By day, Colby Chisholm is one of City Paper's account executives. Dressed in nice slacks, a button-up, perhaps even a tie, he spends the workday making calls, visiting clients, and helping ensure we've got a paper to print. But in our November staff meeting, Chisholm told us he was hiding something in his closet: a pair of Jeremy Scott special edition Adidas kicks.
The sneakers are bright and outrageous with animal print patches on the sides. They are nothing like the average pair of shoes worn on King Street. (To give an idea of Scott's aesthetic, the designer teamed up with Miley Cyrus for a collaboration at New York Fashion Week in September. The results were a cross between 1960s flower power and '90s grunge.)
"When I heard about the Jeremy Scott line, it was like a train wreck that I couldn't look away from," explains Chisholm. "They're an athletic shoe mutation. My pair, the Streetball model, is one of the only styles that, despite their appearance, I'd still consider practical for something athletic ... These shoes spoke to me."
Actually, it was another pair of Jeremy Scott shoes that first caught his attention. A pair of winged kicks, appropriately named Wings 2.0, introduced Chisholm to the designer's Adidas line and led him to the Streetball. However, Chisholm wouldn't describe himself as a sneaker head, or someone who collects sneakers either to sell or keep, but he does have 20 or more pairs of shoes, including a pair of Converse Chuck Taylors he's had since high school.
His Adidas are a visual and obvious departure from his regular attire — and even his day-to-day persona. "I'm a Baltimore guy, and I love kitsch ... They're a blend of a John Waters' movie with a philosophy. Yeah, I'm wearing Adidas, but they're the most loud, obnoxious, clashing, funny pair you've ever seen," Chisholm says.
Chisholm adds, "I used to wear a different color Chuck Taylors on each foot when I was in elementary school. In high school we'd hang out in the Inner Harbor at skateshops and buy Manic Panic hair color, and spikes and patches for our clothing. There was no Hot Topic or online back then. Professionally, I've conformed to some conservative fashion norms. Wild kicks are a throwback to the self-expression I experimented with in my youth."
But nostalgia can come with a steep price tag. The discontinued Streetball sells for anywhere from $200-$250. "When I saw the price tag, I thought,'You've got to be kidding me.' Then it became a game for me trying to find a pair that I could afford ... scouring the internet for this discontinued style, then finding my size, losing an eBay auction where the reserve wasn't met, contacting the seller, and privately negotiating with him for a price I could afford," he says. "When he accepted my offer, I was excited and a bit apprehensive about them. I imagine it was the same feeling that Frodo felt when he got the ring from Gandalf: every one's going to want them, they could get me killed, but I could also rule all of Middle Earth."