Armand Maulana and the Travis Scott x fragment design x Air Jordan 1 for Hypebeast's Sole Mates

The Indonesian rock star discusses his love of the Air Jordan 1, getting his bandmates into sneakers and his sneaker collecting “rules.”

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Armand Maulana, frontman of Indonesian rock band Gigi, has been performing on stage for almost 30 years now — and when he does so, it’s always in a fresh pair of sneakers. In the ’90s, he was known for his love of adidas, especially the Superstar. Then, when Kobe Bryant began the new millennium with his infamous The Kobe [now known as the Crazy 1], Maulana fell head-over-heels for the Audi TT-inspired design, even telling Hypebeast that the sneaker “gave me so much energy” when he was on stage. Now, he’s more of a Nike and Jordan Brand man, his silhouette of choice is the Air Jordan 1 and his favorite iteration of that silhouette is a high-heat collaboration: the Travis Scott x fragment design x Air Jordan 1.

Maulana has a plethora of thoughts on sneakers, sneaker history and sneaker culture, and, in recent years, has become more open to sharing his love of sneakers and having his collection spotlighted — when in the past he largely kept his thoughts on sneaker culture to himself. Now, however, he won’t pass up an opportunity to discuss his biggest love outside of music. “You could say I’m a bit of a sneaker fanatic,” he says with a laugh. “I think the sneakers I collect must be unique in some way, shape or form.”

Who or what got you into sneakers?

I wouldn’t say there was any real outside influence, not even my friends or family. I’ve just always really liked sneakers. I can’t recall a time when I didn’t.

What was the first memorable pair you owned?

It was a pair of adidas. The black and white The Kobe. I’d always wear them to gigs because they were amazing performing shoes. I’m in my 50s now and still running around on stage, so imagine my energy when I was in my 20s! Those shoes just gave me so much energy. I’d want to sing for hours and do shows every day when I had them on. Besides that, the shape is cool too.

You’ve been into sneakers for quite a while now. What are some of the biggest developments you’ve seen in sneaker culture over the past few decades?

Honestly, it’s how much more comfortable most sneakers are. In the past, there were a lot of pairs that looked great but were not nice at all to actually wear. Nike and adidas have really dialed in the fit and comfort of their shoes. The size of sneaker culture has just become so big too. Even high-end fashion brands like Gucci have models that are specifically aimed at sneakerheads.

You first got into sneakers back in the ’90s. What were you rocking back then?

A lot of Superstars. I’ve always loved the silhouette, and wore it religiously through the ’90s and into the early ’00s. It’s cool to see how many collaborations have occurred since then.

For your installment of Sole Mates, you selected the Travis Scott x Fragment Design x Air Jordan 1. What about them speaks to you?

A few things. First off, I love how premium all the materials are. The leather is better than the leather you see on most other Air Jordan 1s. I love that the shoe is a collaboration with fragment design and is literally “fragmented” because it has Travis Scott’s signature backwards Swoosh. The color scheme is great too, and I find these to be extremely comfortable.

What are your five favorite pairs of Air Jordan 1s in your collection?

Well, #1 has to be the Travis Scott x fragment design x Air Jordan 1, of course. Second, I’d say the Off-White™ x Air Jordan 1 “University Blue.” Third, the original Travis Scott x Air Jordan 1. Fourth, the Travis Scott x fragment design x Air Jordan 1 Low. And last but not least, the UNION x Air Jordan 1 “Black Toe.”

Do you have any personal rules for collecting sneakers?

I think the sneakers I collect have to unique in some way, shape or form. I’ve been collecting long enough that I don’t have to raffle for anything any more — if a shop gets a pair I want, I can just buy it — but no matter how hot the latest drop is, if I don’t think it’s unique somehow I won’t buy it.

What have you learned over the course of your sneaker collecting journey?

I used to just buy as many sneakers as I could because I thought they were all cool. Eventually, though, I found myself coming back to the same pairs pretty frequently. I don’t want to name the exact shoe, but one time during the height of my buying craze I wore a very rare and expensive pair that I hadn’t touched for over a year. We were shooting something with the band, and mid-shoot the sole just fell off. That was a lesson learned: when you’re buying like that you don’t even have time to wear what you have. Now, I’m paying more attention to what I need in my collection and looking for different things instead of getitng 4-5 pairs that are nearly identical.

Are your bandmates into sneakers? If so, do you think it’s because of you?

I’m a bit of a sneaker fanatic, of course, so yes, I think I’ve gotten some of my bandmates interested just by association [laughs]. [Gusti] Hendy and [Thomas] Ramdhan have become really interested recently, but [Dewa] Budjana doesn’t really care about sneakers that much — though I think he’s starting to now.


This installment of Sole Mates is a condensed transcription and translation of an original article from Hypebeast Indonesia, which was first written in Indonesian and was translated using Google Translate.

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