When the subject of the “Middle East” comes up, most think about the ongoing conflict between neighboring countries and religious wars. In Western media, the portrayal of the Middle East hasn’t been the best either as they continuously paint a negative picture for the world to see.
However, there are a few things you probably wouldn’t expect in a place like the Middle East, like individuals who have found their passion for sneakers and influence the masses via Social Media.
Tareq Q (@KicksTQ), a local sneakerhead from Kuwait, explains how his passion for sneakers started and goes into the Rise of the sneaker culture in the Arab world.
TQ: “There’s a group of us who grew up listening to hip hop and playing basketball who are heavy into the the sneaker culture. Because of the lack of real sneaker shops, the majority of the true heads have to buy sneakers online and when we travel.”
When did You get into Sneakers?
TQ: “Since elementary school. I remember most of the other kids were into building their Tamiya and Kyoto remote control cars, I just wanted a pair of new Reebok pumps that I saw at one of our only sports stores in a mall called Al-Muthana.”
Kuwait was a pretty bad place in the early 90’s because of the Gulf War. How did you stay in touch with Pop Culture and Basketball?
TQ: “During the Gulf War, my family moved to Singapore. Being out there allowed me to keep in touch with the culture. Singapore was where I was first introduced to the game of basketball and of course- Michael Jordan. My love for basketball is what propelled my interest and eventual passion for sneakers.
When did you start collecting / buying Sneakers
TQ: “My collection started to get serious around 2003/2004. With the rise of the Internet and the culture in general, I was able to cop online. The retros that I wore growing up as a kid started to return and become more accessible. I’ve been an avid collector ever since- buying most of my sneakers when I travel and online.”
How’s the movement going? Do you see the culture becoming a popular trend in Kuwait?
TQ: “Kuwait and the regional (Middle East) movement is not quite there yet but it’s well on its way. There are certain groups and Sneakerheads in the region who are helping with the movement such as @supersoulxxx based in Kuwait and @soledxb based in Dubai.”
Do You feel like you played a part in the movement?
TQ: “I personally felt like it was my duty to put Kuwait and Arabia on the map! I hope I’ve helped with that by starting @kickstq”
Follow KicksTQ and check out his insane Sneaker Collection on Instagram.