For the last Kickstory of the year, a post that is less of an interview and more of a talk between the three members. Vitor Manduchi is saying goodbye to Kickstory and talked with Thais and Ian about the history and growth that the project had in the last two years.
As a designer by profession and photographer by heart, Vitor created Kickstory in September of 2016, and with more than 80 shootings done, Vitor says goodbye to the project in 2019 to follow other goals. Born and raised in São Paulo, he moved to Barcelona for a master’s degree and stayed there, sharing his time between being the European arm of the project and working for the studio he co-founded, Studio Tres. On his feet, Inikis of different colors one being the last sneaker he bought in Brazil, the other the first bought in Spain, representing this great change in his life.
“My name is Vitor, I’m 24 years old, born and raised in São Paulo but now I’m living in Barcelona. I’m a graphic designer and I came here to get my master but in the end, I ended up staying, I’m currently working in a studio called Mucho and I’m also the co-founder of another studio called Studio Tr.es, and last but not least, I’m the person who started Kickstory way back in 2016.”
Thais: First, let’s talk about your profession – why graphic design?
Vitor: I have no idea (laughs). In school I was always the black sheep of my class, I wasn’t interested in anything, I didn’t like any of the subjects and I had no idea what I was going to do with my life, and I was completely lost. At first, I was going to study advertising because it was like the “different” thing to do, but after I finished reading an article about the subject the next page was about graphic design, so I read it and the only thing I could think of was ” this is way cooler than advertising”. So I got in Senac with absolutely no expectations on what to expect and no idea of exactly the course was about, and today if you took design away from my life I would be an empty sack of potatoes in a corner of a room, because today, design is everything, it’s everything I do, it’s how I see the world, my tastes, everything comes from my views as a designer. When it comes to music, when it comes to clothing, everything comes from the mind of someone that has graduated and lives in this area. To tell the truth, I was very lucky to get into something that in the end turned out to be what I am today.
I had a class during my masters, just to think about where designers could be in the future. Not to sound egocentric but in the end, our conclusion was that – we as problem-solving people – when we apply our way of thinking, we solve problems. Besides, in the future, politics, CEOs and all professions of this caliber, could all employed by people that come from a design background because, in the end, they’re people that have the ability to solve problems coming from their own training. I know a lot of people that have a degree in design and work in many different areas doing other stuff.
Not to mention that with the automation of everything, with robots getting more and more intelligent, we are in a very safe position if you compared it to other professions that will soon be in trouble – Like Taxi drivers fighting with Uber drivers, and in a few years they’ll all be without a job.
Ian: Like us (laughs).
V: Exactly! In the end, it’s all about thinking about an objective, a briefing and connecting point A to point B. It’s having in your head that you need to get something done, and if I don’t know how I’ll learn, I’ll ask the whole world if I have to until I get to where I need. My conclusion is that I’m a very lucky person, I know we have a long way for people to truly give design the respect it needs, but I think it’s a dope profession.
T: You’ve worked with design in São Paulo and now in Barcelona – What are the main differences between working in those two places?
V: If we look at the whole picture, talking about just São Paulo and not Brazil as a whole, it’s actually pretty similar. Studios work very similarly to how they do in São Paulo, in the way they look for clients, in their money is always the most important thing motto, and even though they do of design just for the design and less for a commercial use, at the end of the day everyone has to pay their bills. Studios that just because they have a cool environment, a ping pong table and a hammock for after lunch naps think they can pay you less, that is the same, I’m still looking for a place that’s not like that.
But if you look at the designers themselves, you can see the difference, the europeans start working really late since they only start working when they finish college and their internship. When in Brazil, we start interning at 18, 19 years old during the second or third semester so when we finish college we’re ready to get a job, they enjoy their lives when they’re in college and only start interning when they finish college and they’re 24, 25 years old.
My opinion is that here in Spain, the market doesn’t help itself, in an economy that’s not doing so well, and I think it’s mostly their own fault – how do you expect someone to be prepared for the market only when they’re twenty-something years old?
In the end, when it comes down to the salary it’s pretty much the same as in São Paulo and so is the hierarchy inside the companies, the world of design is very globalized in that sense.
T: I think it would be cool for us to talk about how we met (laughs)
V: It was impossible for us not to have met (laughs). Ian was friends with Lucas who was in my class in college, and he was also in the same class as Henrique who worked with me at the time and we ended up meeting in a bunch of different events, from different people. Thais came in the same package as Ian, since she was also from his class in college and had also worked in some of the same places I did in the past, we shared a huge circle of the same friends.
T: Now talking about Kickstory, what’s the story behind the project?
V: Well, I always like creating some sort of content since back when I was in school, blogspot about book reviews, various kinds of Tumblrs and stuff like that. But since I was working a lot at the time, I was starting to hate the fact that I was waking up and going to sleep having done nothing but stuff for other people and nothing that was mine. So it got to a point that I just needed to do something for me, and I always liked taking pictures, but my camera was rotting away in the closet, so I decided that I had to do something photography related. So I thought to myself “Damn! What If I put photography and sneakers together?” Two things I really like, but I didn’t want to just take pictures and post them, with no content at all, since half the world did and still do that till today.
