Fair Fashion Portrait: Wessel

 

''A sneaker is more than just a shoe''

 

One has more shoes in his or her closet than the other. Wessel has them all in boxes, piled up in his room. Special sneakers for which he has had to draw lots in most cases. Or you have to be there first. ''I've been at the door of a shop trying to get the latest pair.''

By Sebastiaan Rodenhuis

NonFiction Photo Festival

When you walk into his room, the tower of boxes immediately stands out. Filled with sneakers, safely stored. Some have already been worn, others have never seen the light of day. For him, they are much more than just utensils. "I don't just see them as shoes, but as collectibles. I sometimes compare myself to that someone who saves model trains," he jokes. Wearing sneakers is a way for him to distinguish himself from others. "When I walk down the street with a unique pair on my feet, I know that I'm not so quick to meet someone who has the same one. Then I feel a bit proud."

He has 25 pairs of sneakers around him. From unique Nikes to special Vans and everything in between. Sneakers that come in limited editions and are very popular among enthusiasts. Wessel's hunt usually takes place on the internet. ''In the world it is known at what moment certain sneakers come out. Then you really have to sit down and hope that you get through it." It is therefore not always possible to get hold of his gems. He thinks that's a pity, but it's part of it. It perpetuates his hunger.

Wessel is not so concerned with where his gems come from. How they are made. "Of course I also prefer that my sneakers are produced sustainably, but unfortunately that is not happening yet. The first step lies with the producer. She makes them. I would even like to pay a bit more for it''. He therefore sees a second aspect of the interaction between supply and demand, between consumer and producer. "The sneaker brands create a hype by not releasing them in large numbers and coming up with special variants and collaborations. As a result, you often miss out. As an enthusiast, it is then difficult not to go along with it next time."

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