October 21, 2015. The future.
Land of flying cars, hoverboards, and self lacing kicks. Well, st least accoriding to Doc and the Back To The Future franchise.
The 1985 blockbuster introduced the now legendary power laces, which have been a pipe dream for sneakerheads ever since. Nike has been diligently working ever since to develop the technology to bring the MAG to life. A little Hollywood magic made it look all too easy for the camera. In reality it´s been anything but. Until now.
This week Nike sent a pair to Michael J. Fox, who played lead character Marty McFly, in honor of the date McFly arrived to the future. Tinker Hatfield, famed Nike designer and Vice President of their Creative Concepts division, also sent a personal note and sketch to Fox explaining that, “as the first, most celebrated wearer of the Nike MAG we wanted you to be the first to receive a living pair.” The rest of us will have to wait. While Fox received his pair on the 21st, the expected release is in 2016, with no word yet on pricing.
Once they drop, they will be sold at auctions with the proceeds benefitting the Michael J. Fox foundation which is dedicated to finding treatments for Parkinson´s disease. In his letter to Fox, Hatfield referenced Nike´s previous fundraising efforts, stating, “We hope that the combined effort will raise even more than the 9.4 million collected in 2011.”
Kicks for a cause. We like it.
Have a great weekend!
Stephon Marbury is creating quite a buzz lately — and it’s not for his moves on the court with the Beijing Ducks, the museum dedicated to him, nor the Chinese issued collection of stamps honoring him.
Marbury is bringing back the Starbury
The kicks that originally debuted in 1996 were famously priced at only $15.00 (or less) and were an instant hit. The Starburys were sold at now-defunct retailer Steve & Barry’s, and flew off the shelves as soon as they dropped. Priced intentionally low, the aim was to be accessible to all, not just those with disposable incomes and time to spend camping out for new release. In other words, the anti-Jordan.
Recognizing a gap in the market between the hyper popular big name sneakers, and a brand that was cool while still being affordable, Marbury leant his name and time to the cause. Despite the initial popularity of Starburys, the novelty began to wear off and the brand was eventually forced into obscurity in 2009 when Steve & Barry’s went under.
Previously criticized for a lack of original design, several new colorways and styles have recently been teased on Marbury’s social media accounts, though no “official” announcement has been made, nor drop dates released.
No stranger to controversy, Marbury has come out swinging. And it’s working. He’s taken to Twitter to call out several big names in sneaker culture — including Michael Jordan, of course. Citing greed and inaction in the face of sneaker-related crimes (specifically the startling frequency of murders among young people), Marbury has accused Jordan of “robbing the hood”. It’s worth noting that courtesy of his namesake shoe, Jordan made a cool 100 mil last year alone which is more than he made from the NBA in his entire 15 season career. Marbury has also drawn attention to the disparity in Nike pricing and the actual cost to make the shoes, tweeting that “..you’re paying $200 for Jordans and they make them for $5. The shoes [Nikes & Starburys] are made in China in the same places.”
Via Instagram Marbury states, “When I gave you 15 dollar shoes in America my mission was clear. It wasn’t about basketball it was about creating change in the sneaker game.”
It’s an admirable mission and he’s certainly got the resources to get it going. Whether it takes off is anyone’s guess. Sneakerheads can be a tricky group to predict. But we can’t wait to see what he’s got planned for the Starbury comeback.
A few weeks ago we shared some news about the Brooklyn Museum’s “Rise of Sneaker Culture” exhibition. The exhibit, drawn from the collection of the Bata Shoe Museum, significant private collectors, and other museums and archives is now on the move and currently calling Ohio’s Toledo Museum of Art home. Unable to make it to Brooklyn and Ohio just a little too far?
For those of us unable to check out this killer exhibit in person, Elizabeth Semmelhack has just the thing. Acclaimed shoe historian and senior curator at the Bata Museum, Semmelhack has authored a book inspired by the exhibit and it’s already being touted as “something akin to a holy text” for sneaker devotees.
Semmelhack has assembled people from all walks of the creative world of sneakers — think Tinker Hatfield, Bobbito Garcia, Eric Avar, Walt Frazier, and Christian Louboutin to name a few — in order to track the rise of the sneaker from basic athletic gear to it’s current place as pop culture icon and status symbol. Exploring over two centuries (don’t miss the spiked running shoe from 1860!) worth of trends, marketing, and technological advances, the book is truly a thoughtful, comprehensive, and highly educational history all sneakerheads should own.
Interviewees range from design innovators, high profile collectors, and various curators from around the globe. But of course that’s not all — there are HUNDREDS of full color photos depicting the most “grail-status” kicks to ever be created. Whether you buy this for yourself or as a gift (or a gift to yourself? We’re not judging.) it’s sure to be a win.
