OG Collector Kish Kash Talks About his Love for the AF1 | Grailify
OG Collector Kish Kash Talks About his Love for the AF1

OG Collector Kish Kash Talks About his Love for the AF1

With a 250,000-pound collection that he has maintained for some three decades, London's Kish Kash is a certified O.G. - and our go-to guy when it comes to tracing the significance of the Air Force 1 over several generations.

What is your first memory of seeing an AF1 on the road? When did you first become aware of it?
The first time I remember seeing the Air Force 1 was on the feet of Rakim wearing a pair of white shoes on the cover of his 12" single with Eric B "In The Ghetto" in the 90s. I asked myself, "What the hell are those shoes?", and on my first trip to New York City in '91 I tried to find them, but to no avail. You have to remember that these shoes were underground cult shoes back then, only sold in a few places. You had to know where to go, and I didn't at the time. But I managed to find a pair of discarded Air Revolutions, so I guess it wasn't so bad (laughs). In January 92, on the cover of the 'Return Of The Funky Man' 12", Lord Finesse wore a pair of all-white highs with the straps hanging down the back. Then Rakim wore white highs with a black swoosh on the front cover of his album 'Don't Sweat Technique' with Eric B.. Finally, in '94, I bought my first pair of AF1s from JD Sports - which I still have. A pair of white fabric shoes with a black swoosh. The silhouette was different from the leather shoes, but no one else was wearing them at the time.

What does the shoe mean to you in terms of sneaker culture?
I consider the shoe a design classic, where only real minds at the time really understood what this shoe meant. If you had that shoe, you knew what was hip, what spots you were in and what your style was. It was the first shoe that had people racking their brains, asking, "Where do I get these? I remember a legendary shop called 'Passenger on Beak St' in Soho that imported them in small sizes in '92. I kept bugging the staff there asking when the bigger sizes would come, but it never happened. It was the first shoe that grabbed me and I just had to have it.
Kish Kash's shoe choice: the yellow pair from the Air Force 1 NBA Collection
With such a passion for this shoe, can you name a favourite Air Force 1?
That's a difficult question because there have been so many incredible versions over the years. I would say the purple highs from '93 that finally came out a few years ago, in terms of colour and shape, and the pink contrast stitching adds an extra subtle pop! Also, these olive green tumbled leather pattern highs with black swoosh and black sole are so badass, and the white leather and mesh highs with purple swoosh and purple outsole are also a blast. The Highs always have the edge over the Lows and Mids for me, as they are the actual version worn on the court. But the Cocoas, Mushrooms, Linens and Digi-Camo Dumb limited versions by Japanese rapper Gore-Tex are all so fresh! White-on-white is also simply unbeatable.

Truly a difficult decision. What do you think about how the younger generation wears the AF1 today?
I think it's great that new people are discovering an affinity and attraction for such an iconic shoe and finding new ways to combine it with their look. This morning I was in Paris and hopped into an Uber Pool shared taxi. This young architecture student was already a passenger and I noticed she was wearing a pair of black AF1 Lows and looked so cool with them and how she had incorporated them into her look.

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