For Air Max Day 2018, the most sought after release by a very long shot was Sean Wotherspoon’s Air Max 1/97 — a shoe conceived from Sean’s love of vivid colors and corduroy, designed with the thoughts and opinions of Ben Baller, A$AP Nast, and other creatives that the vintage collector and co-owner of Round Two calls friends.
Wotherspoon calls the birthing of the shoe a byproduct him being “borderline too hard to work with.” He stressed the importance of the texture of the corduroy and making sure the colors were perfect. Like any proud parent, he was excited about the life of his creation. What he couldn’t anticipate was how the masses would accept the shoe.
“This is nuts to me!” he says. “It’s weird and it’s hard to explain how big it is. It’s one thing to be at home and you see all the people tagging me on Instagram and showing love for the shoe. But to be in the mix of it, of it and see the response in person, it’s all crazy to me.
In helping with the celebration from East to West coast, Wotherspoon made his first trip to Chicago over the weekend to make an appearance at boutique St. Alfred. Already seeing how millions of people were supporting his design through the constant tagging on social media, he was blown away at the hundreds of people that stretched around the corner of the store.
“I didn’t expect this turnout,” Wotherspoon says. “I thought that maybe 15 to 20 people in Chicago knew me and it would be cool, like we would all chill together in the store and exchange sneaker talk. For me, this has been mind blowing. Seriously, look at that damn line!
“When the design for this started, I was hyped to have the opportunity,” he continues. “In my mind, this was the perfect shoe. You can’t tell me that this isn’t the most perfect shoe. I didn’t think consumers would feel that way. I thought the colors would be too much, but to see how people have responded and to see they love the shoe like I do, and you’re now starting to see people use these colors, I can’t even put it into words what that feels like.”
Sean signed posters and greeted each person with the same energy as the person that came before them. He complimented the shoes on their feet, offering his knowledge on the style, and engaging the sneakerheads and vintage collectors that came through the store.
“It was cold as hell out there but the energy was amazing,” said Michael Williams, one of many who lined up outside of St. Alfred, hoping to receive a golden ticket that secured his size, the chance to meet Sean and in town to visit family. “Just being out there, I saw so many people that I hadn’t seen in years, and it’s crazy to think that I now reconnected with them because of a shoe. Think about that; lining up for not a sneaker release but the chance to buy a pair, that reunited me with friends that I haven’t seen in years. That’s crazy.”
Wotherspoon briefly contemplates the the energy around him in Chicago. “Imagine if we could use that type of shit to better the fucking world,” Wotherspoon says. “Whatever the recipe is at Nike, we could use that to get the entire world on one platform. We could all just really change things for everyone’s betterment. Just imagine that.”
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