You don’t have to look far. Streetwear culture has been sweeping the Klang Valley like wildfire. It’s a pretty normal sight to be walking around the streets of Telawi or Pavilion and see the odd Supreme t-shirt in the crowd, or the occasional Adidas NMD on the feet of someone wearing a Bathing Ape hoodie with an Anti Social Social Club cap.
This hype is completely normal. The last time Adidas did a Yeezy 350 v2 raffle at Pavilion, the people lining up managed to get into a massive fight over who gets the tickets. It all gets sold, and a few days later, the same items pop up on streetwear forums, selling easily upwards of RM3000 for a pair of brand new ones, and a smidge above RM2500 for ‘used.’ While the scene here is considered in its infancy relative to the gigantic market over in Europe, Japan and the USA; it’s still growing at an exponential rate, with brands like Puma already collaborating with local streetwear chain, Crossover.
So, what’s the mystery behind it? Why do people easily fork out 4 digits for a pair of shoes? Why do adolescents buy 4 different colours of the same product? Why spend that much for something when you can get a similar item for so much cheaper?
The answer usually boils down to exclusivity. Numerous mainstream brands like Adidas and Nike have been practicing this model for the longest time, where certain sneakers aren’t sold in your typical sport shop, much less in their own retail shops all across KL. Even specialised streetwear stores like Crossover and Sole What don’t really stock the ‘heat’ models that much; more often than not the pairs get scooped up within hours after its release. JD Sports has made it more accessible to the masses who are looking into getting the upper midrange categories; shoes like the Nike Flyknit Racer, Adidas NMD R2, Nike Air Max series and Jordans are all within reach, if you’re fast enough.
However, collaboration models or more highly sought after ones like the Adidas Ultraboost x Parley For The Oceans, Air Jordan 1 Top 3 and Yeezy 350 V2 Bred are still out of reach for the majority; mostly because the prices on these are exorbitant. Although shops like Plug, 17 Gallery, and Vain do carry them in select sizes, be prepared to scarf down Maggi Hot Cup for the remainder of the month.
That exclusivity is what drives the prices up to monumental levels. The fact that you want it but you can’t have it, only makes you want it more. The culture nowadays dictates that the higher the price tag, the better the quality must be, but that’s not always the case. People are willing to spend financially crippling prices because they know that they’re paying for something other people can’t afford to have. It’s a statement really, and not because it’s about the brand’s history or heritage value.
And that’s completely fine. I mean, if you can afford it, why wouldn’t you? It’s kind of like buying a new Gucci belt or a Louis Vuitton handbag, only that streetwear appeals to a completely different crowd. Not only that, it’s worth spending your hard earned cash on shoes and apparel that are well made. You’ll cherish it, and grow to appreciate its craftsmanship and attention to detail more than if you buy a pair of slip-ons from H&M.