An interview with Brendan Dunne: someone with your dream job

Courtesy of Complex

Very few people ever get the opportunity to speak with someone who has their dream job, recently I had the privilege of becoming one of those people. For some time now, I’ve been dead set on becoming a journalist. This website is my primary effort. In the past year and a half I’ve written over 50 unique articles, but it’s not like I have any professional experience in the field.

Enter, Brendan Dunne. Dunne, 30, is a writer currently employed at Complex; a media outlet primarily focused on covering youth culture. His main responsibility involves running Complex’s Snapchat discover platform, and managing a lot of behind the scenes aspects of Sole Collector shows Full Size Run and Price the Hype. He is also featured prominently on both series as a mainstay co-host. Before this, Dunne studied linguistics at the University of Oregon and worked for Sneakernews on the side before being brought on fulltime in 2012. He found himself at Complex after Sole Collector editor in chief Gerald Flores brought him onto the team in 2014.

I don’t work on Sole Collector explicitly anymore but (I’m) still involved with a lot of projects, Full Size Run chief among them.

That’s a quote from Dunne himself. On Wednesday, Sept. 18 I had the privilege of speaking to Dunne personally over the phone amidst his busy work schedule and the ambient bustling noises of New York City. Dunne was the prime subject to interview about my dream job. He’s an experienced journalist and editor with a big hand in a media outlet I consume regularly and yes, he loves talking about sneakers the same as I do. Getting his contact information was not the simplest task but after a few days and sheer luck I got his personal email and we started talking almost immediately. Within a few days, we had a phone call scheduled.

When the day finally came I was nervous. How do you talk to someone you look up to? Someone who, in more ways than one, is your superior.  I was pretty shaky to start off but, Dunne’s congenial attitude and casual yet articulate manner of speaking put me at ease. The interview only lasted 15 minutes but what it lacked in runtime it made up for in substance.

I’m going to leave a transcript below of the last few questions of the interview. What follows is some of the best career advice I’ve ever received, from a gentleman who is well beyond his years in terms of heart.

What do you love about your job?

I love being able to be critical about sneakers because I feel like the scene as a whole is lacking that so I like having that opportunity to voice my opinion on those things and also I like the opportunity to talk to industry people or famous people who have sneaker histories that aren’t necessarily out there and kinda bring those stories out… I think there’s a lot of things, about like the Off-White stuff, for instance, that is valuable and that is good design but it’s so obvious. Those shoes I see every day so I’d rather just try and do something a little different or show people that I appreciate something a little different. 

What’s one misconception you think people have about your profession?

I think a lot of people think that when you’re in the sneaker world professionally whether you’re writing, blogging, making videos is that people are just going to send you free things… I guess the idea that it’s easy to just get whatever you want from these brands you know? People have to work really hard to make these connections and make these relationships or convince people in various positions of power across the industry that they are someone worth listening to or someone worth talking to, you know what I mean? It took a long time for us to be able to do something as bold as to make a show where we present the idea that our opinions matter. I had to do this for a long time before I could be that bold or before Welty could get on camera and have people trust his opinion. People don’t necessarily realize that it takes a lot of work to get to that point a lot of writing, he worked in retail for years, I wrote thousands of blog posts on this stuff. It wasn’t a short road.

If you were me right now, a college student, what would you be doing to get where you are right now?

I would be looking for stories that aren’t being told by sites like Complex because I think there are a lot of them. We’re at a time now where big media is realizing how important sneakers are to so many people or how even profitable the idea of covering them can be and I think that we’re only at the beginning when it comes to sneaker media. I think there’s a long ways to go and I think there’s a lot of stories that haven’t been told… I mean I wish I had time to tell ’em. Always new stones to turn over.

One last question here, have you ever resold sneakers?

Yes, I have. I have, I do, and I don’t have any qualms about it really anymore. Unless it’s like a shoe somebody gave to me, somebody close to me gifted me something, means something personally. Otherwise, I have and will continue to resell sneakers. Just don’t tell Welty.

Sorry, I had to ask that one.

Yeah of course. The most important question.

I look forward to what you continue to do in the future, I look forward to the new season of FSR. Which is coming out soon I believe?

Next week.

Next Week?

Yes, sir, that’s an exclusive. Put it out there.

Glad I got that one. Alright, thank you so much, Brendan, have a great day my friend.

You can follow Brendan Dunne on Instagram and soon enough Twitter. You can also see him on the Sole Collector channel as a co-host for Full Size Run and Price the Hype.


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