There is another contradiction at play. Many years ago I was of the view that only selling cool sneakers in NY, London and Tokyo was bullshit. Shouldn’t access to this awesomeness be widened up? Well, be careful what you wish for!
The ‘same’ stuff is now sold from Timbuktu to Reykjavik and it’s not surprising that an outbreak of ennui is the end result. Frank Liew agrees. “If the product relates on a global scale, it should be available globally. However, I like the idea of not being able to access certain types of product so long as the story behind the product makes sense to do so and it’s not just some procedural distribution decision by some box ticker behind a desk who hasn’t considered what or who the product relates to” Good luck trying to work that out Frank! It’s an impossible equilibrium to achieve.
One thing is for sure. Travelling to megalopolis retail meccas like New York to buy cool gear is simply irrelevant nowadays. Stay right at home, talk your head off on Skype and use Paypal to pick up the tab.
A criticism that many indie stores propagated a sense of being ‘too cool for their own customer’ is one that has some substance. Having been on the end of it myself (I’m talking about you Clientele NYC!), this projection of superiority always intrigued me, especially when it came from one of the lamest stores I’d ever walked into (I’m talking about you Clientele NYC!).
It seemed to derive primarily from New York stores, where a certain amount of pride was taken in skewering their customer. I’ve seen shutters drawn, false sold-out responses to eager enquires and all sorts of shit pulled to make ‘unworthy’ kids wilt under the pressure. It became something of a notorious retail blood sport...
Check out our next feature: HOW TO LACE YOUR SNEAKERS!