COLLECTORS & OBSESSORS: ALEX VEE & NIKE
Words by Christopher Kevin Au // Images by Chris Loutfy
Like most people in 2019, I spend a lot of time staring at social media like a zombie, scrolling through Brown Cardigan and dealing with crippling racial identity issues on Subtle Asian Traits. But besides that, I spend a lot of time trawling through sneaker groups on Facebook, looking for a bargain and more footwear to add to the seemingly never-ending pile.
When I first started buying sneakers through Facebook groups like Shop & Swap and TN Talk, I started noticing one name popping up with frequency: Alex Vee. Like me, Alex is highly into Nike Air Max; and more specifically, the more obnoxious a shoe is, the more he loves it. If it’s got polka dots, pinstripes, fur detailing or a chunk of blinding hi-vis on it, there’s a 98.3% chance that Alex Vee will take it off your hands and put it on his feet.
What started for Alex as a hobby - kickstarted by a pair of Air Force Ones he saw in a shop window back in 2005 - has turned into a full-fledged obsession. We paid Alex a visit at his place to see just how expansive his collection has gotten, and we didn’t leave disappointed. With boxes stacked to the ceiling, his collection consists of “98% Nike” with a preference for “anything that’s wacky and out there. I wear pretty bland clothing, but I'll wear some wild ass shoes and let them do the talking, that's what it's about.”
Still, Alex is still a man with his limits. “I can’t do those Jeremy Scott adidas shoes, they’re too fucking crazy,” he says. “And Monarchs, eh! Too chunky.” But among the gems hidden at his house are Nike Ghost Racers, Tailwind 4s and the most beautifully gruesome Shox that you’ve ever laid eyes on.
Come 2019, and Alex’s obsession has now morphed into his own business venture. It’s awesome to see that Alex has now started his own store called The Stitch Up on King St, Newtown. The store holds plenty of sneakers (duh) but also clothing, collectables and even a few Goosebumps books.
“it's been just over month since opening. When I go to work, it's not like going to work; it's what I enjoy and when I get up in the morning, I fucking love it,” he says. “I just sit there all day and people bring me clothes, I give them a price and they're usually happy with it, and I'm happy.”
But Alex doesn’t want The Stitch Up to be purely based on business transactions; he hopes to build a community around the store, with plans for live music, events, and swap meets. “I think I'm filling a void for somewhere where you can go and buy sneakers, vintage clothes and toys, and be able to sit down and have a chat with the person about what you're buying, instead of going to a store and feeling rushed,” he says. “I just wanted to have a place where people could come and hang out.”
And despite having so many shoes and only two feet, Alex insists that “I don't have enough, and there's always space for more.” And he doesn’t see himself stopping this obsession anytime soon: “Keep sending me weird fucking web links, and I'll keep buying them.”