Youtuber and sneakerhead, Mathias Ong, lives by himself in his apartment at central Vesterbro. That is, if you don’t count the about 300 pairs of shoes that moved in with him. “If you ask me when was the last time I bought a pair, I wouldn’t be able to remember. Much of my collection is from high school and the years just after,” says the now 27-year-old content creator. Before sneaker culture officially hit the Danish capital, Ong had already assembled a stable collection with editions that are practically impossible to come around today. The collection, and the knowledge of sneakers that followed, became the basis of Ong’s Youtube channel that now serves as his primary line of work.
We met him in his Vesterbro apartment for a chat about home, ambition, and fail-safe shoe choices.
Where do you live?
I live at Vesterbro where also I’m born and bred. I have bought an apartment very close to where my family lives.
How would you describe your home?
If I had to describe it I would say it’s cozy, light, and welcoming. This is where I spend most of my time so it has to be inviting and I have to enjoy being here. I also always have friends coming over. This is where we all gather.
What gives you a feeling of home?
Home is where you feel 100 percent safe and comfortable. And can be completely yourself. I like the idea of moving every three to four years, and I have also lived in many different places and felt at home in all of them. This is also not my last home but I love being here for now.
Is there anything in your home you feel a special attachment to?
When you look at me and what I do it might seem like I’m very materialistic, but I also believe everything can be replaced so I don’t have a specific thing come to mind. But I do have a necklace my sister gave me that I would never get rid of.
What is the first thing you do when you get home?
The very first thing I do is take off my shoes and put my slippers on. I always change into something more cozy so I can relax.
What or who inspires you most currently?
LeBron James’ work ethic is a big inspiration to me. He has had crazy success in his life but also failure, and regardlessly he is still one of the hardest working players. He has been in the NBA for almost 20 years and he is still a top player. I often draw inspiration from athletes and their work ethics. I find them impressive.
Are you ambitious?
I’m aiming for it. When you work for yourself you have to be disciplined. I have worked really hard to get to where I am now. But it’s all been worth it. When you start a project and it goes well, it’s the best feeling. The past year hasn’t been as busy so now it’s time for new exciting chapters. I’m launching a clothing line soon, and I’m also looking to expand with other projects that can grow separately to YouTube.
When did your interest in sneakers begin?
It started back in school when I heard about Michael Jordan. This mind-blowing athlete that dominated the NBA for decades and had his own shoe line with Nike – Air Jordans. It was really exciting back then. You had to chase the new releases because there weren't enough shoes for the demand. I loved that. It was also great being part of the culture before it got popular in Denmark because now I have the old releases that would be impossible to get a hold of today.
Do you have a particular pair in mind?
I got a pair of Jordan 1 from 1985 – the shoes are older than me and all the people watching my videos – that I bought on Facebook for 1.000 kr. because people just didn’t care about the shoes back then. Now, they are probably worth around 50.000 kr. I’m never going to sell them though.
How would you describe what you do?
I don’t see myself as a youtuber but more an entertainer. I entertain people. I just do it on YouTube.
What is the best choice you have made in your career?
Quitting my full-time job. I was a buyer at Rezet Store and had a choice whether to continue and then do Youtube on the side or take a chance and do YouTube full-time. And betting on myself has probably been the best decision. Although I can’t say for sure yet. But I’m working as hard as I can to make this the best decision.
Do you have something you live by?
I’m very spontaneous and free. If I feel like doing something, I’ll almost always do it. So I don’t have many routines. I also don’t have a packed schedule. I like when things happen fast and plans aren’t set in stone. So I think I live by the principle of getting up in the morning and then figuring it out from there.
If we had a look inside your closet what would we find?
Then we would find cheap pants and way too expensive jackets. I have always loved to save where it made sense and then spend on the must-have items.
What item do you always return to?
High top basketball sneakers, always. If I’m ever unsure of what to wear I’ll reach for a pair of those. I have them in every colorway. They are a safe bet for every outfit.
How does your dream home look?
A house in the city, two cars in the driveway, and a large backyard. And then a huge kitchen where everyone can gather.