Kadir Warriors x SBTG – Custom Vans Collection (Exclusive Interview & First Look!)

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There’s a certain kind of awesomeness that comes with owning and operating Under The Palms. Who’d have ever thought that I’d be able to rub elbows with sneaker advocates like Mr. Sabotage himself, Mark Ong. In the short amount of time that we’ve gotten to know each other, he’s been a tremendous inspiration for me. He’s been in my shoes before. Arriving at a few crossroads, deciding if he should move on to other things, or rekindle the fire which was slowly starting to fade out for various reasons. As he got back into sneaker customizing, he started dabbling more into Vans, and while doing so, through Instagram and the Strictly Vans Facebook Group, he came across an old friend, Faisal, who is one of our more familiar Singapore sneaker friends, who is part of the group of cousins that go by the name “Kadir Warriors”. You may have seen a few of their members share their photos with us, and it’s no surprise that they are the unofficial Vans ambassadors of Singapore. SBTG and Faisal have known each other since the late 90s, back when they were very into vintage clothing and sneakers, and used to hang out at a mutual friend’s store named Vintage Closet in Far East Plaza. After Mark and Faisal got to talking, they both realized that their interest in this emerging Vans scene in Singapore, sort of stemmed from their love for “Vintage Japanese Americana style”. Soon after that, Mark learned about Faisal’s family, and their Kadir Warrior brotherhood, and their strong family bond. They plan out mini family reunions every so often, and their #KadirWarriors campaign keeps them all in the loop with one another. This interaction struck a chord with Mark, and reminded him of the phrase on old vintage Vans boxes, “Canvas Shoes for the Entire Family”. That is what inspired him to create a project with the Kadir Warriors. He felt that the project really encapsulates the spirit of Vans back in the day where they would customize shoes for their customers, and also capture the spirit of family.

Those factors made him pitch this idea to Faisal, and after many conversations they finalized on re-appropriating an old Vans print (spiderweb) in the spirit of the love for Vintage, adding a short for Kadir Warriors logo, as KWAR, and their signature hand sign in Bone form. They chose this print as the spiderweb was a reminder of their bond as a family.

They initially agreed on 2-3 pairs, but ended up doing 10 pairs, and even 2 T-shirt designs. Almost every pair is different in terms of pattern placement and silhouette, so each pair is essentially one-of-a-kind. Sad to say, this is a private collection, and I doubt any one of them will be selling their pairs. Sabotage is awesome for doing this for the Kadir Warriors, and I hope to see more projects like this in the future. Mark also was able to set up an interview for us, which I have prepared for you all, so that you can all get to know our friends from Singapore a little bit better. I hope you enjoy it, and feel free to kiss my ass if you don’t! Haha!

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Read the interview and see tons more pics after the jump

 

Kadir Warriors Interview

Who are the Kadir Warriors, and how many of there are you?

Kadir is our beloved late grandfather’s name. Warrior represents the big boys in the family. A group of Cousins who share the same interest – that is collecting shoes. Love for the shoes and the brand – Vans!

The cousins are:

Faisal (me) – @cacal

Fariz – @f.a.r.i.z

Munaji – @munajipenn

Humaidy – @humaidyspud

Saidun – @eeeedun

Mahyuddin – @deediinnn

Rino- @mamatsinot

Ridian – @ianparnama

Danial – @nanel_

Hamzy – @hamzy01

Hadi – @bullragas

Who were the first members to start collecting Vans in your group, and how long ago was this? 

It would be my brother, Fariz and I, as we had a small collection going since school days which was like 15 years ago. Vans were limited and hard to get in Singapore at that time. I still have one of my very old Vans Co.Jp Sk8 Hi’s in my closet that I recently posted on Instagram.

Nice. You’ve been doing this for awhile then. Where were you guys getting all of your kicks from earlier on? 

In the past it would be Vintage Closet (currently Leftfoot) and ‘proxy’ from my uncle who is a flight steward. He would get stuff/shoes for us when we couldn’t get it here and he still does til’ today.

I’ve definitely done my fair share of being a proxy for friends. Like most of us, did you start out buying other brands before being turned on to Vans?

Previously my dad had worked for Nike since he was a teenager. He would shower us with Nikes ever since I was born. Perhaps that’s where we had that sneaker thing in us.

