WHO Leo Chow, head of marketing for De Beers in Hong Kong and Taiwan, is an avid sneaker collector and owns more than 600 pairs.
FIRST LOVE “The first sneakers I remember obsessing over were a pair of Nike Air Pressure shoes. This was in the early nineties and I must have been just into my teens,” Leo recalls.
“I was too young to have money to buy them myself, but my mother took me to the Nike store in Mong Kok and I begged and begged. The Air Pressure was Nike’s answer to Reebok’s Pump. The shoes came in a see-through plastic carrying case, and had a handheld pump that you could use to pump extra air into the shoe. The presentation of the shoe was so futuristic and impressive, beyond anything else you would have seen at that time.”
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TROUBLE MAKER “My mother once got really mad because I used the ‘emergency only’ credit card to buy a pair of Nike Air Foamposites, which at that time, 1994, were the most expensive sneakers on the market. She said that I had a problem like drug addiction. Being the irreverent 14-year-old I was, I said, “Well, would you rather I be addicted to drugs or addicted to sneakers?”
BRAND LOYALTY “I only have Nikes in my collection because the brand’s storytelling really resonates with me, from its partnerships with star athletes to the advertising and the style of Nike’s designs.”
COLLECTORS ITEMS Leo has some pairs of sneakers that he’ll never wear—but not for the reasons you might think. “I have a pair of Air Jordan 7 Olympic editions from about 15 to 18 years ago,” he reveals. “The outsole has separated from the upper, the colour on the plastic accents has faded and the Nike Air bubble has deflated. I keep them for sentimental value.”
Styling: Rosana Lai | Grooming: Jim Tse at A Ten Studio
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