The kinds of people who take part in sneaker culture these days couldn’t be any more varied. From the older folks going after the shoes their idols wore, to the hype driven kids looking to score the newest, most-limited edition sneakers, sneakerheads nowadays come in all shapes and sizes, yet they’re all united by one common belief: copping the coolest shoes and making sure they’re worn right.
Being a regular in the Philippine fashion scene, Brent Javier knows that all too well. Whether he’s in front of the camera or off, he knows the importance of putting his best foot forward in every sense. We managed to squeeze in some time with him for a quick conversation on his earlier days, his personal shoe preferences, and how he feels about designers looking to cash in on the game.
Before you moved here, what was your life like back in Canada?
I moved here when I was 21 years old. Before that, I guess I had a super regular life back in Canada as a University student. My first job was working at burger joint, cleaning toilets and all. Then I had a few experiences working retail at a mall and even had job at a laboratory of all places.
What made you want to move to the Philippines?
Living on campus when I was in university, I had been pretty independent since the age of 19. I came to the Philippines a few times before with family, so moving here appealed to me. And I guess I had gotten to a point in my life where I wanted some change.
Most people know you as a model. How did you get your break in the industry?
My break came out of nowhere. It wasn’t my goal to model here, it was just an easy way to make money and fill my days. I was just lucky I think to be honest, stars must have been aligned. I’m legit 5’10 which is still short for a model in the Philippines, let alone internationally, but I was pretty successful regionally as well. I was talked into doing a few contests and I fared pretty well I suppose. But when I look back, the moment things really went to over the top was when I did a campaign with Ponds that made me more of a household name at the time.
Before you became a model, were you already paying attention to sneakers?
I don’t remember when I didn’t pay attention to sneakers. That love affair probably started through sport, then I began noticing what other people were wearing and trying to always have the freshest pair. It didn’t hurt also having older cousins that I looked up to that had some of the best sneakers at the time.
I was lucky to get of my favorite sneakers when I was growing up, like the Air Jordan IV which I used for basketball. They were my first pair of Air Jordans, too. I also messed with the Andre Agassi joints – The Nike Air Tech Challenge II because I used to play tennis as well.
You’re not one who’s lacking when it comes to personal style. Was in something that was already dialed in before the modelling happened, or was it something that grew as your career took off?
I’d like to think I’ve always had the eye to dress well but when I look back at some old pictures I wonder what I was thinking with some of the things I wore. But I always did enjoy trying to look good and wear things that not everyone can pull off. I’m not scared to try and wear styles that I know others might be uncomfortable wearing.
Does your lifestyle influence your sneaker choice?
Yes for sure. I’m not stuck behind a desk all day and usually I’m on the move so I like being comfortable. My personal style also works here too. Usually, I go with how I’m feeling, but a part of my lifestyle involves looking my best, so I have to make sure my whole fit is on point. And that includes my sneakers.
When it comes to sneakers, which holds more weight for you: looks or performance?
That’s a blurry line nowadays. Off the top of my head I’d say looks, but I definitely love tech too though. I’ll use an example here. Take a shoe like the Nike Air Force 1 – one of the most classic shoes ever. They started out as a basketball shoe, but now most people wear them off-court or on the street. Looking a little deeper, Nike remixed them with Flyknit which makes sense performance wise, but not many people are looking to ball in them nowadays. They’re lifestyle sneakers with modern tech.
Ideally, there’s a balance between the two. When it comes to what I get, I buy shoes for the lifestyle aspect, but tech components make them more desirable.
What some people might not know about you is that you’ve dabbled into retail as well – with Homeroom a while back and now with The Nines. Both offer a pretty diverse selection of clothing and footwear brands. Do these stores reflect your tastes when it comes to style?
In some ways, yes. You need to at least attempt to understand what the market will both like and afford. There are some brands I love but I’m not sure would do well over here because of the price. At the end of the day in business, you’re trying to make a profit. It’s a balance for sure.
Having been around the fashion scene for a while now, how do you feel about designer labels releasing sneakers?
They’re a hit or miss for me. I’ve never been that big a fan of them, but I wouldn’t mind a pair of 10 of Balenciaga’s Arenas though. Also at this point, I don’t think there’s that much of a gap between “designer” sneakers and super limited ones coming from sports brands. Then you have brands like Common Projects and Filling Pieces that you could put somewhere in the middle of both categories.
Aside from fashion and your businesses, what other stuff keeps you busy?
In terms of other interests, I love spending quality time with my girlfriend Janna. And aside from stuff like staying active, going to the gym, playing basketball, I travel when I can as well. I do want to learn how to take photos and shoot videos just for fun though!
What words of advice would you give someone who’s looking to start collecting sneakers?
Something that I would tell myself even now— If you really like the sneakers and they personally speak to you then by all means buy them. But don’t always get sucked into the hype.
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