Sneakers&Answers: @Sneakerqueen

A sneaker fan, more than anything, Julia Schoierer (aka Sneakerqueen) has been around the sneaker business for more than 15 years. What started as passion and interest soon became a way of life. She is also one of the 5 people to participate on the “adidas Originals’ Collectors Project” last year.

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We had the opportunity to chat with the Sneakerqueen about her early years living in Berlin, how the sneaker game was back then, the evolution of the culture related to it and much more. Read the complete interview below.

¿Where were you born, and where did you live during the first years of your life?
I was born and raised in former West-Berlin and still live in Berlin now.

How was it in and around your city regarding sneakers, do you have any memory of that?
Berlin is a historical city in every way. Sneaker culture has emerged from many scenes here, whether Hip Hop, or Techno or Football/Hooligans from the former Eastern part, or basketball at the former American occupation zone

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Do you remember your first pair of sneakers? That first one that really conquered you?
I had many sneaker before this one, but the first pair I really had the collectors-jitters for was the Nike Air Jordan 1 Cement from 1999. I had them on layaway at Foot Locker for weeks, until I could finally bail them out. In the years to follow I bought many more of this particular release.

What about your teen years? Did you have some friends that shared your passion?
I was friends with many Djs and Rappers so the Hip Hop clothing style left a strong impression on me.
I realised sneakers are a status symbol in certain scenes, so I got really interested in finding out about the history of the models and where did their cultural status came from. Very soon I had to acknowledge that my passion for the matter went beyond any of my peers’ interest and understanding, so I was by myself with this nerdy approach until I met like-minded people through my regular visits at sneaker stores worldwide.
After the millennium, when people started networking and showing off online, collecting sneakers became a thing. Then the ‘scene’ started to explode. Fortunately this also connected nerds that otherwise would have never met and gave them a platform

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Did you happen to go online searching for sneakers since you started collecting?
Of course! Niketalk, eBay, Sneakerplay all that. The first few years where heaven on eBay. Plus customs were not familiar with the concept of sneaker collecting and I think I bought almost 30-40% of my collection online that time.

Did you also play it old school, with local shops and gatherings in the beginning?
I did that too. I’ve always been traveling around Europe keeping my eyes open at places like the flea market (my favorite used to be Clignancourt in Paris) or at old sports shops in Budapest and I lived in England for a year and a half (age 14-16). My sister and I used to spend our summer break working and then fly to New York in the last 2 weeks. I did this almost every year from 96-2010, returning with suitcases full of sneakers.

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It’s 2016 and the market just seems to get bigger and bigger – Is it a bubble, or perhaps are we looking towards just a kind of a bump as part of a more stable growth? After all, there will always be people to buy sneakers…
I think the sneaker game will continue to change, just like it did since the 80s and just like marketing and production have changed in the last 20-40 years. The Hip Hop culture has been a great example for this kind of development. Once a culture it is touched by the market, it becomes artificially staged by the brands, so that the masses can be reached and will follow. This created fake hype that became a big catalyst for the growth of the sneaker market and culture during the past few years. Trends became more important than design and heritage, so in my view the sneaker culture of the 80s and 90s almost doesn’t exist anymore.
But there will always be hype for selling status, the feeling of luxury or being special or different – that will never get out of date. The fashion and trends will continue to influence the consumers and will morph the collecting trend into further consumption madness, it will only look different… like owning only 50 pairs of shoes, but each pair costs as much as 10 ‘regular’ models.

Regarding innovation, what are your thoughts? What do you think is the brand at this time that is innovating the most in terms of design, but also technical wise?
There are some interesting innovations in the Sneaker design world, and the research doesn’t stop. In terms of technical innovation Nike has been and is continuously on the forefront. However in terms of marketing and brand identity, adidas has made an impressive leap in the past 2 years.
Design-wise I am not sure if you can call the lifestyle branch of the sneaker market innovative, as it is one badly executed retro or hybrid after another.

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What are your plans for 2016? Do you have any special project coming up that you might want to share about?
Nope, anything in the making is still classified

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If you want to hear more from @Sneakerqueen, don’t miss this recap of the adidas Originals’ Collectors Project: 

If you have a collection too, share it with us! Tag your posts with #footdistrict.