About a month ago, I stopped by St. Alfred in Chicago and happened to catch the man behind the STA/Kicks Hi establishment. Ian Ginoza, a Hawaiian native who introduced Chicago to an independent boutique that made its mark as one of the most well-known sneaker spots in Chicago.
However, behind every prestigious establishment is a story. Some in Chicago can’t talk about the sneaker culture and its long term development compared to other cities without mentioning St. Alfred.
Rest of the interview after the jump!
I interviewed Ian and asked why he chose Chicago as the home for the STA establishment.
“I chose Chicago because we were sending a lot of mail orders here; and there were a lot of people that wanted to get things that they couldn’t get in the city. So eventually, my manager came to me and said that we were getting a lot of buzz in Chicago. I would ask one of my friends who went to school out here, “Why don’t you guys buy the product that is being mailed out to Chicago?” He said “what people were looking for was not here” and that really tripped me out because Chicago is so big and I consider it a major market even though some entities don’t. So, I just really fell in love with the city because Chicago has a style of its own. Even though the proximity to New York is close, they’re not trying to be like New York. And everyone knows that the music is crushing it out here and music and fashion go hand in hand. So, it was a big part of me to choose Chicago as apposed to other territories.”
Most of us wonder what St. Alfred was when we first heard of it. Some even thought it was a religious establishment. However, Ian broke down the true meaning of St. Alfred.
“I wanted to give St. Alfred a holier than thou [feel]. Not from a snobby sense, but some real premium shit and just put premium on it; I wanted it to be some dope, high end shit as well. But the name was also a play on religion and it was like St. Alfred’s here to save your sole and what I mean by sole I mean your foot game and that’s really what it is. Everything from the design standpoint, we tried to keep real classy”
For the sneaker heads coming to Chicago for vacation, make sure you stop by St. Alfred and cop the latest dope kicks and gear.
– Oscar Castillo aka Wreckinkickz
Links and Addresses:
1531 N Milwaukee Ave Chicago, IL