Pair of Aces: Sasha Elina
Sasha Elina shares her hunt for heat in her sneaker collection
What’s your relationship with sneakers?
I wanna say that my love for sneakers started when I was 15. I got my first pair of Jordans which were the Air Jordan 2 Retro Low 'White Varsity Red'. My mom was like “if you want these Jordans, I’m not going to buy them for you… so you have to figure it out on your own.” And I went to the mall with my friends, we waited in line, and I got them! I was super excited to wear them to school. And it kinda just went on from there.
All through middle school and high school I wore uniforms to school, so I want to say expressing my style was through my sneakers and jewelry. Copping sneakers over the weekend, and then wearing them to school was like “ok, this girl.. you know, she has a little bit of swag to her uniform.” Just having your sneakers makes you stand out, and it’s a way to make conversation. It really all started from there.
How are sneakers part of your expression?
I’d say the evolution of my style is emulating looks that I've seen growing up. Whether that was my mom, her emulating Toni Braxton and me watching The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. As far as styling I feel like I incorporate the 90s into my look. I grew up in the 90s and then when I’m working with other people, I like to make it a mix of how they want to see themselves, but also how I see them. It started with my personal style. Once I figured out what my look was and how I wanted to dress every time I went somewhere I’d always put something together. I would go on blogs and see a bunch of different styles and would try to emulate that. From there, my friends first would come up to me and say “I love the way you put that together” or “Hey Sashà, I’m going out this weekend, can you help me put an outfit together?” I worked retail at the time, so I started doing that for my clients and it kinda just grew from there!
Tell us about that special pair, where you had to hunt for them?
My special pair are the Air Jordan 2 Retro Low 'White Varsity Red. These came out in 2004. And I was on the hunt for them and I was on eBay and the seller literally had everything! He had the original box, which is just crazy! He had the shoe card in it, and when I saw that it just brought back so many memories because in high school when I first started collecting Jordan’s I used to put the shoe cards around my mirror. I literally had them in order 2..3..4’s. The shoes were brand new, never been worn, and in perfect condition. And on top of that, including I swear, everything was $75! Shout-out to that seller on eBay!
What’s your top 3 grails?
My top 3 grails I’m going to start with The Aleali May x Air Jordan 14 Low “Fortune"! I even started buying sneakers to be at this point where a woman is designing multiple sneakers for Jordan brand. I think that’s so empowering and so exciting for women. This collab is also really special because she allowed me to work on this photoshoot with her. I got to help style her and her granny, and Titi Sue so this is a very proud moment as a friend. I think it’s really cool that she added this shoe card in with a little background story. I love that!
My eBay find. The Air Jordan 2 Retro Low 'White Varsity Red were my very first pair of Jordans. I think that’s where my love for sneakers started and it just evolved from there. I’ve had them for forever. And the Jordan 3 Retro A Ma Maniére I’m wearing today. I think everyone can say that they had a pair of Cement threes at one point in time. So to see even the evolution with a Three collab. I saw someone the other day at the grocery store. He had a full fit on and he had these on his feet and it was like “ok, cool.. I got those in my closet too!”
So, what’s on your list?
My next grail is definitely tapping back into my fours (Air Jordan 4 Retro). The fours were actually my second pair of Jordans that I got. I got the Mars 4’s in New York, on Jamaica Avenue. I’ll never forget. I love all of the collabs now, but I really love the original colorways. It would be cool to pop up Summer 2022 with my first pair of 4’s and a pair after that. I’m definitely going to try to find those.
What's you criteria for browsing sneakers?
My criteria for browsing sneakers is a combination of checking my local spots because they still have accounts and they are still getting shoes. They still might have shoes in the back they might haven’t sold. And definitely eBay! I feel like there’s a specific item you’re looking for like a 2002 vintage Dior Runway, you can find it on eBay. And yes, it might be like 45 pages but if you go through those pages I’m telling you, you will find what you’re looking for at the price that is going to wow you! So getting back to those shoes… $75! C’mon, from 04’...brand new…with everything! I had to!