PS. Today we’re officially kicking off our DIRTIEST KICKS CONTEST! Got some dirty, beat up, beyond salvageable kicks? We want to see them. And then we want to clean them. That’s right! Ship them to us for a complimentary cleaning and we’ll send them back looking fresh. With the help of our Facebook and Twitter followers, we’ll select the top 3 dirtiest kicks and then share the videos of us bringing them back to life. So go on, show us what you’ve got and we’ll show you just how serious we are about being the best, most premium cleaner out there. Tag #RufusCleanMyKicks to enter!
Last week we talked about sneakers and sneaker culture being everywhere, and it is: from well curated museum exhibits, even to the big screen.
This August, filmmakers David T. Friendly and Mick Partridge released their documentary “SNEAKERHEADZ“. The film examines the global phenomenon of obsessive sneaker collecting, chronicles the sneaker’s origin and the rise of it’s cultural influence over the last three decades. Starting of course, with Nike’s 1984 Air Jordan, SNEAKERHEADZ sheds light on the correlation of sneaker obsession with the emergence of hip-hop and the marketing of sports icons as pop culture icons. As brands began capitalizing on the explosive obsession, we began to see the limited edition models and highly coveted custom models being released.
The hype for each new release was so high — and the demand so widespread among those of all races and socioeconomic backgrounds — that a new pair could mean riots in front of stores and people, literally, dying for shoes. The movie does not neglect that dark side of sneakermania, instead choosing to explore what could possibly drive consumers to such drastic measures. Estimates show that over 1,000 people a year are killed over sneaker thefts.
Weighing in with their own personal experiences and perspectives are a well rounded and impressively diverse variety of influencers from all walks of the sneaker culture. Among the interviewees are Frank “The Butcher” Rivera and Jeff Staple, as well as celebrity collectors such as comedian Mike Epps and rapper Wale. One interviewee (only half-jokingly) describes a sneakerhead as someone “who will forgo paying the rent to buy a shoe they will never wear,” referencing the widespread phenomenon of buying two pairs, “One to rock, one to stock!”. Sports star Jeremy Guthrie admits that, like many other obsessed collectors, he lost count of his own collection a long time ago.
That’s a lot of shoes.
Friendly and Partridge travel the globe exploring the impact of sneakermania as far away as Toyko, and viewers are treated to the footage captured along the way.
While the film does dive into interesting subject matter exploring when a “collector” is more accurately labeled as someone with an obsessive hoarding disorder, it remains non-judgemental and lovingly supportive of the industry it’s critiquing.
As the movie shows, different styles have come and gone over the last 30 years, but one thing is certain: sneakers (and the sneakerheads who love them) are here to stay.
You’ve always known sneakers are cool. These days it seems like everyone else is noticing too — celebs, fashion designers, style bloggers — everybody is paying attention to the sneaker game. In the past year alone there’ve been several books and even a documentary-style movie.
Sneakers are everywhere — even in museums.
Courtesy of the Bata Shoe Museum, The Brooklyn Museum debuted an exhibition titled “The Rise of Sneaker Culture” on July 10, and it will run through October 4. The exhibit aims to “explore the complex social history and cultural significance of the footwear now worn by billions of people throughout the world”.
As anyone versed in the history of sneakers knows, that’s no simple task! The social history of sneakers is a rich one, and the evolving cultural significance over the last several decades has been a telling factor of the changing times. It’s been quite the journey to the current position as status symbol and icon of urban culture.
In addition to exploring the history and providing social commentary, visitors are also treated to a display of 150 pairs of kicks including some of the rarest and most historic. Not only have the curators pulled from the archives of the big guys — Nike, Converse (from 1917!) and Adidas to name a few — but private collectors Daryl “DMC” McDaniels, Bobbito Garcia, and Dee Wells have contributed kicks from their own collections as well. To paraphrase Bobbito, the kicks on display are the type of fly kicks any discerning collector would dish out knots of cash for.
To round it out, the exhibit is supplemented with film footage, original design drawings from the legendary Tinker Hatfield, and a variety of interactive media including Run-D.M.C.’s iconic “My Adidas” video.
While the exhibit has garnered mixed reviews for not diving deep enough, we can at least all agree on one thing. Its very existence represents a giant leap in the mainstream culture beginning to recognize and respect sneaker culture. About time for a 200 year old industry that rakes in more than 55 billion dollars a year!
If you can’t catch the exhibit at it’s current home in Brooklyn, there’s still hope- The Bata Shoe Museum is taking it on the road. Next stop: the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio.
Are you going? have you been? Let us know what you thought, below.