Balancing Act: Alan Hodgkiss

September 4, 2019

Alan Hodgkiss, business owner and consultant at Business Doctors Newcastle, has more than 30 years of retail and branding experience, primarily in sports and fashion. He developed an interest in vintage sportswear memorabilia in the 1980s and has since amassed an enviable collection

I’m an accidental collector. I started as a sportswear consumer in the 1980s and I’ve retained almost everything over the past four decades. In the early days I would save up for three or four months to buy a pair of trainers and therefore cherished them.

I’ve always bought items that I personally liked and would wear, even though I haven’t worn a lot – especially the trainers.

I source items from many places: stores, online, Ebay, vintage shops and markets and samples. Around 20 per cent of my collection have come from trips abroad.

It’s almost impossible to pick a favourite item from my collection. It’s always changing. My favourite period, though, is the last century when most items were produced to be worn. They weren’t hyped up for collectors the way they are now. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, a lot of sportwear was also produced in Europe (Adidas, Fila etc) or the USA (Nike, New Balance etc) and were really high quality.

The pair of Vintage Nike ‘moon shoes’ that raised a record-breaking $437,500 at auction is remarkable. Unfortunately, most of the trainers degrade over time and so I’m not sure how sustainable these prices are.

My most valuable item is probably a pair of Air Jordan 1’s from the smallest ever production run (mine is No. 5 of seven pairs). They were given to me personally in 2001 by Mark Parker, who has been the chief executive of Nike since 2006. They were worth thousands, but Nike repeated the trainer a few years later, which diluted the value. I also have the first-ever Nike International (UK) clothing catalogue, with the address of Tiley Road, Crowther, Washington, NE38 0EB. I have three garments from that catalogue – all of which were made in the UK.

My advice to someone thinking about collecting sporting memorabilia is to enjoy and really like what you buy. Don’t become a slave to it as you may end up overpaying. Be aware that most trends are cyclical and will fluctuate. StockX, an online sneakers and branded goods market place/stock exchange, is a good place to start.

My son loves my collection, my wife tolerates it, and my daughter wants one of her wardrobes back.