A Conversation With Wayne Pereira

In my effort to bring back CYS’ A Conversation With… series, I decided to direct my focus towards my target audience: everyday sneakerheads like you and I. Wayne is a follower out in Dubai who really understands what it means to appreciate sneakers for what they are and not for their cash value.

1. So what got you into sneakers?

I would have to say my mom. My mom always had me on the drip since I was a kid. You know how it is growing up: you have that one pair a year, either on your birthday or Christmas, and even though I didn’t realize it then, she’ll show me pictures, and I’ll be like “Oh My God! I recognize those Nikes! I had some drip back in the day!” But yeah I’ve always been a fan of sneakers, but really got into it when I started working and was able to afford my own sneakers. But I was still low-key with it, I was unwilling to just spend that much money on sneakers.

I’ve always been a Jordan fan, and we never had any good sneakers; we’d always have to get it shipped from the States, and I didn’t have friends in the States at that point. So whatever we had here, you just had to search around the factory stores and outlets and you’ll find one rare pair, and then you’re like “I’ll just spend my money on these.”

But before all that, I thought I couldn’t afford buying sneakers at retail price. So it was just like “let me just get a cheap pair, get what I can or what I like, or wait for the prices to drop and then eventually I will get it.”

But when I started working like 7-8 years ago I said to myself “You know, if I save a little money I could probably get what I want.” So it’s that, but I also love the hunt. It’s more than the hype and just having someone take my money. It’s about to hunt and finding those dope sneakers and also finding a good deal. I don’t care for the hype, I get what I like. If I think it looks good on my feet, if I like the aesthetic value of it, I’m gonna buy it. I don’t care for the hype or price value.

2. You talked about the scarcity of the (sneaker) heat in Dubai, and how you had to try and get sneakers from the States. So before you had a plug here, how did you do it?

Yeah, just the factory outlets. We didn’t have giant Nike stores like that at the time, now we have one of the biggest, but before that, it was just the factory outlets and we hunt. So I go to the back of the store, and because I’m a size 12-13, I can find 1 or 2 good pairs. Like I have some De La Soul Dunks that I paid less than $100 for. They were just sitting on the shelf in a factory outlet. And there were many times where we would see some really dope sneakers just sitting on the shelves for less than retail. So back then, the factory outlets were the best that we could do. Thankfully now, we’ve been getting more releases that come in the US.

But every time I travel I come back with some new sneakers. My first trip to the States I picked up like 3 pairs, but my second trip I came back with about 11. And most of them came from the outlets. I hit up RIF.LA once, I picked up one pair there, the Powder Blue IIIs, but my buddy picked up like 6 different pairs. Even on a 3 hour drive to Vegas once, it ended up being 6 because we stopped at 2 outlets on the way.

I only recently bought from StockX because the Alternate Grape Vs didn’t drop here for some reason, so I just decided I was going to buy them online, but mostly I might have sneakers shipped to my friends in the US or UK, and then eventually get them shipped here.

But before all that, I thought I couldn’t afford buying sneakers at retail price. So it was just like “let me just get a cheap pair, get what I can or what I like, or wait for the prices to drop and then eventually I will get it.”

3. How would you describe the sneaker culture in Dubai? You said you like to wear what looks good to you, what you like, and Dubai- at least looking from the outside in- Dubai is very luxurious, top notch, so, is it unique, or is everyone wearing the hype?

From what I’ve seen it’s a bit of both. We have that community of ballers that have the cash and can spend on whatever. So we do have a small community of guys buying hype. But I think the majority of people that are copping the Hype are reselling the Hype. You know how that game goes. 

But we also do have a really great community of true sneakerheads that love sneakers for what they are and passionate about their kicks. We also now, in the last 5-6 years, have a handful of local sneaker boutiques that have popped up and that’s actually helped the community and culture here. So to describe the community, I would say it’s a mix of hustlers, ballers and true sneaker heads. 

We have that community of ballers that have the cash and can spend on whatever…But we also do have a really great community of true sneakerheads that love sneakers for what they are and passionate about their kicks.

With Dubai being such an international city you’ve got a whole mix of cultures and up until a few years ago you probably never saw our side of the culture, but it’s definitely developing. Events like SoleDXB (our local sneaker, hip-hop and fashion event) helps bring that community out. They bring that underground community together of people who love sneakers, hip-hop and fashion. In the past we really don’t have that community and platform like that, you go to New York or LA, you see that community and culture. Here in Dubai because it’s so money and business oriented, you don’t really see the culture that kids like us grow up in here. So when people think Dubai, it’s like you said, everyone drives Lamborghinis and gold plated Ferraris and you have a camel in your backyard, but most of us are just your average everyday people.

4. When it comes to your sneakers, how do you like to style it?

I pretty much only wear sneakers with a matching hat and tee, with jeans or cargo shorts most of the time, because of the heat. So if I can find a hat and tee that matches my sneakers, I’m dripping that, man! Thankfully I don’t have to dress up for work, so I just keep it casual. 

5. How does your wife feel about it?

…it was only a matter of time before I dripped her out with her own collection too.

She knew what it was from the very beginning. But she’s been cool about it and we actually had real conversations about it, too, such as budgeting and stuff for sneakers. Before, I was just buying sneakers because I could, and next thing you know I’m going through my statement and I’m wondering where my money went! So her having me budget and stuff has made me appreciate my sneakers more and better about spending and I am super thankful for that. I would say she’s actually pushed my love for sneakers to another level, and helped me learn to let go, too. Sneakers aren’t everything. Sometimes I’m not going to win a raffle, and that’s okay. It just wasn’t my day. I don’t need them, I’m okay without them. I don’t need to blow the bank on them. I just focus on the ones I really want.

So she knew I was a sneaker head, and it was only a matter of time before I dripped her out with her own collection too. We actually got married in custom sneakers on our wedding day. It was also cool because they had incorporated my love for sneakers in the wedding and surprised me. As we were walking down, I can see the sneakers hanging from the top, and I’m looking at these sneakers like “I like these sneakers, I have these sneakers, whose sneakers are these?” Turns out they were my friends, because we have very similar sneakers and the plan originally was to take a few pairs of my sneakers, but they knew I was going to notice a few of my pairs were missing, and because they did not know what sneaker I was going to decide to wear on what day, so they used some from my friend’s collection and incorporated them in the wedding. It was sweet because it’s definitely a big part of who I am.

6. So what are your top 5 in the rotation right now?

Well right now I’m living out of my in-laws, so my slides and triple white AF1 Lunarlons, another factory outlet cop. Pretty much just with the lockdown, I haven’t seen my collection in like 3 weeks, but I’ve still managed to buy some sneakers despite of it. We have a Concepts store over here so I was able to pick up the Oracle Aqua Kyrie 6s recently. So right now I’m not wearing that much heat just because of the lockdown, but I’ve still been buying sneakers for when we can go out and wear them again.

7. So what are you targeting next?

Since I took the L on the Grateful Dead and the Chunky Dunky SB’s I copped the Alternate Grape 5’s on StockX (Delivery and customs to Dubai cost nearly same the price of the sneakers, but hey they we are the top of the list since last year and they weren’t releasing here I had to go all in). But next on the hit list are the new Oregon V’s (hoping they release here, fingers crossed). Not much for the hype, but I think it’s a cool color way, and I also want to try to get the yellow Michigan V’s as well, the navy blue ones are too expensive and I prefer loud colors. Hopefully at the end of the year the Fire 4’s. I would say those are next for me.

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