IDYSM: Hey Eug. So, let’s go back to the beginning. Tell us a bit about where are you from, and how your interest in style and culture began.
Eugene: I grew up in a small town outside of Edmonton, Alberta called Fort Saskatchewan. I used to play soccer in Edmonton and oddly enough a lot of kids that I played with had an affinity or interest in style. It wasn’t necessarily good style in retrospect but it was a general consideration for caring what you wore and brands in general. I also was fortunate enough to hit up Hong Kong every so often with my family for the Christmas holidays.
IDYSM: But you moved to HK to play soccer? What happened.
Eugene: I spent a lot of time playing soccer as a kid and when I hit university it just went to a whole new level playing virtually every day. This was something that not many had the opportunity to do at all age groups as there wasn’t a same level of structure as you see in other and more established soccer countries. Ultimately after barely making it through university, I went to HK to play. I certainly wasn’t the best player but I usually worked among the hardest so I guess I have that to thank.
IDYSM: You spent a lot some time writing/blogging for Kix-Files. How did this start, and how important was this to where you’re at now.
Eugene: When you’re afforded so much free time, you really need to find some way to use it. It’s not like I was making a lot of money playing haha, so no opportunities to go and gamble it away. So I parleyed a general interest in writing into sneaker hookups from Kix-Files. It’s cool to see they’re still around and if I never had the opportunity there, I might have never been able to make the jump to Hypebeast.
IDYSM: Are you much of a collector, how rampant is your love for sneakers?
Eugene: I don’t really collect shoes, although recently I have started amassing some soccer boots (since they don’t wear as quickly) but I don’t really want to own a pair of shoes that I wouldn’t ever wear. I would prefer to wear all my shoes but sometimes I need to think twice as to whether that’s appropriate given sometimes in the past I would wear a pair once or twice and never wear them again. I have a lot of friends and family that could benefit from all the things I’m fortunate to receive.
IDYSM: With HB you’re across all facets and areas of style, design and culture – what areas excite you the most?
Eugene: I am genuinely interested in seeing how people can go out and enhance somebody’s life through design or creativity. For example in fashion, I enjoy more technically-minded pieces that can provide both functionality and aesthetics. Food is another interesting topic for me given its ability to influence much larger demographics. You can go into a restaurant and see so many people from different walks of life whereas fashion is probably a bit more segmented.
IDYSM: How important are sneakers now in contemporary style?
Eugene: I think it’s a huge part, technical elements in design are being seen across the board and when done correctly they offer a lot of value in terms of (as I mentioned) both functionality and aesthetics. That’s not to say there are some pieces designed solely with aesthetics in mind but in general, the sportswear approach is obviously very popular.
IDYSM: Where is the shoe game at right now, is this a defining era?
Eugene: I think it is in a way. It has become a time where there’s a ton of choice and of course the interest is reflected in the market prices. However, I would say in general, the barriers to entry in footwear are still quite high (in regards to tooling and production), so there’s still room to grow. There may be brands popping up, but they aren’t really providing a comprehensive package and utilising a lot of pre-existing pieces when creating their brand.
IDYSM: You’re based in Hong Kong now, how influential is this as a style hub on a global scale?
Eugene: I don’t think Hong Kong is very influential. It’s a market that is built on consumption more so than creation but that’s due mostly in part to the lack of real estate and ability to create. I harbour no ill feelings haha, but it is what it is.
IDYSM: Did you ever imagine Hypebeast would become this influential?
Eugene: Nah never, being in HK is good sometimes as we’re a bit sheltered. We keep it humble and we try to do the best possible given some of our limitations. The fact it’s influential is a great power, and you try to create a product that has value and people find interesting or at least the relevant stories should be told.
IDYSM: What does an average day have in store for you?
Eugene: Wake up, hit the gym, check RSS, get to work, check emails, start working on projects for the day, smash some people at table tennis and then work some more… go home, make dinner with the wife @thatfoodcray and do some more work… boring I know.
IDYSM: What’s been your proudest achievement so far?
Eugene: I used to never really care for accepting achievement, but as of late, I think I feel most proud of helping build Hypebeast with Kevin (Kevin Ma, the founder) into something that I personally love doing as well as support a team of awesome people that I work alongside.
IDYSM: What does the future hold for you and for HB?
Eugene: Not sure, probably try to start doing larger scale projects but it’s sometimes tough 12 ahead, on a different continent.
IDYSM: I know a lot of people will be interested to hear the answer to this, my final question; what’s on your feet right now?
Eugene: The 24thstraight day of my Maison Martin Margiela x Converse 1970s Chuck Taylors.