So the idea was “What if I told the stories behind the sneakers?” and in the beginning, it was all about finding the most racked, worn out, destroyed sneakers. So I created the Instagram page, and it was real hard picking out a name until Ian came up with Kickstory, which I thought it was perfect since it sounded good and embraced the entire idea of the project, the only downside is that till today, we don’t have the @kickstory domain because of some dude that doesn’t even use his account.
I: And the logo was different back then! It was a script K made out of shoelaces. But it didn’t last more than a few days (laughs).
V: In the end, it changed into the K that is today! And the first photo shoot with me and my Janoski was shot on September 2016 by my friend João Pedro, who probably didn’t have any idea of what I was going to do with those pictures. It was shot in my kitchen, which we were remodeling at the time, at night during the week, and he only agreed to do it because we knew each other a long time, because if not… (laughs). That photoshoot only has 6 or 7 pictures in a very different format from what we have today, it was waaay more simple since it was only one phrase per picture and not an actual interview. And for the first 3 or 4 posts, the idea was to post 6 photos of the sneaker, every day but Sunday, until Ian mentioned that 6 was too much, I agreed and erased 3 pictures from every post, right there was when we started our feed with 3 pictures per sneaker, one of the most beautiful things about the entire project in my opinion.
After around 2 months, I had 80 followers, about 10 likes per picture and I was quite sad, I didn’t see the project heading anywhere or much else that could be done. But Thais and Ian didn’t let the ball drop and they would be constantly in my ear saying “Don’t quit on this project, don’t quit on this project, don’t quit on this project”, until one day, on a friends new years party I told Thais that I was going to stop with the photos and finish the project, and she said “No! You’re going to take your camera to Barra do Sahy and you’re going to take my pictures there” and that’s exactly what happened, we took those pictures and we did the interview.
I: We’re going to link a lot of people in this interview.
V: Yes! Actually, Ian, your interview was the very first one right after mine, I remember till today opening the door on a freezing night and seeing you and Henrique hold a basket full of sneakers. I not exactly sure how, because it was so natural, but when I looked again the project had become ours.
I: Thais started getting us likes on Instagram and instantly became our social media manager. I remember she had the password to the account so she could do her thing, and I would be like “I want to have the password too!” (laughs).
T: There was a moment, and I’m not exactly sure how, but we got a lot of people, it was friends, and more friends, then friends of friends.
V: The crazy thing is that we never said like, “Ok, now we’re in this together now”, it just happened.
T: That moment happened when all of us put money into the project, that’s when it started to get serious.
V: Yep, exactly, and we started doing a lot of interviews together. Later on, because of Tina, we met Marina that worked for Nike at the time and she invited us to go to an event that went down at Cartel 011 – Since we only got two spots only Ian and I were able to go. (laughs) That day we met Emicida and we got crazy on Baer Mate – our good partners till this day – and from that day on things just took off. It’s an easy way to see how much we have grown, when you look back at 2017 when we were scouting people to participate, inside Casa Air Max, having to pick who was going each day because we couldn’t get the 3 of us inside, and in 2018 we were a part of SP On Air, giving workshops and having a space just for us with our pictures that we did in partnership with Pérola.
Sometimes I stop and think how far we have come, from back then when it was only 3 photos with a few phrases, to a photo shoot and some questions, to the interviews we do now with high-quality photography! Not to mention all the events, getting our name out there, selling our merch, starting Kickstory Productions, I get so happy when I spot and think about all this.
I KNEW WE GROWING AND DOING WELL, BUT WHEN WE WERE INVITED TO PARTICIPATE IN SP ON AIR, I COULD CONTROL MYSELF SO MUCH, THAT I FLEW TO BRAZIL JUST TO BE A PART OF THAT.
T: And what was your most special moment with Kickstory?
V: I knew we growing and doing well, but when we were invited to participate in SP On Air, I could control myself so much, that I flew to Brazil just to be a part of that. There were some other moments there may have even been bigger comparing to where we were at the time, but not as relevant – like the Cortez project Bruno hooked us up with, that we did with Rato and Mad, even though it was small, it was our first project with Nike and that really meant a lot, but to me that will never compare to SP On Air.
If you take the number of people in São Paulo and in Brazil, with this boom that has had the sneaker scene and compare it to the select number of people that are able to be a part of an event like this and to think that one of the names was ours. To me, it showed that we had gotten somewhere, that we had some sort of respect, and I was really happy to be a part of this event.
T: Now talking about sneakers – what do they represent to you?
V: Since I was a kid, I didn’t know I liked sneakers, but I knew I liked sneakers, I’m not sure if this makes any sense, I didn’t know what I was doing but I always liked having something different on my feet. I even remember this one time, when I was 7, and I asked my mom to get me a red sneaker with no laces, I wore them one time at school and people made so much fun of me that I never put them on again. I was thinking about this story the other day and I thought about how I have now, a bunch of different and colorful shoes and how things change in your own head.
