The term patron saint refers to a heavenly advocate. In this case, Hans Abdullah is the patron saint of sneakerheads.
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He is no stranger in the world of fashion, particularly trainers. A sneaker YouTuber and co-founder of Madecurate—which according to Hans, is really just a group of guys that loves and sometimes sells expensive sneakers. Before stepping foot into his house, we were told to brace ourselves, but we could’ve never prepared ourselves for what we saw.
We creeped through Han’s air-conditioned room, one that was large enough to house hundreds of valuable and rare sneakers—with the addition of K-Pop merchandise, and if you didn’t know, yes, Hans Abdullah is also a massive K-Pop fan and collector.
In this interview, we speak to Hans Abdullah about his undying love for sneakers and his thoughts on resellers in the sneaker scene.
So, tell us, when did it all begin?
I started seriously collecting sneakers in 2013, but the passion started probably around 2008. I think it was after watching one of the Step Up movies, I keep forgetting which—either Step Up 2 or Step Up 3.
They had that one scene where they all had a wall full of sneakers and they were promoting this one shoe called the GunMetal Nike Dunks, I was so curious whether or not they existed.
After seeing them in the movie, I wanted to get a pair myself and while Googling, I found out the shoe doesn’t exist—like they just made-up the shoe for the movie. But by that point, I was already so deep into researching sneakers I kind of just fell right into it.
Collecting sneakers has always been your passion but you mentioned that you’ve also developed an obsession with the culture itself. What made you so intrigued by that?
After I started dipping my feet into the world of sneaker collecting, I was surrounded by very nice people, they were always very accepting. And the thing about each sneaker is that they each have a story—a nickname, a story behind them, of how that sneaker came about.
To me, it was fun. It was like learning. It was like being a little bit of a nerd, you know? Learning all about this one sneaker, finding out the origin story behind this other sneaker.
So, when you’ve delved deep inside it, the next thing you know is that you have all this information in your head that sometimes, it feels kind of useless. But then you meet someone else who has the same kind of information in their heads and that becomes a culture—essentially, it’s like meeting a whole group of people who just have pointless knowledge about sneakers.
So, I think from there it just grew, it just became bigger and bigger. Before you know it, you’re surrounded by like-minded people and it’s just fun.
There’s also a lot of talk about resellers ruining the sneaker culture. What are your thoughts?
I think it depends on your perspective of it. I think resellers are one of the gears that help make the machine move. There are lots of reasons why people get into sneakers—some of them like the way they look, some like the story behind it, while some of them only see the value, and I think there’s nothing wrong with that.
There’s no right way to enjoy your hobby. I think resellers are part of the culture in that sense, I can’t imagine the sneaker scene without them. These resellers actually make the game fun because it makes some shoes hard to get.
As a collector, it’s entertaining when there are some shoes you can’t get. If you can get them easily, it’s boring because then you’ll be able to complete your entire collection and own every single sneaker tomorrow. Resellers make it challenging, it makes it fun for us collectors.
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PHOTOGRAPHY BY XERXES LEE / AWESOME IMAGE STUDIO | GROOMING BY NICOLE NG & KINGSKEY LOH