Here’s a female sneakerhead you need to know–Sabrina Passuntino. At only 23 years old, Sabrina runs visual merch and building women’s sales in the Nike concept store and works as a stylist and designer on the side. Sabrina grew up around New York City’s downtown streetwear scene, which had a huge influence on her current style choices which include daily staples like unique sneakers, nail art, and gold jewelry. “They never come off,” jokes Sabrina. Keep reading to see which kicks and outfits she rocked this week.
Nike Air Python “Orange”
Mariana Mandanas: Kick game aside, your personal style really stands out–what’s your philosophy behind dressing up and what are you inspired by?
Sabrina Passuntino: My style is simplistic. I pay a lot of attention to the details and try to focus on one detail per outfit–hoops stay on and nail art is forever changing. I’ve always loved Gwen Stefani’s style, especially her nails. TLC always had a great spin on the “tomboy” look, with baggy pants and sports bras as tops–they were able to keep it crazy sexy cool. I never overdo color in my outfit, so I like to emphasize with jewelry, nail art, and the unique footwear.
MM: You currently work for Nike, but how’d you get involved in the city’s streetwear scene?
SP: I work at 21 Mercer doing sales, visual merch in-store, and help curate the women’s in-store business. I always paid a lot attention to what I wear on my feet. I grew around a bunch of streetwear creatives and artists, a lot of whom are family tight. So in that sense, I’ve always been inspired by the creativity, hustle, and networking in New York.
MM: Shoe that started it all for you?
SP: The shoe that started it off was the Nike Lunar Presto when I was in 8th grade. The simplistic design, soft materials, and candy pop colors had me wanting for more. From there, I started to appreciate the design and details in footwear. My older brother showed me stores like Nom De Guerre and Nort, which thankfully had smaller sizes for my petite feet. I started stopping by to see what was new on the shelves on a regular basis, even if it was just to look. Shoe stores in some way were like art galleries for me.
MM: You probably see tons of releases on a weekly basis, but what qualities really make you wanna go out of your way and purchase a shoe?
SP: I love versatile sneakers, limited colorways, silhouettes, premium leather and materials. Most recently the Flyknit design–take the Flyknit Racer for example, it’s a straight up fashion shoe. Performance yet sophisticated, you can wear anything with it.
MM: You’re born and raised in NYC, and I see you rocking a lot of streetwear brands based out of the city…which ones are your favorites?
SP: I have to say that Claw Money has had ladies’ streetwear on lock since the early 2000’s. Her designs are epic, from her “Girls Gone Wild” to her “Fuck Art Let’s Fuck” designs. I remember flipping my tanks inside out just to be able to sit in class in high school. Some others would have to be Only NY, the old stuff from aNYthing, Baron Von Fancy accessories, PegLeg NYC, and Procell on Delancey Street. I also love mixing in higher end fashion like Reformation and Opening Ceremony.
MM: You’re all about New York–what makes it such a great place fashion- and sneaker-wise?
SP: I get inspired every morning by taking different routes to work, just hoping to see something new. See, the thing about NYC is anything goes. No one is going to ask you “why?” They’ll either stare then glance away, or take a flick for Instagram. My style is very much like the NYC landscape. The cement and buildings are grey, black, white, and solid. It’s the people, signage, lights that add the life and character to the strong foundation.
Nike Free Inneva Woven “Navy”
MM: Current rotation of sneakers?
SP: For the amount of footwear I own, I actually have a small rotation. I’m on my feet all day, so the day’s shoe selection is more often than not based on comfort, but always style. You’ll find me wearing Nike Free Inneva, Flyknit Racer, leather woven Blazer, black leather women’s Air Maxim, and of course the Air Wovens.
MM: How about shoes you don’t break out enough?
SP: White Supreme Blazers, Black and Blue Jordan 1’s and the “SabPass” Nike AF1 bespoke I made.
MM: Shoes aside, what are your other go-to Nike pieces? Your daily uniform consists of sweatpants and you love the Destroyer jacket…
SP: Absolutely. I wait all year to break the Destroyer out, and the Nike Tech Sweatpant just wins all around. I wear a lot of Loopwheeler and FCRB too. These collaborations are hard to come by, but definitely worth the wait!
MM: Favorite shoe purchase from 2013? Something you regret sleeping on?
SP: Navy Blue Free Inneva is hands down my favorite best of choice for 2013. It’s got a low profile silhouette, fully woven with a Free bottom. Fashion meets function–and I wish I hadn’t slept on the APC AirMax 1’s.
MM: Do you have a favorite shoe of all time?
SP: With companies being so innovative these days, it’s hard to say. Something could come out next week that steals the show. I like most of the Nike running shoes. Although I’m not much of a runner I’m drawn to them because of the exquisite attention to detail, and I just love Free and Lunar soles.
MM: Are you ever not wearing sneakers?
SP: I mix it up. I love my combat boots, creepers, and have a lot of heels.
MM: Your side hustle is styling and designing clothing–could you tell me a little more about that?
SP: I’ve always been modifying clothing to make it work. I remember being a little kid and [getting] lots of hand me downs from my older brother. They wouldn’t always fit, so I taught myself how to sew. Fast forward [to today], and I’m still using the same techniques. A lot of the times clothing won’t fit me, or a style simply doesn’t exist yet. I take what I can work with and make it my own. People always ask me “Where’d you get that?” It’s not always a simple answer, because a lot of times I created, or modified an item. I don’t keep it a secret and I’m always helping out friends and brands with style advice.
MM: You’re only 23 years old and doing big things! What’s coming up for 2014?
SP: I’m working on a couple projects that I’m very excited about, but can’t mention quite yet. Stay tuned…
Photos by Randolph Graff. To keep up with Sabrina, check out her Instagram.