In many instances, sneaker culture has lost its way. We used to fall head over heels for a pair of kicks sitting on a retailer’s shelf, pairs we sometimes spent weeks, months and even years hunting for, with the reasons varying from wanting to be like our role models to innovative technologies that matched our futuristic optimism. Every new pair wasn’t just a discovery of style and design, but one of self. But since the dawn of the blog-age and social media, we’ve watched as this beloved, community-driven sub-culture morph into an over-consuming, self-centered beast, driven by hype and trends. Websites and influencers instruct consumers on what to buy, often based on what may have the most resale or social media value. And, of course, all that purchasing and production has a devastating impact on the planet.
To reinvigorate the lost spirit of sneaker culture, FUTUREVVORLD is launching its first real world pop-up entitled Mission: Deadstock. With the help of contributors from across the industry, we’ve curated a collection of vintage sneakers, both worn and unworn, to be displayed at Extra Butter’s Lower East Side store in New York City. Each sneaker will be accompanied by a brief note as to why it has a special place in the contributor’s heart.
Expect to see journalist Jacques Slade’s Reebok Pump “Dee Brown”; Andrew NG of @sneakerpreservationsociety’s Nike Air Icarus; Daniela Buck’s, aka @wideawakeearthquake, And1 Tai Chi; @hartcopy’s Samuel Le Roy and his Nike Zvezdochka; Bernie Gross of Extra Butter’s Converse REACT Aero Jam; fashion entrepreneur Anisa Dash’s New Balance 990v3; artist Sophia Chang’s Reigning Champ x adidas Pure Boost, and so much more.
By telling the stories behind each pair, we’re hoping that viewers might rekindle the love they once had for those specific sneakers in their life. Not the ones they bought as an investment or an asset, but the ones that remind them of somewhere or someone; the ones they found in a local store and bought on a whim; the ones that hold their own story.
“In the late ‘90s and 2000s, in NYC, before sneaker culture was dictated by what plays out on the internet, I vividly recall walking into sneaker stores and stumbling upon silhouettes that I didn’t know existed. That element of discovery is currently missing from the equation,” explains Daniel Navetta, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FUTUREVVORLD.
“As the sneaker community exploded, yielding a culture of nonstop ‘drops’ and groupthink, brands produced massive quantities of footwear and put a tremendous strain on the environment. Mission: Deadstock serves as an opportunity to remind us that the most responsible thing we can do is purchase some of the incredible stock that already exists in the marketplace. That offering doesn’t have to be boring either. Taking the time to unearth lesser known pairs can not only be a more responsible way to participate in sneaker culture, it can also reignite that forgotten euphoria of discovery and originality.”
It’s not just about discovery and connection, however. As our EiC alludes to in the above quote, Mission: Deadstock is also about buying less and buying more more responsibly.
According to a life cycle assessment conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a standard pair of sneakers generates 30 lbs of carbon emissions. That’s just one pair. Now imagine what that means in an industry that releases billions of sneakers a year. Then add on top of that the countless sneakers that end up in landfill where they pollute the planet and take centuries to decompose. What you end up with is a monumental environmental disaster.
“Beyond the health of our planet, our culture of overconsumption also leaves us in a constant unhealthy state of desire,” says Allen Zelden, Co-founder and President of FUTUREVVORLD. “New ‘wants’ are incessantly promoted in order to stimulate even further consumption, and this vicious cycle drives further over-production, waste, environmental degradation, and the exploitation (and ultimate loss) of resources. Through this exhibition, we at FUTUREVVORLD are excited to help break this cycle of overconsumption with a cycle of circularity by empowering more conscious consumption!”
We know that Mission: Deadstock will not solve these problems alone, but we hope it’s a step in the right direction, one that will inspire you and many others. When searching for solutions to the crisis our planet is facing, it’s often a good idea to find a love and passion to assist with the journey. Just as learning to love nature will help us protect it, we believe that reinvigorating the spirit of sneaker culture will help to tame it and make it more sustainable for generations to come.
At the pop-up gallery, you’ll also find a limited-edition T-shirt designed by Felipe Merida (@tipi_thieves) and printed by LQQK Studios on biodegradable blanks from Version Tomorrow.
And finally, at the close of Mission: Deadstock, FUTUREVVORLD will be auctioning off every pair that was on display with all proceeds going to local charities that aid in recycling and waste reduction. Stay tuned for further announcements on that.
Mission: Deadstock will be on display at Extra Butter Lower Eastside–125 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002–on Saturday, July 16, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, July 17, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
We hope to see you there!