Straight from Atlanta, GA this week, we bring you the next story in the Originators Only series. DeAngelo LaNarde a.k.a @TonyD2Wild brings us through Atlanta, GA and shows us what being an Originator means to him.
SO: How did you get into sneaker culture?
"I've always liked to dress nice and have nice looking shoes, however I wasn't deep into the sneaker culture like that. I wasn't up to date on releases and colorways that were dropping etc. But when I saw people creating Youtube videos on sneakers which I had a whole bunch of in my closet, along with a nice camera I put the two together and started making videos and there was a great response. Over time I began to not only make better videos but learn more about the shoes I was reviewing, the concept behind them, the technology, and all other things that come with being a part of this sneaker "culture"."
SO: What inspires you?
"The people within the Youtube and Sneaker community inspire me. It's a lot of people to name, I can say everyone who is taking part in the Originators Only project are people who inspire me deeply. At the same time, I inspire myself, I want to be the BEST person I can be. Saucony inspires me."
SO: What motivated you to start a sneaker blog or a YouTube channel?
"When I first started watching Youtube there were only a few people doing it and it looked interesting and I saw these people had an audience. At the time I was into doing videography and photography for music videos, interviews, commercials, etc. I had a whole bunch of shoes in my closet so I thought why not shoot a video upload it and see how it does. I did that and received great feedback so I kept going."
SO: What's a standout feature a shoe must have in order for you to purchase?
"I probably would have to say the material. I am a big material guy, I love fabrics and the feel and look they give and if you have cheap materials then you have a horrible shoe in my opinion."
SO: What do you hope to contribute to the sneaker community?
I want to open peoples eyes to other options. The sneaker community shouldn't feel like they have to fit in by buying what everyone else is buying. I want people to feel like when they watch me they can find out that there's more to sneakers than just the ordinary brands we're use to. I want people to see themselves within me so that they know if I did it then they can do it to. I want to contribute to the younger crowd more so than older crowd. They are the ones who sometimes seem to make the younger crowd feel like they need to maintain these high standards of keeping up with the latest shoes.
SO: How has social media influenced the sneaker world?
Social media has influenced the world in general but for the sneaker world I feel like it has given EVERYONE a voice. It also helps spread information to a mass audience in a very short period of time. But it also has been the mosh pit of people trying to "Stunt" it's become a competitive sport to the sneaker world, who can get the picture out first, get the review out first, drop the story first. It's made the sneaker world more competitive if you ask me, I like it but at the same time I feel as if sometimes it takes away from what the sneaker culture is all about.
SO: Where do you see yourself three years from now?
Three years from now I can see myself still doing Youtube maybe not as consistent, but I will still be there. Still working with Saucony Originals, still doing Sample Industries with Christian Bright aka @Bull1trc. Still doing a lot of things I do now, but just at a bigger scale and for a bigger audience. At this time I am sure I will be doing other things as well, I like to have my hands in all sorts of different avenues.
SO: What advice would you give someone looking to start their own sneaker blog or youtube channel?
Start for the RIGHT reason, don't start because you see the benefit of others and the things that come with it. It looks good from the outside but you truly don't know the amount of hours, hard work, and effort these people have been putting in, in order to get where they're at today. Also know that it takes TIME, T.I.M.E. NOTHING happens over night, people will do four to five videos and want to be sent shoes or want you to follow them. I have over four hundred videos and probably didn't even get noticed until two hundred. NUMBER 1 thing, have your OWN personality and just be yourself there isn't ONE way to do a sneaker review there's tons of way so just be yourself be creative and most importantly have FUN if your not enjoying it then you don't need to be doing it. When I started I did it because it was fun then over time I was being contacted about opportunities like this one.