I’ve never been much for sneakers. I often visit my neighborhood and surrounding area shoe lockers just to yawn at the same design I saw occupying the shelf four years ago, but in a different colour or with some celebrity or athlete’s name on it. I began to see the error in my ways when I picked up Art & Sole, written and designed by Intercity.
Intercity’s “sneakers” are sports shoes originally intended for basketball, skateboarding or just strolling, elevated to their own subculture by the skateboarding and hip-hop style phenomena. This detailed and up-to-date sneaker art history features oodles of Nikes, as well as other famous labels including Vans, New Balance, and Onitsuka Tiger. Lesser-known labels like Madfoot!, JB Classics and The Quiet Life also make an appearance.
The book is divided into halves: Sneakers & Art looks at collaborations and projects, while Art & Sneakers is composed of sneaker art, publications, exhibitions and toys, all sneaker-themed. Among the toys featured were Swiss design collective +41’s mini chocolate kicks crafted to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Air Force 1 and Takara Tomy’s Nike Transformer dolls, oscillating between toy-shoes and toy-toys.
When I discovered Cliff Muskiet’s website my sister and I engaged in an hour-long contest over who could find the wackiest stewardess uniform. (Her money was on the oil rich countries. I went for those with names like “Lion Air.” She won.) Cliff has received international attention for his collection, even appearing on television in Germany, the UK, Russia, and here in Canada. And with good reason, his collection currently sits at 820 airline attendant uniforms – all in pristine condition.
Herewith, the “uniform freak” in his own words:
In the beginning…
Ever since my early childhood I have been fascinated by civil aviation. The first flight I made (and that I can remember) was from New York to Amsterdam in 1970. I was five years old. I slept during the whole flight and when we arrived in Amsterdam, I was so disappointed because I couldn’t remember anything about the flight. I began to draw airplanes and I started to cut airplane pictures out of travel magazines. Every month I would go to Amsterdam and visit the airline offices and I would come home with bags filled with postcards, posters, and folders about the airlines and airplanes. I also cleaned airplanes in the summertime at Schiphol Amsterdam Airport when I was 15, 16, 17, and 18 years old.
My unique collection began in 1980, when I was given a KLM uniform. It was an old uniform from 1971. My mother was a nurse and she had a colleague who also was a part-time stewardess. At that time I thought, “This is great, I want to have more uniforms!” In 1982 I got two other uniforms from two Dutch charter airlines that changed uniforms that year. From 1982 until 1993 I didn’t do much to obtain more uniforms, something I really regret now because I could have many more. Ten years later, in 1993, I was in Accra in Ghana working for KLM, when I obtained some old Ghana Airways uniforms without any problem. When I received these uniforms, I started to contact other airlines. Most of my 800 uniforms were obtained between 1993 and today.