Ottawa-based creator Mind of Malcolm is an all-around cool guy to be around. Not only does he have an extraordinary collection of kicks—80+ and counting—but the sneaker enthusiast also has an affinity for streetwear and a down-to-earth personality that you simply can’t not enjoy.
Growing up in Ottawa, a few hours away from the multicultural hub Toronto, he quickly caught on to the culture of surrounding areas and the impact that clothing and sneakers have on people. Whether it be a nice pair of denim or an exclusive pair of kicks, there’s an immense amount of confidence that comes from looking nice and the content creator recognized that. “Whatever you’re into, regardless of the medium, just be authentic and things will come your way,” Malcolm shares with us.
For our latest installment of our Kickin’ It With series, we caught up with the content creator and chatted about building an online presence, the impact of social media, as well as sneakers. Check out our exclusive interview with the sneakerhead below.
I’m curious, what do you think makes Ontario’s fashion and footwear scenes unique?
It’s pretty slow in terms of the majority of things, but there’s a lot of close niche groups of people doing cool things. The people who know definitely know and now, compared to a few years ago, people are a lot more progressive and more quick to support something local. Fashion-wise, I’ve seen a crazy jump in trends because prior, I would look towards Japan and America in terms of what’s going on. It’s cool to see that the general public here is caring about how they look.
What made you decide to start getting involved in the sneaker scene as a content creator versus just being a sneakerhead?
This was around the start of lockdown in 2020, I was coming back from Cancun and at first, I was thinking it was a two to three-week thing. I was on Instagram like everyone else, posting once a week and then keeping it moving, but I never really cared about leveraging it for anything else. Once everything shut down, I recognized that I needed to find something to do other than working from home so I started taking more pictures and learned how to edit videos better. I noticed that more people were sharing my posts and it was something I already enjoyed doing so it was a very gratifying feeling.
As a young Black guy, there’s not that many folks as fresh as me, to be honest with you! I wanted to capture that and there was a bit of a snowball effect. So two years of doing that and since then the opportunities have been crazy, from shoes and clothes to sponsorships and trips. The fact that it’s all off of Instagram is crazy.
If you were to take an estimate, how many sneakers do you own right now? Do you ever limit yourself on how many shoes you can own or purchase at a time?
Estimate? I can tell you off the top by looking at them! Right now, at my own house, I have 60 pairs in front of me and at my mom’s house, I have maybe 25 or 30 pairs for storage. I usually try to keep it around 50 to 60 pairs because realistically, that’s how much I can store in my crib.
I like to use the one-in-one-out method. I just picked up the Union Passport Dunks so when those hit I’ll likely sell a pair or two of dunks that I already own. I usually just reduce or recycle, but it’s getting to a point where all of my shoes in my collections are heaters so I never have a bad shoe.
Given how frequent sneakers come out, what elements do you consider most important when purchasing a pair of kicks?
Definitely silhouette, I tend to gravitate towards some more than others. I have a lot of Nikes and Jordans, but only two to three pairs of Yeezys. Also, New Balance is having a crazy run right now. It really depends on how does this sneaker match what I already have so if I have a lot of Jordan 1s, there’s a chance that I’m going to pick up another pair. It’s really mood-dependent so if summertime is coming, I’ll pick more lightweight materials and with winter, I really just stockpile. I’m trying to get more into boots now with all of this snow, but it’s seasonal.
What are your top five silhouettes at the moment?
Air Jordan 1, Air Jordan 4, New Balance 2002R, Jordan 3, and the Adidas Yeezy 700 in that order. That’s my favorite Adidas x Yeezy collab, especially with baggy pants.
In terms of pairing your sneakers with clothing and accessories, do you have any go-to brands?
I’m a big advocate of Stussy, they always put out nice stuff. There’s a sick brand out of South Korea called thisisneverthat, people have probably never heard of it but they have fire pieces. Obviously, Nike x Carhartt Work In Progress, which is a workwear brand that is more fashion-forward; they have the best cargo bands. Accessory-wise, I would say Vitaly, they make some affordable jewelry. I usually buy real jewelry but other than that, Luke Vicious is a guy that makes dope pearls and vintage tees.
What’s your approach to styling an outfit around a pair of sneakers?
I’ll tell you a crazy stat, but I’ve never owned a pair of sweatpants before. I feel like it’s kind of giving up on your fit and every time I need to get a fit off I need to feel blessed. So I’m always putting on comfortable jeans like vintage Levi’s and they’re super-duper comfortable.
Contrary to popular belief, I always choose pants always. I have a rack of 20-25 pairs of pants in all different colors and styles. From there, I try to make it real tonal in terms of what the mood is and I always check the weather app before I pick my shoes. If it’s raining or snowing, suede is out of the question and I just build it from there. Obviously, I like jackets a lot so that’s last.
I’m interested to hear what are some of your favorite releases over these past few years.
In my own collection that I’ve managed to get, definitely the Air Jordan 3 “A Ma Maniére.” That was my sneaker of the year last year, it was crazy. I love the Air Jordan 1 Union “Black Toe” colorway, then Nike Dunk Lows are always in constant rotation for sure. Really just Jordans, I think the whole Jordan 1 up until 13, have really been pivotal all my life growing up.
As your audience continues to grow on both YouTube and Instagram, is there anything you’re looking forward to the most?
I think being able to see people say “I tried something new because of you.” That always keeps me going. I posted a pic the other day and someone commented “wasn’t a fan of 3’s, but after seeing this post, I’m thinking about copping a pair.” It means a lot to me for sure.
Elsewhere in sneakers, check out our previous Kickin’ it With installment with content creator Praise Asalu.