With a £ 250,000 collection that he has been cultivating for roughly three decades, London’s own Kish Kash is a certified O.G. – and our go-to guy when it comes to tracing back the importance of the Air Force 1 throughout several generations.
What is your first memory of seeing an AF1 on the street? When did you first become aware of it?
The first time I recall seeing the Air Force 1 was on the feet of Rakim wearing a pair of white ones on the front cover of his 12” single with Eric B ‘In The Ghetto’ in ’90. I was like ‘What the hell are those?’, so on my first trip to NYC in ‘91 I was trying to find them, but to no avail. You have to remember that these shoes were underground cult kicks sold only at a couple of spots back in those days. You had to know where to go and at that time I didn’t. But I did manage to find a pair of deadstock Air Revolutions, so guess it wasn’t as bad (laughs). Then in Jan 92 Lord Finesse on the ‘Return Of The Funky Man’ 12” back cover was sporting a pair of all white highs with the straps hanging down at the back. Afterwards, Rakim on the front cover of his album ‘Don’t Sweat Technique’ with Eric B. was rocking the white highs with black Swoosh. Finally I copped my first pair of AF1s from JD Sports in ’94 – which I still have. A pair of white canvas ones with a black Swoosh. The silhouette was different to the leather ones but no one else was on them at the time.
What does the shoe represent to you in terms of sneaker culture?
I regard the shoe as a design classic where back in the day only real heads really understood what this shoe meant. If you had that shoe you knew what was up in terms of which spots to hit up and style. It was the first shoe that I recall had peeps scratching their heads going ‘Where do I get those?’ I remember a legendary store called ‘Passenger on Beak St’ in Soho importing them in small sizes in ‘92. I was always constantly bugging the staff there and asking them when the bigger sizes were coming in but it never happened. It was the first shoe that I was bitten by and just had to have.
With this kind of passion for the shoe, can you name a favorite Air Force 1?
That’s such a tough question as there have been so many incredible versions over the years. I would say the Purple Highs from ‘93 which finally came out a couple of years back in terms of color and shape, plus the pink contrast stitching just adds that extra subtle pop! Also these tumbled leather olive sample highs with a black Swoosh and sole are so hard, plus the white leather and mesh high versions with a purple Swoosh and outsole are banging too. Highs always win for me over the lows and mids as they were the actual version worn on court. Having said that, the cocoas, mushrooms, linens and the digi camo dumb limited ones by the Japanese rapper Gore-Tex are all so fresh! Also white-on-whites are just hard to beat.
A tough decision indeed. What’s your take on how the young generation is wearing the AF1 today?
I think it’s awesome that new peeps are finding an affinity and appeal for such an iconic shoe and finding new ways to style it with their look. Earlier today I was in Paris and jumped into an Uber Pool shared taxi. This young architectural student was already a passenger and I noticed she was wearing a pair of all black AF1 lows and looked so cool with them on and how she had co-opted them into her look.
Now that you heard it from Kish Kash, read more about the 35 year story of the Nike Air Force 1 and check out our interviews with four more AF1 fans!