Ever since those early days, from the hours passed around diggin’, to the new editions and models discovered going through the pages of the Crooked Tongues forum a lot has happened. One of the most renowned vintage sneaker collectors, Tiago Escada Ramos is completing a BA in Fashion Design.
He is also determined to keep on spreading the word about what really means to esteem and to share about a distinguished visual path. Tiago is also one of the founders of the Facebook group Sneakers Love Portugal, a pioneering sneaker aficionado’s community in the most western country of Europe.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with Tiago and discovered some of the truth behind the meaning of being a sneaker devotee. Read below.
When did sneakers become a part of your life?
Like any normal kid, I started wearing sneakers at a really young age, national brands, and cheap shoes, unfortunately, my parents couldn’t afford anything else. I remember when I bought my first big brand shoe I was ecstatic, a Puma Suede if I remember correctly.
I always wanted the Nikes from the other kids in class. I guess this made me more aware of the “cool” shoes back then, the ones I couldn’t have.
Then you grow up more or less with your reality, still if I couldn’t afford the high-end sneakers at the time, and I tried to get shoes from cheaper brands than Nike, like Fila, Puma Le Coq Sportif or Converse.
During my High School days (during the 90s) there were really nice options for those brands. It was a bit later when I started to work and that was when I started to purchase some sneakers that I grew up loving.
Just when did you become aware of the whole size of this industry?
I guess around 2002, 2003…back then I was buying around a pair each month, really randomly, but then I realized on TV and when I travelled that people were rocking some really cool models that we didn’t have here in Portugal, and I started digging on the web and discover the Crooked Tongues forum.
That changed it all for me. Limited editions, retro, vintage stuff, a whole new world.
What are your thoughts on the whole business these days?
Right now things are crazy, every day a model pops up in 50 different colorways, every week a collab, and it’s really overwhelming. On the other half, this massive approach pushes the brands to innovate more and to try to give customers a better product.
The fact that some known designers and collectors work side by side with some brands it really is a major improvement. We are far from the times when lifestyle sneakers were just a little percentage of the brand’s sales.
Please share with us about three brands that don’t really get the attention that they should.
From a vintage collector perspective, I would say Le Coq Sportif, Etonic, and Diadora. These three brands released some bad ass shoes over the years.
Etonic is coming back with some cool retros, and LCS and Diadora are also doing it. Still, it is just a bit on the slow side for brands with such a huge portfolio if you ask me.
About your collection: was there like a ‘click’ and you felt you just had to start collecting? Or did it happen gradually?
After a few years on Crooked Tongues, my preferences started to go to vintage stuff, it really speaks more to me, the construction, shape, materials, and history. Can’t really beat a badass vintage pair of shoes!
Share with us about three important models that you currently have.
Well, they are all important to me. On the top has to be the Terra TC made in the USA, just because it’s my favorite shoe.
Recently I got a pair of the original 1987 Air Max One with the huge bubble and it’s a gem. And then I have to mention the Blazer made in Japan, for me it’s the best looking bball shoe ever.
Was there a pair that you didn’t buy at the right time and you firmly regret it?
During these years collecting, I let pass lots of shoes that I somehow regret, sometimes you just don’t have the money available and you let them go.
But one that I always remember was a pair of 1979 Nike Bermuda, I always beat myself for not buying a pair that popped up on eBay a few years ago.
We are aware that you are currently completing a BA in Fashion Design – How do you foresee your future within this industry?
Yes, that’s right, this is my last year. Well, I had big dreams when I started the BA and after still years, some of them were quickly killed by a more know-how of how the industry works. I think this is natural.
I’ve learned so much, and now I’m just trying to combine the knowledge I’ve acquired with some of the dreams that I had, and of course my passion for sneakers. It’s too early to tell about projects, but you will see me working in the industry for sure.
I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. Garments or footwear, I’m sure I will have my vision shared.
Photography: Débora Ribeiro
A special thanks to Taberna das Almas in Lisbon, Portugal.