That’s pretty special. Especially working for Nike around that time, when they were becoming the leader in sneakers. Awesome. We notice that a lot of the guys who have larger stockpiles of shoes, tend to have a dedicated proxy here in the United States.  Is that a major factor in how you guys get the new releases now days?

Yes. Some of us even have our own personal proxy friends. Big shout-outs to every single one of them that have helped us through the years!

Singapore Vans collectors have been a big part of the Vans movement overseas, and are one of the most passionate, hyped up groups of people.  Where do you think this energy comes from?

It’s the vibes that came from the common interests that us Kadirwarriors share, and with each release, it becomes a hot issue to discuss and share our opinions that bring us closer together.

What? You mean you guys actually MEET UP to talk about sneakers? Mindblown. Just kidding! When I started OTWS, and later Under The Palms, I never thought that my passion of sneakers would connect me to people across the Pacific Ocean in foreign countries, who surprisingly spoke my language, and were interested in the same stuff that I was, mainly sneakers, and more specifically Vans.  What is your take on that?

In Singapore we use the slang “Power ah!!” meaning “Awesome!!”.  With Under The Palms it unites the Vans Community worldwide, now adding to that,the Strictly Vans Group on Facebook. Kudos to you and Eddie.

I can’t show enough praise for Strictly Vans. They’re the reason for me being active on my Facebook account again. I wanted to touch on a fact that Singapore is primarily a Muslim country, right? Forgive my ignorance, and feel free to correct me if I am wrong! 

Correction. It’s actually a multi-racial/religion country.

Kadirwarriors are Malay and our religion is Islam.

I think it’s awesome that our generation and possibly the ones after us are able to interact with each other on a personal level, through shared common interests, even if we don’t understand each other’s cultures.  That helps us understand how much we are alike, no matter our race, religion, ethnicity, etc.  Sneakers (and social media) bring the world together!

When did you guys meet Singapore’s most influential to the sneaker world, and longtime friend Mark Ong aka Sabotage?  How did that come about? 

I met Mark when I was 15-16 years old. I used to hang out at our friend’s shop Vintage Closet. Back in the days, we were influenced by the Japanese vintage style. Vintage tees, jeans and sneakers.

It’s a timeless style. Explain this upcoming collaboration that you guys are working on.  What is the inspiration for this project? 

It represents a long time friendship. Vintage style = Vintage Vans with a SBTG interpretive style.

He explained that in more detail, on the introduction to this interview. Has Mark also told you how his style is heavily influenced by the cult classic movie Apocalypse Now? I admitted to him that I had never seen it before, and he then went on to talk all about it, and soon after that conversation, I was watching it on Netflix.  I love me a good war movie! 

Me neither. I will go watch it then!

Alright, the next questions are for every one of you guys.  I want an answer from every Kadir Warrior!  

What Vans sneaker do you find yourself wearing the most right now? 

After discussing.. We all voted for the Vans Authentic, which most of us wear. It is slim and comfy, and has the sort of styling preference that goes well with our daily style.

Yeah, I find myself wearing Old Skools, Eras, and other low tops as I get older. Comfort over everything! Okay, switching it up now. I’ve never had Singaporean food, what should I order if I get the chance? 

There’s so many to choose!! I will let u try my personal favorite.  Barbeque Stingray and Black Pepper Crab.

Both dishes pack a strong flavor. You should come visit. We will be glad to show you around!

Wow, I am curious about the stingray. Syndicate or Vault?

Past syndicate is better..currently Vault is doing so good. Anyways, we love both as we love all Vans.

Yeah, I agree. Syndicate has been turning into more of a “boys club” lately, and the releases seem to be catering to the person who got to design that particular shoe, rather than trying to find that balance of pleasing the public who is buying it. Save that narrow-minded stuff for Supreme and skateshop collabs.

Alright, enough silly questions for now!  Well, I want to congratulate you all on this awesome collaboration with your old friend Mark Ong aka SBTG.  Keep up the passion for Vans, and I promise to hold up my end of the bargain by showcasing all of your awesome Vans sneakers via my social media outlets.  I think you guys are awesome.  You definitely help spread the Vans sneaker culture in Singapore, and you guys should definitely be recognized for it.  If you guys make some shirts, don’t forget a black 3XL for me!  I’m Paypal ready, lol!

Definitely!!