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Influencer Shaniqua J talks with HypeBae on her ascent to a vast sneaker collection and immersion into New York's fashion culture.

When asked about how she got into sneaker culture and then some, Shaniqua said, "Sneaker culture has always been a part of me. My mother and uncles definitely played a role in that. I would have to say I fell in love with sneakers when I was in fifth grade of elementary school. Sneaker culture then was very different than it is now. I would get teased a lot because my last name is Jordan. Classmates would say things like, 'She’s Michael Jordan‘s daughter with no Jordans.' Somehow, my then impressionable mind came to the conclusion that I needed to have every single pair released. That pretty much started my sneaker obsession

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Being born in the ’80s, my mother was a diehard Reebok fan, so the 5411 was a staple. As I began to develop my own sense of style, I wanted to break away from letting my mother choose what I wore. I remember crying for a pair of Fila‘s Jerry Stackhouse — and those weren’t the last pair of sneakers I cried for.

"When the Eastbay catalogs started to roll in, my peers and I would bring our magazines to school with all the sneakers circled that we wanted. Back then, Jordan releases came with retro cards, so we would have them up in our lockers. That was my first taste of release dates and anticipation for sneaker drops. Back then, the mom-and-pop stores would let you buy your sneakers a little early for a small fee — nothing like the resell fees now. However, it was a big deal to show up a week early with the newest kicks. There were a lot of extra chores being done around the house for early release money."

"New York City has an undeniable influence when it comes to fashion — sneaker culture included," said the influencer about the uniqueness of the New York sneaker scene. "What makes the New York sneaker scene so unique is that NYC is the Mecca of sneaker culture. From the birth of hip hop, which played a major role in the sneaker culture, to the summer basketball tournaments, the city is synonymous with the sport and culture of basketball. We can’t forget about the mom-and-pop sneaker spots from Fulton Street to Jamaica Avenue, all the way up to Fordham Road.

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"I definitely feel the sneaker culture has grown just in the fact that more women are comfortable collecting and wearing sneakers. There was a stigma for a while that only tomboys wore sneakers, or you were looked at as less feminine if you wore sneakers. Now, you have things like sneaker balls where you can wear a form-fitted sexy dress with a pair of kicks and feel totally comfortable."

Information originally sourced from HypeBae.