The reaction was instantaneous. Before we could even turn to the direction of his interest, his giant frame lurched forward in a calculated pace toward the intended target. Again, we were left behind in his wake, wondering among ourselves. This is what sneaker shopping with DJ Clark Kent (born Rodolfo Franklin) is like. It is similar to a hunt: brief moments of stillness punctuated with laser-like focus, but instead ended with transactions. His keen sense is uncanny, able to pick out a pair for his collection long before anyone else notices. We were always steps behind him.
Though second nature to him now, Kent had to take time to hone his skills. Long before the term “sneakerhead” came about, Kent had already amassed a collection in the hundreds. Today, his collection continues to grow, currently at some 2,400 pairs. And that is not counting his other interests, including New Era fitted caps and Casio G-Shock watches.
Like his namesake, Kent, in many ways, is also a guardian of the culture in which he was raised. He will never pass judgment on any design since he understands that, despite public conception, designing sneakers takes more effort and purpose than any outsider could imagine. He also looks beyond future pricing on limited edition or just a plain general releases. To him, it is the “emotional capital” that matters and that is how it should be for anyone who is an aficionado.
And so, in between these so-called “sneaker hunts” during a recent trip to Taiwan, we had the opportunity to talk with Kent about a variety of his interests, from music to his collections, and some of his most recent projects, including his ongoing involvement with Nike.
- Produced and Interviewed by: Dan Hwang | Transcribed by: Emily Chang