Kenny Gonzales has parlayed his passion for collecting into a winning lifestyle!
With 675,000 Instagram followers, there are few key figures in sneaker collecting more polarizing than Kenny “The Perfect Pair” Gonzales. With a collection valued at nearly $700,000, he is the center of attention, envy, speculation and gossip. However, Kenny Gonzales collects more than custom kicks and we were granted a tour through this man’s vast and diversified treasures. It was here we found out he is a soft-spoken, successful businessman, proud husband, brother, brand ambassador and one hell of a cook.
Urban Ink: In preparing for this interview, we watched and read a couple of your previous interviews and saw a lot about your “consumption” of sneakers. Have you considered creating in the space?
Kenny Gonzales: I have! I had a very successful collaboration with Stance Socks, Project 193. Originally, it was just a cement-print sock that I wanted for myself and it turned into a very successful, limited public release. Some of the socks even resold! I saw them as high as $100. That was crazy. Now I’m working on a sneaker with Ylati. Made in Italy, handmade, limited to 200 pairs. So the Perfect Pair is coming. It’s looking like Villa will carry it exclusively at launch. I’m hoping it’ll be something we may do annually.
The term, “sneaker community,” is thrown around a lot. Do you feel like a part of a community, or do you think that maybe that label doesn’t fit exactly?
“Community” is a little cliche. I am and have been a part of a few sneaker groups: A Tribe Called Fresh and SoleNation, for example. Still, the community aspect has really changed as opportunities to make big money came to the hobby. For some kids, coming into sneakers is, and always will be, about the money…in reselling, etc.
Who are some people in the sneaker space you think our readers should definitely know about?
Just off the top of my head, I would have to say Soley Ghost and DJ Clark Kent and really anyone bringing that same kind of positivity to the game. That’s what I like and respect most in the game.
In what ways do you feel you have contributed to the “culture” that surrounds it?
Positivity. You know? I didn’t grow up rich. That’s a real big misconception about me. I’ve lived in a car. I’ve been homeless. I know what it is like to have to hustle and I think it inspires the kids that follow me, who see what they see on Instagram. I think it’s a positive hobby and I’ve worked hard to be able to acquire what I now own.
Tell us a little about who you are. Maybe outside of sneakers, we all know you have a huge collection, you obviously dig kicks. What is something that might surprise us?
I’m a great cook! Ever since I was a kid in the kitchen with my mother, I’ve loved to cook. I can make all kinds of stuff. From scratch, too! I’d say Mexican is probably my specialty, but I can do Italian dishes, really anything.
You collect more than sneakers. What other items do you collect with the same passion as sneakers?
Shoes, cars, music, movie and sports memorabilia.
What are three of your most prized collectibles?
A pair of white cement 3s, my 2010 Shelby 500 prototype, and Michael Jackson’s glove, which I have displayed in my house.
Let’s talk about your ink. You have quite a bit. Any standout pieces you’re really proud of?
I would say my hands. I think of my brother, who would always say, “Never tattoo your hands.” I have “Last of a Dying Breed” tattooed as a part of the 200 Member Tribe and “LG,” my brother’s initials, on my thumbs. I’m very proud of my Indian heritage. Many say what we were given was an insult, that we were screwed, but I believe we built off of it.
That’s another common misconception. I do not receive any government money. We made the most of the little bit of land that we were given. I am proud of that. Anyway, back to tattoos, I have my wife’s thumbprint on my right forearm. We have our thumbprints tattooed on each other.
What do you think it is about tattoos and sneakers that appeal to those who are into both?
I think it goes hand-in-hand. Both are a passion. A passion for an artform. My tattoos aren’t frivolous and neither is my collection. My collection is about passion. Most of the sneakers, I had to have at least two pairs of. It’s a real passion.
Who are some of your favorite artists, particularly in tattoos and sneaker design?
In sneakers, you know I’d have to say Tinker Hatfield, of course. Also, Marc Dolce; the Foamposite really struck me when I was younger. Marc Dolce really thought differently when designing the Foamposite and I loved it. For tattoos, I need to shout out my guy, Tony Adi, in OKC. He is great and a very skilled artist.
The internet is all about perception; what’s one perception of you that’s completely untrue?
The biggest misconception about me is that my collection was inherited from my brother when he passed away. That just isn’t true. I have posted throwback photos dating as far back as 1989. I’m not concerned much with what people think, but ask OKC! At 19-years-old, 1991-2001, I was a B-Boy, a dancer. Ask OKC, I was always fresh in clean kicks and a furry Kangol.
Kenny Gonzales has parlayed his passion for collecting into a winning lifestyle! With 675,000 Instagram followers, there are few key figures in sneaker collecting more polarizing than Kenny “The Perfect Pair” Gonzales. With a collection […]