Have you ever had a passion for something, that ran so deep it consumed your thoughts, and changed the way you lived? Collecting is passion most people have felt at one point or another in their lifetime, but which usually doesn’t last long. That’s not the case for sneakerheads; die-hard collectors of sneakers. We live in an era of constant advertising and product association. When an article of clothing represents a lifestyle, that’s called branding. Iconography is much more than a symbol, a colour or shape, its depths define you. In 1980 the Nike Air Jordan introduction marked the beginning of shoe culture and a lifestyle of elitism.
A sneakerhead is someone who has OCD “obsessive consumption disorder”. Prior to the internet, fans would have to actively track down the newest releases by traveling, sometimes across cities, to shoe stores in hopes of finding the newest colourways, collaborations, and retro editions, or at least information about what’s coming. The hunt was a part of what the brand stood for. How far would you travel, how long would you wait in line, what would you sacrifice to be a part of the culture? After the internet, online trading sites like EBay made it all too easy to find any pair you wanted; a problem for a brand built on exclusivity. The solution? Limit the supply.
Nike eliminated the threat of saturation by mastering the art of restriction. They began to release limited editions; a pair of shoes that are only made in certain quantities and available only at certain stores. Consumers would have to line up in front of stores days in advance, and the shoes almost always sold out within 24 hours of the opening release. The sense of urgency is the key to the success of the Jordan brand. This type of strategic planning only increases the value of the iconic brand and continues to perpetuate a culture fixated around collecting. Collections run anywhere between a few pairs to thousands. Sneakerheads collect to store, to resell, but rarely to wear.
When owning a product becomes more important than its functionality, a dangerous line is crossed. Sneakers are estimated to be the cause of 1000 deaths per year, and to this day there continues to be muggings, shootings, and riots over possession of this elite brand of shoe. Scarcity breeds both value and desperation.
Obsess over hard work. Consume experiences. Collect memories; There will never be a deficit.
Fast Access Financial