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SELECT Collections: Depeche23Mode

August 21, 2013by Aaron Kr.
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4.50 / 5 2 VOTES

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As much as you may love sneakers, if you’re at it long enough, eventually most collectors/enthusiasts get to a point where those shoeboxes are simply taking up too much space, leaving them to face the harsh realization that it may be time to trim some of the fat. After two decades of passionately collecting sneakers and successfully tracking down and acquiring some of the rarest and most coveted shoes you can dream of, imagine whittling it all down to only 20 or so of your favorite pairs. For Simon Tan, better known in sneaker circles as Depeche23Mode, that drastic decision was actually put into effect as he has sold off the bulk of his mouthwatering collection multiple times over the years, now holding on to only a small, but still quite impressive portion of his once mighty sneaker arsenal.

Best recognized for his frequent jaw-dropping eBay auctions, Simon has regularly managed to get his hands on some of the craziest samples, PE’s and promo pairs the game has ever seen. In general, those deemed as resellers may get a bad rap nowadays, but face facts – if you have valuable shoes in your collection that you know you’re never going to wear, after a while is it really that crazy to want to make some money off of them rather than have the boxes collect dust in your house? And better yet, what if you took the proceeds from the sales and put them towards purchasing your grails? For Simon, it made perfect sense for him and that’s all that really matters. More heat has come and gone through his collection than most “sneakerheads” will ever get close to in a lifetime, and even though the numbers have been thinned

considerably, what he’s held onto can still go pound for pound with nearly anybody.

While he may not be currently able to match the breadth and massive scope of some other world class collectors, when it comes to embracing the notion of quality over quantity, Depeche23Mode might just be in a category all by himself. What are the chances that there’s another 20-shoe collection on earth that boasts three pairs of Undefeated Air Jordan IVs? It’s pretty safe to say there’s no one else out there who can make that claim, and that’s what makes Simon’s story so interesting. His journey has provided an unorthodox blueprint for sneaker consolidation that may not be for everyone, but will certainly get you thinking about what’s really worth holding onto once all those shoeboxes have finally overtaken your home.

Continue on for a look at Depeche23Mode’s “less is more” approach in all its glory, including a look at his carefully chosen keepers as well as a few juicy pairs that have gone on to find new homes since making a pitstop in the collection. And the next time you’re staring at that pile of boxes overflowing out of your closet, take a minute to ponder the idea of transforming those messy towering stacks into a concise and easily storable dream line-up of grails that you’ve always wanted, but never even considered actually going after. Yes, it will take some legwork and patience, but as you’ll see here, it can be pretty rewarding if you’re able to actually pull it off.

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SIMON VOLTAIRE TAN (aka DEPECHE23MODE)

Age:  42
From:  Manila

Twitter:  @depeche23mode
Instagram:  @Depeche23Mode

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Sneaker News:  Approximately how many pairs of sneakers do you currently own?

Depeche23Mode:  20 or less pairs. I used to have many, but I narrowed it down to the pairs that I really like.

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SN:  What was the first shoe you ever fell in love with?

Depeche23Mode:  I always adored Adidas Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s, Top Tens or Superstars being worn by my schoolmates, but I’d have to say that it’s the Pro-Keds from back when I was in elementary school 30+ years ago.

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SN:  What’s your favorite shoe of all time?

Depeche23Mode:  Air Jordan V White/Black/Red retro.  I like the way it looks and how it feels on my ankles, and the white color that I think stands out due to my skin color.

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SN:  How long have you been seriously collecting sneakers?

Depeche23Mode: I started buying Air Jordans ever since I landed here in the U.S. 21 years ago and I hardly ever missed visiting Big5 in Buena Park or Sportsmart in Cerritos every two weeks after getting paid from my job. But I’d have to say it was about 10 years ago when I started taking collecting very seriously and decided I just wanted to have pairs that very few people owned, but at the same time suited my taste.

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SN:  What’s your favorite genre or category to collect?

Depeche23Mode:  Air Jordan samples & Hyperstrikes.

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SN:  How did you make that jump from buying the stuff that anybody can get in a store to the crazy rare samples and PEs of the world?

Depeche23Mode:  Me and my wife were living in an apartment 11 years ago with no couch or TV because the living room was occupied by all of my shoes. Then one day I asked myself – “Why do I have all these shoes all in boxes and I can’t even enjoy looking at them because I have no space?” I guess that’s when I decided to start selling off what I had and just narrow it down to a number where I could possibly take them all out and enjoy looking at them or take some photos if I chose to.

Of course I kept my favorites back then. Haha. But soon after, I discovered the rare samples & Hyperstrikes. I was so enthusiastic about them, but the prices made me hesitate a bit. Since I had been selling my OGs and retros left and right, I got to fund the expensive pairs that caught my attention afterwards. And up to now, I never regret that decision even though I might pay higher for a pair than I ought to most of the time.

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SN:  What was the first super rare pair you ever acquired and how did you get them?

Depeche23Mode:  A DS size 9 Undefeated IV dark green sample from a friend at the Bay Area for a price.

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SN:  What’s the craziest thing you ever had to do to get a pair of shoes you wanted?

Depeche23Mode:  There is this pair that I like the most, but had to sell last year due to a family situation. Now I bought it back since I agreed to pay almost 15% more than what I sold it for just to own it again. Well, call it crazy but I am currently financially stable and I felt okay about the deal.

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SN:  What’s the most you’ve ever spent on a pair and what was the shoe? 

Depeche23Mode:  It cost me quite a bit,  Eminem IV size 10 DS.

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SN:  What’s the crown jewel of your collection – the one centerpiece that you hold above all the rest?  

Depeche23Mode:  Eminem IV I must say.  I like it for its rarity, color scheme and demand.

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SN:  What’s your ultimate grail that’s missing from your collection – the one shoe at the top of your wish list if you could get your hands on it?

Depeche23Mode:  A pair called the Nike Chicago or later marketed as the Nike Team Convention. It’s an Air Jordan 1 prototype, but the Wings logos are bigger with “NIKE” instead of “Air Jordan” inside. They’re a darker red, have different soles, and no one that I know has ‘em!

I’ve only seen a few pics from a certain Edy Malawi from France. I have no clue why my desire to own a pair is so great. Perhaps it’s the rarity and knowing deep inside that owning a pair is next to impossible.

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SN:  What are a few shoes that are heavy in your current rotation?

Depeche23Mode:  I can’t really have a heavy rotation due to dress code at work, but I wear the Jordan IV White/Columbia retro, Jordan V White/Black/Red 2012 retro, and the White/University Blue VI low to family functions and church. I wear Roshe Runs here at home and for running errands.

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SN:  What’s the most recent pair you’ve picked up?

Depeche23Mode:  “Marquette/Cal” Air Jordan IVs.

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SN:  What are some shoes that are currently on your radar to try to track down?

Depeche23Mode:  The Georgetown or UNC IVs in a size 10.5 or 11. Crossing my fingers!

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