Air Max Day with Nick Hughes

We caught up with Nick Hughes, General Manager at Keoma

on his nostalgic Air Max memories and the community that inspires him. 

Tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Nick Hughes, I’m originally from the North of England. After emigrating in 2012, I live in Melbourne with my wife Emily and two Toy Poodles Bronson & Otōto. I run a distribution and retail business called Keoma, based out of Fitzroy. I look after brands like Malibu Sandals, Kings Of Indigo, Uskees & EKN, as well as being the retail partner for Freitag in Australia. I also run an AirBnB on the top floor above Keoma store so you can stay right in the heart of Brunswick street and have everything Fitzroy has to offer.

What influences you to create or develop your ideas? 

I suppose everything around me does. I try to create a nice environment for myself and the people I surround myself with. Doing fun projects and collaborations is a great way of connecting with people and building relationships. At Keoma I’ve got a great team and I really love what I do because of them. As a result, I’m always inspired to do more.

If you weren't working in fashion what would you be doing? 

That’s a tough one, I’ve worked in and around retail since I was 14 so don’t really know anything else. I suppose I love food and drinks almost as much as I love clothes and shoes. Eating together is one of my favourite shared experiences so possibly something in hospitality. I’m not sure in what capacity because although I love cooking I'm terrible at sticking to a recipe. Either that or a dog walker, I’m happiest when I’m out walking with my boys.

All time favourite Air Max 1 release?

It’s a toss up between two of my favourites that I’ve owned. The Atmos beast pack from 2006 or the Patta Chyoraphyl from 2009, I got a couple of pairs of those when they came out. A pair I’ve never owned, but always wanted was the Kid Robots from 2005. My favourite pair in my current rotation is the Denham The Jeanmaker collaboration from 2020. When they came out Jason Denham sent me all 4 pairs so they’re pretty special to me.

Why do you think Air Max Day is important to the community? 

Air Max Day is a fun way of connecting with like minded people in the community. Back in the days when collecting trainers wasn’t so widespread, I used to be on the Crooked Tongues forum, so the annual CTBBQ was a highlight of the year. Meeting up with all of my online mates and talking about trainers over a couple of drinks. Air Max Day is like that on steroids!

What appeals about the Air Max 86's big bubble?

 It’s like the genesis, the beginning of all Air Max. The 87 is arguably Tinker’s most iconic silhouette and the Big Bubble is the shoe before that shoe, where the start of exposed air all began. The OG red colourway is a classic for a reason. They’ll never go out of style and can be styled with anything.

What local brands should we support? 

Twin Fin Addict Club & Nāmaka. I love stolen surf valour, so I wear T.F.A.C. a lot. Recently when I launched Malibu sandals at Up There Store, I wanted Kaito, the Twin Fin founder involved. His love of surfing & vintage menswear feels so authentic, and it shows through his clothes, and I think that translated into the content we made together. Nāmaka is my wife’s jewellery brand, so I’ve got at least one piece on at all times and always get complimented on it. We sell it in Keoma store and it’s always nice to see the joy it sparks in customers when they’re buying a piece.

If Bronson and Ototo became influencers/ ambassadors, what brands would they wear? 

I’ve had to resign to the fact that they both hate wearing clothes. Over the years we’ve bought them so many cute things, my favourites are either a camo raincoat we found in Japan, or some Buddy Lee overalls Bronson was given by a friend. In reality, they only really stay on long enough to take a picture. The most I can get them to wear is a Kapital bandana I cut in half so it’s small enough for them. When they’re not with me at Keoma, they’re in my Emily’s Nāmaka studio so they’re already pretty good brand ambassadors for that. Maybe next year for Air Max Day Incu could get them some teenie tiny toy poodle trainers!

Photography by Joseph Blair