Today I don’t have that many compared to how much I used to have. Just like many people that we’ve interviewed have said – sneakers are a form of expression, they’re what I want to say to the world, it’s the first piece of clothing I think about. But to me there’s something more that Kickstory has given me and that is that: in the end, sneakers made me meet people, sneakers made me go places, sneakers made me make money, sneakers made me learn more about photography, sneaker made me do things that I thought I would never do in my life – like for example giving a photography workshop on a Nike event.
So to me, aside from the fiscal thing, the capitalism that comes with buying an object, sneakers have been the guideline to most of the things I did these last two years. It even worked as an icebreaker for me to talk to the guys that are now my partners in the studio I’ve opened here, Pedro and Charles because they liked sneakers also. Besides I’m very proud of all the content that we created with Kickstory, we have interview more than 120 people, that’s a lot of people! People from different places, areas, cities, people that now I can call my friends, and all of this because of sneakers, because of Kickstory.
I’M VERY PROUD OF ALL THE CONTENT THAT WE CREATED WITH KICKSTORY, WE HAVE INTERVIEW MORE THAN 120 PEOPLE, THAT’S A LOT OF PEOPLE! PEOPLE FROM DIFFERENT PLACES, AREAS, CITIES, PEOPLE THAT NOW I CAN CALL MY FRIENDS, AND ALL OF THIS BECAUSE OF SNEAKERS, BECAUSE OF KICKSTORY.
THE BLUE ONE WAS THE LAST SNEAKER I BOUGHT BEFORE I LEFT BRAZIL, AND THE RED ONE WAS THE FIRST ONE I BOUGHT AFTER I GOT HERE IN SPAIN, DURING A TIME WHEN I WAS CRAZY ABOUT INIKIS.
T: Well you have a lot of sneakers, why did you choose these, and why one of each color?
V: These are my beaters, my everyday sneakers, that I always have them on during my daily hustle and when I need something, I just put one of them on, or both (laughs), and I do whatever it is that I have to do, they are with me during many different moments. It’s a super comfortable sneaker, it’s this really dope mix between a classic Adidas upper bearing the 3 stripes in a very simple way, with a boost midsole, the technology that I couldn’t be more fan of.
But the reason I chose these two is way bigger – the blue one was the last sneaker I bought before I left Brazil, and the red one was the first one I bought after I got here in Spain, during a time when I was crazy about Inikis. Today they’re both totally destroyed because I don’t really take care of them, they’ve been through a lot. But this idea that one was my last step there and the other was my first step here, was what I wanted to show, I couldn’t choose just one.
T: It’s funny because in your first interview for Kickstory you were such a declared “Janoskihead”, and for this last one you chose an Iniki. It’s crazy this evolution that we all went through in our taste in sneakers, how we learned so much and now we’ve better absorbed each one’s silhouette.
V: I’ve always been into skate shoes, there was a time when I had a lot of Janoskis, countless Vans and today I only have 2 Janoskis, one of them being the first Kickstory, which I don’t use anymore but I still have it, and 2 vans. But my taste really changed, who would have thought that Vitor from 2 years ago would own some Alexander Wang Adidas, I would have never thought of that.
T: And what are the biggest difference between sneaker culture there compared to here?
V: Right at first I think that sneaker culture in Brazil is currently more active, with more people participating, with more event happening, and with more people actually concerned about the growth of all that this, than over here. Now Barcelona, which is a city that has it’s events, it’s sneakerheads, it’s stores and all that, it’s all very small when compared to what Barcelona represents as a city to the world. But I still think that sneaker are more accessible, not the grails and hits that nowadays are almost all available in Brazil, and here we still have a category of sneakers and collabs, designers that you don’t get in Brazil.
And not to mention Europe as an entire continent, because then Brazilian culture gets really left behind. If you take cities like Paris or London, that has money being invested, that have huge events and an already existing culture, exclusive products, it’s all so much bigger. We are at the beginning in Brazil, and in the last few years it has grown intensely, and a lot has happened, but it’s still really different.
T: Do you have a message you want to leave to Kickstory? Besides, what are your plans for the future, a year from now and five years from now?
V: You guys have to keep doing what you are doing, with the same delivery quality, always worried about the small details, caring for every person, creating and evolving the content so that it stagnate, so, let’s keep it up my dears because I know that Kickstory will go very far.
Now, Vitor wants to be a bit more chill with the amount of work he gets next year, I want to focus a lot on the growth of the studio I founded, bringing in more clients and more work so that someday that can be our only job. Let it be a year full of new things, new challenges, new projects and meeting more people. And in five years, I hope to have lived in other cities like Berlin, London, Amsterdam, Tokio and so on and worked in some insane places that would add a lot to my life experiences like Pentagram and Sagmeister & Walsh, and also having found a place to settle down and grow some roots, and have my own studio and be my own boss. But last but not least I want to see a huge Kickstory taking over the world.