We Interview Parisian Sneakerhead Selma Kaci Sebbagh On Fashion, Travel And Holy Grails
"Just a tomboy with fancy pants," Selma Kaci Sebbagh is flying the flag for female sneakerheads everywhere. Her Instagram is a treasure trove of bright patterns, Comme de Garçons tees, travel snaps and envy-enducing sneaker everything – from unboxings to expertly organized sneaker shelves. We caught up with the Parisian sensation after meeting her at Sneakerness Berlin to find out more about the girl behind the collection.
Hey Selma, tell us about yourself. What do you do, and more importantly, what inspires you?
I'm 22 years old and I'm living in Paris when I'm not away traveling. I love arts, history of art and books – I've graduated in Fine Arts from La Sorbonne. I also work in fashion, and lately I've been working for different strategy agencies.
Lately travel has been the thing that inspires me the most. I've always had the chance to travel a lot since I was a kid. Every three months, I’m on a plane somewhere. It can be for a weekend in Berlin, or a week in Italy, or whatever. But lately I've felt the need to travel more than ever – I love to get lost in cities and discover new places. But more importantly, travel allows you to discover different traditions, to meet new people and learn about new cultures. I love to go to museums especially, or discover new contemporary artists at galleries. I went to St Agnes in Berlin and I loved this gallery!
I couldn’t see myself in the same place for six months for example, and it's actually a curse, but I'm completely aware that I have this amazing chance to be able to (almost) travel as much as I want. Next year, Tokyo is going to be my next big trip for sure!
Your Insta account is pretty centered around sneakers. Tell us about that love: What do you look for in a sneaker?
Really easy: what I look for in a sneaker is good design – and it’s not just what looks good. For me a good design is also all the little details, the quality of the fabrics, the shape of the model... and most importantly: comfort! The product needs to be practical and comfortable with a nice aesthetic; no-one like shoes that hurt your feet! Good design also needs to be innovative, like the Adidas Ultraboost, or Nike VaporMax – I really like both!
The question on everyone's mind: If you were a sneaker, what would you be?
This is so far one of the best questions I've ever had to answer – it's pretty damn hard ahahah.
Probably a classic shoe: something that stays strong even after years, like the Air Jordan 3 White Cement or Air Max 1 OG Red, or maybe the Trainer Flyknit Black and White.
Sneaker culture really feels like its on the rise at the moment. Do you think the internet and social media are the only reasons for that?
Yes, the sneakers culture feels like it's on a rise now. Of course, it's impossible to deny that the internet, and especially social media, have had a big role in the rise of sneaker culture; they advertise it and make it rise faster.
I think that internet and social media have allowed younger people to explore the world more than ever, and also to cross each other's worlds online. It made it possible for people from such different places, with the same enthusiasm and passion, to be able to meet, exchange, and create communities and groups based on that – I think the shared opinions and aesthetic tastes in these communities is really impressive. Also, social media allows individual people with an awesome collection or good knowledge to become well-known.
Do you feel like the Instagram community gives back to creatives like yourself? If so, how?
I'm not sure how to be a creative person on Instagram. I think my account is more like a daily diary of what I'm wearing and the like. I know people who are way more creative than me! My account is more focused on sneakers and bright patterns to be honest ahaha. But I do appreciate the fact that I'm seen as a creative person.
Tell us about your experience at Berlin’s July Sneakerness event. What were your personal highlights?
Berlin was, as usual, amazing! The event was really good – there were many interesting stands with lots of choice. I was seriously impressed by the diversity: both in terms of the quantity and quality of the different shoes displayed and the range of prices.
My personal highlight was probably when me and my friend found both our holy grails in our sizes placed right next to each other: the Air Max Rio 97 alstom DS and the Air Max 1 Camo. We were like, "wooo, no way!" Overkill did such a cool job and there was also a stand with a lot of vintage sneakers, with more than fair prices! Also Station, where Sneakerness took place, was amazing in itself.
The second highlight was probably when I was able to buy the Bape pillow in the color I wanted at the Solebox launch event, thanks to my friends. The whole Solebox team was really nice and I was the happiest girl ever! I had an amazing time in Berlin and I can’t wait to come back.
Did you pick up any new finds there?
I didn’t pick up anything unfortunately. I did find two pairs but I had to pass because of the price. The AM1 Camo France was in my size but way too expensive for my budget. That was a big big regret cause those are amazing, but I'd rather spend my money on the USA Camo version.
What were your essentials for sneakerness? Is there anything you can’t live without on your travels?
When I’m visiting a city, I need to be able to walk for hours, specially in a city like Berlin. Usually I'm out in the morning and not coming back until the end of the end. I need to be relaxed; I don’t want to be stopped by discomfort or sore feet.
My essentials are always the same: patterned fancy pants with a white top (CDG is on the top of my list) and comfy kicks – all comfy everything. My phone is also one of my essentials – don't judge ahahah. And a disposable camera; I always have one or two with me when I travel – it became a habit two years ago. I want to be sure I have real memories of happy moments with my friends. If I have that, it's all good.
What’s the next big thing on the list? Any releases you’re really holding out for?
Next things is to keep traveling! I'm really hoping that I'll have the chance to see new places, and meet more people. I need to come back to Berlin for more days! I also want to see other cities in Europe. I'm having the cool/ bad habit of always coming back to the same place, which is pretty cool but at some point you're just not discovering places. Oh, and since I discovered the cool brand Arkk Copenhagen, it gave me the idea to organize a short trip at Copenhagen and discover this cool city!
Next release… In terms of releases, I've been more than happy with the last pick up I did: the Nike Flyknit trainer. Still trying to get my hands on a Tom Sachs x Nike in my size.
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Photography: Brit The Kid