Whenever you meet someone with an insane shoe collection, you can’t help but wonder what their story is. Modern Notoriety originally met with Edouard Canlas, the man behind CLAVEL Magazine and a fixture in the Asian sneaker scene, for a Week in the Feet feature, but his story (and his collection) was too dope to squeeze into seven days. “Dr. Edouard Canlas,” as he’s sometimes called, gave Modern Notoriety the keys to just one of his storage rooms, and we found nothing but that good good. The most surprising thing we learned? The man with over 1,500 pairs of shoes still prefers his Chucks on any given day.
Mariana Mandanas: What was the shoe that started it for you?
Edouard Canlas: Chuck Taylors. I’m wearing the Converse Chuck 70’s right now. They’re a very special pair and pretty hard to find.
MM: At what point in time did your collection get so out of control?
EC: Well, back in college–around 1997–I already had more than 70 pairs on rotation. I was an engineering student back then, and I would raid the Nike warehouse with one of my good friends who’s now a top DJ in Manila, DJ Aryan. It was the Mondragon outlet. We would hit up that spot and Fairex, the clearance door for this shoe store called My Shoe Rack. Fortunately, I had a lot of money to spend as a student cause I earned from buying and selling scrap iron with the money I earned as a middleman from another hustle [laughs]. I would buy mostly Reeboks, and by the time college was over I had more than 150 pairs.
MM: Do you still have those shoes today?
EC: Nah, I ended up giving most of them away to friends who played basketball.
MM: What kind of shoes are you into right now? How has your taste changed over time?
EC: Still into the same old shit–whatever is rare to the eyes and I love odd colorways. After 15 years, I’m still buying Chuck Taylors. I did have a Visvim phase three years ago and I still have some on ice, if you know what I mean.
MM: When I first hit Manila, a lot of people told me that I should talk to you if I wanted to meet a guy who was serious about sneakers. Where’d that rap come from and what’s your role in the sneaker community here?
EC: My place in the sneaker community? Well, I’m not it’s originator–lots have been here before me, but I would like to say I put my money where my mouth is by starting [the sneaker magazine] CLAVEL. I’d like to say I helped a lot in putting it out there. My thoughts became the catalyst for the explosion to make sneaker culture awareness bigger in the Philippines. Right now, CLAVEL is the only niche market magazine that is distributed outside Metro Manila.
MM: You also own a streetwear brand called Progress that’s been making waves lately…
EC: Yeah, Progress is a different story. It’s a clothing brand I own with my good friends Bino Manese and Edmund Mallari, and it’s definitely something to watch out for.
[Editor’s Note: Progress also has a flagship store in Quezon City, Manila where shoes from New Balance and Converse are sold in addition to the brand itself.]
MM: What’s in your current rotation?
EC: Anything New Balance, adidas, and Converse Chucks. No Nikes at the moment. I’m saving my Dunks for next year.
MM: No Jordans?
EC: I have less than 15 pairs of J’s. 1’s, 3’s, 6’s, and a pair of baby 11’s.
MM: That’s surprising, especially if you come from a sneaker culture with really strong ties to basketball…
EC: Well, I don’t buy basketball shoes anymore because I can’t play basketball no more. Buying basketball shoes reminds me that I can’t touch the ring [laughs]. But Manila’s sneaker culture is really big right now. It’s so big that everyone who wants in on it thinks that by just wearing J’s, they become an instant hardcore sneakerhead. That’s how big it is now. I love it. Because I know the silliness will stop as everyone goes deeper into the culture. I don’t think anything is necessarily missing, I think everything is already here. The rarities that everyone wants are supplied by resellers and the essentials that everyone can rock daily and buy at retail cost are available in places like Titan, Sole Academy, Crate, and Progress.
MM: How many pairs are you at right now?
EC: Right now, I have the largest variation in the Philippines. I should know, right? My collection right now is at over 1,500 and made up of different brands, mostly New Balance, Nike, and adidas.
MM: Which pairs would you consider highlights from your collection?
EC: The entire City Dunk Series in my size–Paris, Pigeon [New York], London, and Tokyo–I actually have three pairs of the Pigeon Dunks. All the hot Asian exclusives from 2004 to 2007. I have a pretty deep Air Max 1 collection, too. I’ve got an embroidered Parra Air Max that I happily destroyed.
MM: What don’t you break out enough?
EC: My camo Ato Matsumoto joints.
MM: Craziest thing you’ve done for a pair of sneakers?
EC: I went around the world and timed it for the Ben Durry AM1 release. I went to London, LA, New York, Montreal, Hong Kong, then back to Manila. Guess where I found the shoes…
MM: Ha, I don’t even want to know. You were in a New Balance lookbook once, how’d you get involved in that?
EC: New Balance Southeast Asia loves me very much, that’s how. Hi Eugene!
MM: I noticed that you ride your bike a lot. What’s the perfect bike riding shoe?
EC: Yeah, I do ride my bike a lot–I lost over 100 pounds in a year just riding! Can you believe that?! But shoes…I like my NB1300JP in light grey.
MM: What influences your personal style?
EC: I am deeply influenced by The Beatles.
MM: The year is about to wrap up, so what’s next on your plate?
EC: I’m producing for two local bands right now, and working on some independent movies. I’m also in cahoots with BLACK MARKET, a club here that a lot of people are talking about. I think I’ll continue doing stuff like that.