"Shoes are the first thing I look at when meeting someone."
Artist Grace Ahlbom opens her latest project, a one-minute fashion film highlighting Acne Studios’s Fall/Winter 2018 sneaker line, sitting on her blue BMX bike pedaling across an empty school yard with a pair of Acne Studios sneakers that are tied to the back wheel trailing behind her. “Shoes are the first thing I look at when meeting someone,” reads a caption in the short. ”I can always tell their personality through their shoes.”
Ahlbom, who honed her photography skills under Ryan McGinley, wanted to channel the recklessness of ‘80s and ‘90s MTV music videos. To make the film, the artist sourced a tool that could give it the grainy quality of that era: a VHS camera. “While I was away at college my dad sent me a box of home videos from my childhood during the ‘90s, which started my curiosity in VHS cameras,” she said. “I began filming my friends around New York City and made a bunch of short films throughout college.”
Ahlbom takes the Manhattan sneaker through the schoolyard where she shot her films for college, then to the location of where Spike Lee filmed Do the Right Thing, and finally, to Tompkins Square Park, where the film closes with a number of pairs of Acne Studios sneakers dangling from a tree. Like Ahlbom’s film, the technical, chunky Manhattan sneaker takes its form from the ‘90s, specifically the urban sportswear that was popular at the time.