VERSUS: Should High Fashion Step Away from Sneakers?
Is high fashion necessary to the sneaker world, a cradle of innovation pushing the scene to its avant-garde edges? Or are luxury labels merely an excuse for astronomical price points, regurgitated designs, and the prostitution of a culture they claim to represent?
We sent two of our more fashion-conscious writers down the digital runway to duke it out.
Suss how it went down, and make sure you cast your vote below.
High fashion really needs to step away from the sneaker scene so we don't continue to get served up atrocities like this:
Hold up … surely you don’t think fashion just joined the sneaker party? Let me give you a little history lesson.
Sneakers x high fashion is nothing new. Heard of Gucci, Prada or designer Jeremy Scott mi hermano? We’re talking long before Vetements was skewering Reeboks, before Sankuanz was making sneaker sole strap-ons. These brands were making waves with sneaker drops in the 80s and 90s and well... in the 2000s, Scott let his inner furry create herds of the craziest creations people had ever seen!
The culture now is just ... diluted. Fashion labels are ripping off iconic designs and jacking the price to astronomical heights. How can you respect that? Did you see the Louis Vuitton Zig Zag sneaker? It's an unashamed cash-in on the Osiris D3. At this point, luxury labels are just glorified regurgitation!
The fashion x sneaker mashup existed long before we entered 'the game'. Fashion houses and their designers taught us how to dress. They paved a new way to wear sneakers. Before Raf Simons worked with adidas he was reworking ASICS. Comme des Garçons are arguably one of the most influential brands of our time, and they have been reworking iconic and outcast designs for the past decade. If it weren’t for high fashion, we’d still be pin-rolling our jeans. An outfit isn’t just about what’s on your feet.
The only real reason fashion is tied to sneakers now is to corner the millennial demographic. Fashion houses have become the arbiters of cultural colonisation: enter the market, build trust (install names like Virgil in positions of power), then exploit the narrative and RINSE THE WHOLE GODDAM INDUSTRY!
WRONG. High fashion makes sneakers relevant beyond the hyper niche boys club circle-jerk.
At least the circle jerk was authentic... Now the scene belongs to those with zero style and deep pockets. We get it, mum and dad have money, but no amount of zeros in the bank account can buy style. You don't get admission to a subculture via a price tag.
EXACTLY! You can’t buy style, and that’s my point! With that comes the need to have an authority to back it. It’s not a new concept. The best to ever do that was Michael Jordan. Fashion houses aren’t cashing in, they are supporting. For all their glitz and glamour, they are basically the garbage recyclers of our industry. The Euro-backpacker killed the Stan Smith circa 2012-2014; I couldn’t stand the sight of them. Raf reworked it, placed a cheeky R on the side, and suddenly I wasn’t so frustrated about the overkill-ification of the silhouette.
It's a transparent attempt at authenticity. Do you really think high fashion gives a shit about a sneaker's historical narrative? There's no moral compass guiding fashion houses in the 21st century. Did you suss the latest Dolce & Gabbana headlines? Are you following @diet_prada? Give me a break ...
So, on that notion, are you saying that Nike should have never started SB? And adidas should have never gotten into basketball? Should you have never bought those Undercover Reacts? I’m sick of hearing the whole 'I was into this before it was cool' narrative.
None of these business decisions normalised absurd price points, whored out legitimate cultural narratives, plagiarised iconic designs, or bankrupted a whole generation ... take your $1200 Triple S and shove it up your after-pay riddled debt hole; I'll find more authenticity in Walmart.
Ok, let’s talk price points. You’re angry that designers charge more for their shoes. But I beg you to reminisce the Y-3 Qasa. When that bubbled beauty popped up we weren’t sure what to make of it. Then, slowly but surely, it captivated the attention of the masses. So, what did adidas do? That took the EVA sole, which up until that point was an unloved relic, and pasted it across lower priced silhouettes like the Tubular. All thanks to the efforts of Yohji Yamamoto. Fashion sets the zeitgeist from the runway and, as per usual, the general public benefit from the trickle down effect to their GRs.
Pick up the phone bro, 2k19 is calling.
Nothing is trickling down from the runway. Didn't you suss Paris Fashion Week? Maison Margiela, Gucci and Balenciaga all bailed on sneakers, Kim Jones is 'bored' of streetwear, and formalwear is being lauded over sneakers.
I picked up the phone. The line is DEAD.
Fashion week awaits, there’s no chance there’ll be NO sneakers on the runway this year.