Sole Mates: Jaime Xie and the Nike Zoom MMW 4

The ‘Bling Empire’ underdog might be a sneaker rookie, but she’s steadily amassing a significant collection.

Footwear 
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When it was first announced in early 2021, the Netflix series Bling Empire was positioned as a Selling Sunset meets Crazy Rich Asians hybrid. But beyond the glamorous lifestyles, million-dollar jewels, and parties, the show’s heroes became breakout stars of their own — and none more so than Jaime Xie. While the Netflix show may have put Xie into the spotlight, the 22-year-old fashion entrepreneur, tech heiress, model, socialite, and TV star has forged a path beyond her born wealth.

It’s easy to put Xie in a box: yet another “influencer” with brand deals and a good photographer. But she is marked by an air of humility, and a newly-found love of sneaker culture. 

In HYPEBEAST’s latest Sole Mates installment, Xie discusses her love of fashion, opening her eyes to the world of sneakers, and being a woman in the sneakerhead community.

HYPEBEAST: What got you into fashion?

Jaime Xie: I’ve loved fashion for as long as I can remember. Nobody in my family is actually into fashion except for my grandfather, who I never got the chance to meet because he passed away when I was two. My mom thinks that’s where I got my fashion gene from. I started off by shopping, but [I realized] I had a good eye for putting together outfits and things like that. I wore uniforms in school so I didn’t have a chance to really wear or show things I wanted to — at school on free dress days, the teachers and my friends and peers all knew I loved fashion so I’d go all out. Everyone around me always knew I’d end up doing something in the fashion industry, and I would always play dress-up [with my mom’s clothes] when I was younger. 

However, [when I was younger], my focus was on horses and horseback riding. I rode horses competitively and I went to all the competitions. I even went from regular high school to Stanford’s online school because I was traveling so much for competitions all over the U.S. and Europe. But I realized I didn’t want to do horses for a career, so I decided to explore fashion and I found that I loved that more than horses, it’s what I had to be doing. 

So once you found your calling, is that when shoes started to become a part of your life?

The first sneakers I saw that really caught my attention was on my Instagram Explore page, they were Nike ISPA Road Warriors — the ones with the toe split. When I find one thing that’s different, it leads me down a rabbit hole of looking at all the other things and I become obsessed, that’s how it all started. 

I had no idea that people got so creative with sneakers. Before I started to discover all of these sneakers I was getting some cool [pairs] from Valentino, really chunky ones, and then I downloaded StockX and GOAT and I became engrossed with browsing there. 

What is your stance on women and sneakers, and the fact that “the scene” is so driven by a male-centric streetwear-like presence? As a woman who has found sneakers more recently, what have you experienced? 

I was a little bit sad how all the sizes are men’s! Why aren’t there women’s and men’s sizes? My friend Jean had to help me convert it to what I’d be in men’s sizing to get it correct. I was thinking, “why can’t these also be for women?” I’d say just as many women are interested in them as men. Before, I was interested in some Prada sneakers but I had no idea how the sizing worked and it was too much trouble, so I was like never mind! I wish they listed women’s sizes as well. 

The Nike ISPA Road Warrior you spoke of earlier features a tabi toe, which comes from the likes of Maison Margiela’s heels that were originally for women and, of course, 15th Century Japan, throughout the Edo period. Interestingly, the Nike ISPA Road Warrior sells out despite its presumed feminine properties — were you drawn to it for history, design, or something else?

I was drawn to how the bottom of the shoe looked, and I didn’t realize that it had the toe split until I saw another picture and I was like, “that’s interesting and super cool!” I love the straps that go over the front with the buckle, I love the big gap on the sidewall, the circular tube things too. And then there’s the Matthew Williams one.

Yes, MMW’s pair. It’s a continuation if you will. 

I really love [the Nike Zoom MMW 4] as well, it’s easier to match with things because of the colors. I loved how the sole looks like a conveyor belt of sorts, and the silver — I love metallics! I think metallics are so easy to pair with looks. I love chunky platform sneakers.

I’m 5’8”, but my family is all quite tall. My dad is 6’5”, I always wished I was a little bit taller because of that, but growing up I was a picky eater so my mom says that’s why I’m not as tall! So that’s why I always loved heels, so when it comes to sneakers I like ones with a big, chunky platform versus flat sneakers. 

Has Matthew Williams’ pair changed your outlook on sneakers? 

It’s a go-to pair of shoes now. My old go-to was the Prada Cloudburst Thunder, I still like it but it’s a pure white sneaker (while they do go with everything) after you wear them… well. [As for the Nike Zoom MMW 4] I got them after the ISPA, but I’ve worn them four or five times already — which doesn’t sound like a lot — but I’ve only worn the ISPA twice. This MMW one goes with a lot, it’s super versatile but different.

Are you keeping up with Matthew Williams at Givenchy?

I love him at Givenchy! Riccardo for Givenchy was more feminine, more wearable for people my mom’s age — I prefer Riccardo for Burberry. But for Givenchy, I don’t think I ever bought a piece, but for Williams he has made it cooler, edgier, so much more fun, I love the colors and the textures. It gears more towards experimental fashion crowd people, [as opposed to] an older generation. 

Have you seen his signature sneaker? The Giv 1?

No, I haven’t seen this!

This could be quite fun then. What are your thoughts? — it’s chunky, it’s Matthew Williams. 

I don’t think it compares to the Nike sneakers he did. This one is more… It reminds me… I don’t know? Black with the clear green sole? The colors are throwing me off, I’m not a huge fan of the colors. It looks very confusing to me. There’s a really cool pair of heels that’s just popped up though with three toes, they’re quite cool! 

Speaking of other cool shoes — can I WhatsApp you? I’m waiting for this girl [Safa Sahin, Balmain Head of Sneaker Design] to make these, she does custom orders of shoes she makes. 

That’s a clear indication of where your taste level is at. With all of this in mind, how do you aim to continue exploring the footwear world?

What I like about sneakers is that there are so many ways people do their own takes on them. The ones I just sent you — Safa Sahin’s — I like to see fashion and shoes as art, the way designers express their creativity towards, and I like to see what is out there and all the crazy things people come up with. It’s so interesting and fascinating to me — that’s what I’ve loved about fashion since day one, all the different talents and craziness. 

Now finding a love for sneakers, are you going to keep investing in this or will it pass?

No, for sure. I would even buy a bunch and I won’t necessarily wear them often, but it’s become a thing that I want to collect. 

Have you succumbed to the hype?

I’m still excited. I don’t get over things, I just like to be on them — what’s coming out? What intrigues me?

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