cool all white Adidas Stan Smith, that a friend of mine customized with graffiti, and in New York, everybody would ask me where I had customized it. Anyway, it was really hard to leave them there but they were really old, ugly, hard, all beat up, so I decided that it was time for them to go.