Pair of Aces: Gia Seo
New York-based creative director Gia Seo shares the story behind her first Pair of Aces.
What was your first pair?
The Speed Cats from Puma. They were the hottest new thing. I saved for months! I would wear the Puma Speed Cats today, only because they go with everything. And that silhouette, that very skinny silhouette, is really hard to find coming out of the more standard big brands.
Q: Tell us the story behind your first pair!
A: The first pair that I remember mattering was when I was 11 or 12, and my parents and I flew to the next big city in Alaska called Anchorage to visit my grandmother. It was the first time I had experienced a multi-store/multi-brand mall, and it was Nordstrom. At the time Nordstrom had just announced the drop of something called the Speed Cats from Puma, and they were the hottest new thing. I saved for months, but what was I [realistically] saving? Pennies probably. I finally convinced my mom that I really needed these sneakers and so she got them for me. And I never wore them. I was so scared about ruining them that I would come home every day and clean the suede (which was still brand new by the way), and then just admire them and keep them in the box. And I still have those pair, till this day.
Q: You never wore them? Why?
A: I never wore it because I had a super Korean mom (I’m first-generation), and my parents immigrated here from Korea, so when I was growing up we didn’t have a lot. Growing up it was very much like if my mom bought me something that they had to last me 15-20 years. So, that was one big fear; disappointing my mom. Also not being able to take care of the thing I begged eight months for. But more, it was the feeling of having something that was mine for the first time. It wasn’t a hand-me-down from my sister or something that my mom chose for me. To purely have something that is yours when you’re a young kid, in particular, especially when you don’t grow up with a lot, is this feeling that is a little indescribable unless you’ve felt it yourself. And for me, I still remember that feeling and I think that’s why I’m conscious about the way I consume, or I try to be.
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Q: What’s the last pair you bought?
A: For me, it’s been about bringing less into my home and if I do bring anything to my home, it has to have longevity. I think we talked about The Air Vegan, he’s been a really big inspiration for me about cutting down. He made me realize that the world we live in will no longer exist if we continue to consume the way we are. It’s not cool to have all of the number 1 sneakers in the world. We don’t even have the space for it living in New York. So to answer your question, the last pair of sneakers I bought was the Zoom Pegasus around 7 months ago when I started running again.
Q: How did you connect with sneakers growing up?
A: That's an interesting question because I didn't. I grew up in a super small town. My parents were only buying things for me out of, you know, necessity or function. The first pair of sneakers that I ever purchased was a Huarache Air that I played basketball in. THAT'S what exploded my love of sneakers. And by purchased I mean I ordered them online and waited 3 weeks for them to show up at my PO Box. So, ha, a totally different way of experiencing sneakers I think? A lot of different catalogs too from Eastbay.
Q: Do you dress top-down or sneakers up?
A: Depending on my mood for the day, I would say 70% of the time, I dress from the sneakers up. Because sneakers are usually the first thing I see in the morning when I look at my wall or floor. Just piles and piles of sneakers everywhere.
What's the most prized pair in your collection?
Although these are not in my heavy rotation, these are my most treasured - signed Allen Iverson's that no one gets to touch, but me.