Story time.

Inside the closet of 23-year-old collector Annika Matheis who believes every shoe has a story.

Rows of sneakers, streetwear for days, and an amazing airbrushed 'self-portrait' sweatshirt (complete with vintage Air Max 1) all point to the closet of Annika Matheis. Annika, who calls Saarland, Germany home, lives right on the German/French border and - undoubtedly - has quite a few stories to tell.

While the small town native’s Instagram hints that she has a closet full of drool-worthy sneakers, we were blown away by the simplicity of the pieces she stocked. And, we were appeciative of the versatility. Matheis’ obsession with sneaker culture and streetwear started as a teenager—she bought her first pair (an Air Max 1 that was two sizes too big) when she was 16, and even landed herself a hobby that proved to be beneficial to showcasing her love of sneakers: photography.

Since then, she’s fully immersed herself in euro streetwear culture. We chatted about all of this as she showcased boxes of Boost, color coordinated rows, a ladder (!!!) she uses to stock her shoes and, most importantly, the stories behind some of her favorite pairs.

Small Towns = Big Personalities

"I grew up in a village next to a town. So we could say that I’m a country girl. So, sneakers and streetstyle are not a lot of people’s business here. We have a city only 20 minutes away, Saarbrücken, but it is, compared to other cities in Germany, really small. There are some cool local sneaker stores and some bigger stores such as Footlocker. Most of them sell sneakers with a more common look, nothing special or hyped. So, I buy the majority of my kicks online.

Just because there are no big stores in my region, it doesn’t mean that there is no style. I love my region. I think it’s just harder to get in touch with bigger brands and their style without buying online or travelling to bigger cities. But, this is actually a nice chance to create your own style."

Color Coordinate, y'all.

"There are two different styles in my sneaker closet. On one side, I like all black and all white sneakers, and on the other side, I love really colorful and chunky sneakers. It depends on my mood."

What Makes a Good Closet? Stories.

"There should be a good mix between easy and special shoes. I’m not into the hype at all. For me, the story behind the shoe is important. All of my sneakers have one. It can be the inspiration behind the colorways the brands came up with, or stories I created my own such as different memories I link to the shoe or the moments I bought them.

To give you some examples: In 2014 I bought the Asics Gel Lyte V in the Brazil colorway. 2014 was the year of the soccer world cup in Brazil. I got my pair before the start of the world cup and at the end, Germany won. I also have a book about the world cup standing next to the shoe in my closet. So my closet is like a little museum and I could tell stories about almost every pair. One more: I bought the Air Max 1 Ultra Lotc Paris. The colors are gold and turquoise. I bought it because it reminds me of princess Jasmine from Aladdin."

ON THE KEY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EUROPE AND THE US IN STREETWEAR AND SNEAKER CULTURE

"I think streetstyle in Europe gets a lot of inspiration from the US. There are no huge differences. Describing a european sneakerhead: hyped shoes, expensive brands and big glasses for boys, and the girls get more and more into wearing 90s unisex clothes. I see this a lot at the moment. In the US, I think boys dress more sporty and girls more feminine. But this is just how I see it. I like both styles."

ON HER PERSONAL STYLE

"Simple and comfortable. I like basic shirts and some cool jackets or jeans. I like to wear my hair really long and curly and I only need cool sneakers and some gold jewellery. I like my shoes or hair to be the eyecatcher."

Respect The Shooter

"I think before we had Instagram, there were mostly product photos of sneakers with a white background. Through social media, sneaker photos developed to a kind of art. When I see a certain pair of sneakers, there’s already a new photo idea coming to my mind. I like it. I’m also a big fan of pages or stores that use content of bloggers or photographers for their feed to promote the shoes they sell. It’s a cool way to work together and I feel really proud and happy when this happens to my own photos. It feels like christmas or a nice present, if you know what I mean. It’s a motivation and I always try to make it better."

ANNIKA'S CURRENT ROTATION IN 3...2...1...

"It’s difficult to pick some favorite pairs. It changes a lot. But I love my Air Force 1 and my Air Max 270 and my Adidas Ultra Boost. They are perfect for summertime...I just recognized that I am really into white sneakers at the moment."

DEFINING SNEAKHER CULTURE: ANNIKA EDITION

The sneaker community is clearly dominated by men. So for me, SneakHER culture is really important. I love to see how girls get more and more into the sneaker game and support each other. And the male sneakerheads are really supportive. That’s what we need! :)

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