Rounding off what has been a stellar week of Air Max interviews for us at KLEKT, we knew that we had to go big. Over the past week, we’ve spoken to people from all over the world, getting their insights into all things Air. From New York to Cape Town and Amsterdam to Berlin, it’s safe to say that the love of Air Max has no boundaries. As we wrap up this week’s interviews, we’re sitting down with a collector with over 4,000 pairs of snekaers, @karl.lashnikov.
Most of you may recognise Iceberg from his insane warehouse video as part of Nike’s Masters of Air campaign. Back in 2016, the Swoosh selected Iceberg to take part in the event, rightly earning him one of the most prestigious titles in sneakers. Over the last three decades, he has been buying sneakers and never throwing a pair away. As you can probably imagine, that’s led to him having an archive that almost any sneakerhead on the planet would be jealous of. Today, we’ll be finding out more about Iceberg, his collection and what Air Max means to him.
Can you please introduce yourself?
Hi, I’m André aka Iceberg aka Karl Lashnikov. I was born in Leipzig, in the former GDR and have been a Berlin resident for the last five years.
How long have you been collecting sneakers?
I can’t say when exactly. It all started with just one pair of sneakers I bought back in 1989 after the Berlin Wall came down. Over the years, I bought a pair here and a pair there but I never threw a pair away, no matter how heavily worn it was. So I had about 50 pairs or so in the mid-’90s and one day, a friend of mine told me “you have more shoes than a girl”. I realised that sneakers are more to me than just shoes. I would say the real hunt started in the early 2000s when it was possible to buy shoes from the internet, from different stores and later on eBay. From that time on, I would say I became a collector or more precisely, an addict.
Are there any other collectors out there who you admire?
There are many with great collections out there. I like collectors who really love the shoes, their history and the diversity of them, not the guys who are only into sneakers because of their popularity or the hype. Just to name two of it, I really admire the collection of @ronsrareair because of his selection which is a journey through the world of Air Max. Secondly, I like @superllalla because of her special taste and mixture between Air Max and ACG stuff.
When were you first introduced to Air Max?
It was back in the early ‘90s. I was at a football game and a friend of mine wore the Air Max 180. I saw this big bubble and I was just fascinated by it. Two days later, I went to the sportswear store because I just had to have the 180s but they were sold out already. Instead of the 180s, the guy from the store showed me the replacement pair, the Air Max 93. My eyes started to sparkle, the bubble was even bigger and that “all around the heel” air unit left me speechless. So the Air Max 93 was an instant cop and my very first pair of Air Max.
Which is your favourite Air Max silhouette?
There are many silhouettes I really like, mostly the more unknown Air Max releases from the mid-’90s that came out between the better-known ones. But my all-time favourites are the AM1, AM90 and AM180.
To collect, I always preferred the Air Max 1, that’s the model that makes up the largest part in my (Air Max) collection. I really like that old school silhouette and it was the first Air Max ever, so it’s a real piece of history. To wear, I like the Air Max 90 more because they are comfier than the 1s for me. Last but not least, I have to say the Air Max 180. As I mentioned before, it was the first pair of Air Max I ever saw and I’m still in love with this silhouette and its comfort.
What are your top three Air Max shoes?
Air Max 1 Varsity Red
Air Max 90 Infrared
Air Max 180 Ultramarine
Do you have an Air Max grail?
Sure, the OG 1986 Air Max 1 with the big bubble, brand new in original Box and prepared to never fall apart.
What’s been the hardest pair for you to find?
When you have a big collection, it’s hard to remember things like that. One day you’ll find a pair you missed, you buy it, you get it and the hunt is on for the next one. And while you start searching for the next one, you find a completely different pair and buy that instead. Just in that second, I remembered a pair I was searching for for a long time: the women’s white/crimson/magenta Air Max 180. It is the sixth and last original 180 I was missing in my collection.
If you could bring back one pair of Air Max (colourway/model etc), which one would it be?
I’m not a fan of 1:1 retros of collectable pairs, to be honest. For me, it kills the essence of that shoe. However, I do think that there should be every classic pair always available to all. That means, the pairs I named as my top three plus the Persian Classic BW, the menthol AM 93 etc should be present in every store like bread at the bakery.
How was it being named as one of Nike’s “Masters of Air”?
In February 2016 I got a request from Nike if they could do a few shots of me and my collection for a video for Air Max Day but there was no further information about the whole thing. Two weeks after the shooting, I got an invitation from Nike to the Air Max Con in New York where I had to display a few pairs of Air Max. I was amazed and excited at the same time and when I got the information that the video will have its premiere at this event, I was even more excited because now I realised that this thing is bigger than expected.
When I saw that short movie and how it was named, I realised that I’m one of these guys Nike called the “Masters of Air” and it felt great. But the best part was yet to come. After the video premiere at the Air Max Con, a guy from Nike came up to me and gave me a letter from Tinker Hatfield with an invitation to the Nike WHQ in Beaverton, Oregon. I was overwhelmed and to be honest, it was one of the most beautiful moments of my life.
Lastly, what does Air Max mean to you?
Air Max is a way of life. If you choose an Air Max once, you will know what that means and you will never change. A life without Air Max would be a life with soles as hard as itself.
Air is what you breathe, Air Max is what you need.
Make sure you follow on Iceberg on Instagram!