Big Eyes Little Soles Interview
If you look in the wardrobes of most people in the UK then they’re sure to own at least one pair of sneakers, even if they were originally purchased for use at the gym and never made it out the box. Sneakers are the staple footwear for any rave enthusiast but they also gained a community of bloggers and collectors who splash the cash every pay day on a new addition.
Over the past year, the Big Eyes Little Soles blog has been reporting on sneakers, drawing contributors and fans from all over the world. I caught up with the founder, Yanina Fish, to ask her a few questions and to find out just how many pairs of kicks she owns…
It’s refreshing to see girls blogging about something that is stereotypically written about by guys. Where did it all begin?
It all began when I finished university and needed something to do in my spare time. I had loads of sneakers and thought what better than to blog about my love for kicks.
Blogs are perceived to be more along the lines of citizen journalism than a serious form of journalism. Although this may have applied in the early stages of Big Eyes, how do you view the site now?
I really think young people, brands, PR agencies and many other types of people and businesses look to blogs and online magazines rather than broadsheets and newspapers to see what people want and are into at any given time. This is because we have free reign to write what we want on the blog and will express our true unbiased feelings.
There’s an interesting story behind the logo. Tell us a little more.
I wanted a logo that was something memorable, and wanted to put my take on something already well known. I was sitting in a bar with my boyfriend drawing potential logos on the back of beer mats and we came up with the pyramid from the dollar bill. The bricks are the old Nike sneaker boxes, the eye is blue like mine and the sneakers are AM90 Infrareds (my grails at the time).
There are plenty of female bloggers but why do you think there are so few writing about sneakers? You’ve said previously that you managed to fill a void in the market.
There are definitely quite a few female bloggers writing about sneakers. However, there aren’t that many in the UK, with the majority based in the US. I think Big Eyes is a place where both male and female sneaker fiends can go to see what we’re loving /wearing right now. We aren’t girlie girls but we give our female perspective on sneakers, street wear, music and whatever else we write about.
The site also incorporates music and fashion and there’s a big emphasis on fan interaction where you encourage people to send in pictures from their own collection. Was this a natural progression and do you think these things are somewhat linked to one another?
I’ve always been into music and clothes. I wouldn’t say I’m fashion conscious but I’ve always pretty much worn whatever I like, not what’s ‘on trend’, so I don’t think it was a progression writing about music and fashion, It started with me babbling about what I was buying and listening to…
With the fan interaction, something I feel is very important is hearing what the people reading Big Eyes have to say. I want to see what the readers are rocking and featuring them on the blog shows them we care about them and want to see their collections. It’s also really interesting and exciting to see what kicks people have (a lot of the time, they’re ones I really want!).
How have social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter contributed to the site? In what ways have they been useful?
Facebook and Twitter help us create more of an intimate conversation with our readers. These platforms are also how we’ve connected with sneaker blogs and female sneaker fiends across the globe.
What has been the highlight of your blogging career so far in terms of interviews and recognition?
Probably being featured alongside Crooked Tongues in the Guardian article about top 5 sneaker blogs. Also, all the interviews we’ve done with DJs, MC’s and sneaker lovers have been highlights and watch this space, we’ve got SO many more to come!
Why do you think the site has had so much impact in sneaker circles?
I just think the site is a place where people can honestly read what we’re feeling and get sneaker inspiration or find new kicks that they’re looking for.
So you’ve expanded the wealth of writers by recruiting journos from all over, how has their contribution been beneficial to the site?
Each of our writers brings something different, from fashion knowledge to music to art; collectively we’ve now got so much more than just our love for sneakers to talk about.
Has anyone written something on a pair of kicks that you personally thought were a fashion disaster?
No, I’ve been pretty happy with everything that’s been blogged so far!
What has been your favourite pair that have been featured?
That’s a tough question, I don’t think I have one. If I had to really pick, it would probably be the all grey Tn’s – only because I can’t get them anymore and they were my favourite pair as a kid.
Working full time, how do you manage to fit writing around your schedule?
Sometimes it’s really difficult, but I always have time to take an hour or so a day to post something on Big Eyes. Also with the help of my regular contributors, I’m pretty much covered if I can’t get something live that day.
If you had any advice for someone thinking about starting a blog of any kind, what would it be?
Write about what you’re feeling. Don’t worry too much about writing what you think people will want to read, use it as a space to talk about something you’re passionate about.
Did you have any idea that Big Eyes would take off in the way that it has?
No idea at all. It started as just a space for me to babble about my sneakers.
What has been your best purchase and why?
Either my 1994 Huarache’s or 2002 Air Max 95s… just because they’re so beautiful!
Similarly, what has been your worst purchase and why?
I bought a pair of mustard vintage blazers, wore them once and haven’t worn them again, they’re just not for me, also they’re a 4 and I’m a 3.. so they’re too big! They’re a really nice shoe but they’ll look better on someone else!
How many pairs do you own? I dread to think how much money you’ve spent over the years!
I think, at the moment, I’ve got about 50 pairs. I don’t have a massive collection because I tend to sell pairs and then replace them with different ones. Also, it’s hard to find sneakers in my size that aren’t just any random shoe. I like to only buy kicks that I know I’ll wear.
When I was moving flat, we had to organise our house insurance and between us we’ve got too many pairs of sneakers so it was when I had to calculate what they were all worth that I realised how much I’ve spent over the years. It’s a lot.
Sneakers tend to have quite a large cult following. Tell us more about the sneaker scene.
I think the sneaker scene is what it is. Some people search high and low for one pair of kicks that they really want and some people just buy what they like. It doesn’t matter which way you go about it, if you love sneakers, you’ve got something in common with the Big Eyes fam.
Do you have any plans for a further expansion and development of the site?
We’ve just had a site re-design with advertising space; we’ve made it look a lot cleaner. I love it. Still a few tweaks left to sort out, but we’re almost there.
Where would you say is the best place to buy kicks, even for the smallest of feet?
I would say eBay, online sneaker stores like Crooked Tongues or Titolo, or on your high street. It’s really easy to find small sized sneakers if you look hard enough.
And finally, is there anything else you’d care to mention?
I just want to say thank you to everyone that has been involved in the blog over the past 12 months, the writers and contributors and an especially big thank you to the readers. I’ve had so much fun so far and can’t wait to see what happens next.
Interview by Joanna Ranson