The recent Sneakerlah event attracted sneaker collectors, streetwear and fashion connoisseurs as well as traders around the region, writes Nadia Badarudin
THE 5,574-square-metre Mid Valley Exhibition Centre recently turned into a sneaker heaven for sneakerheads who think nothing of forking out thousands of ringgit for the creme de la creme of shoes.
Malaysia’s biggest and most anticipated sneaker lifestyle convention, Sneakerlah returned with its fourth edition this year, attracting 32,000 sneaker collectors, streetwear and fashion connoisseurs as well as traders around the region.
Starting from a small project initiated by a bunch of sneaker fanatics, the first edition of Sneakerlah was held in 2015, and attracted about 17,000 people.
Organised by Masses and Future Sound Asia, the annual event eventually grew into a convention and special marketplace for sneaker enthusiasts to check out the latest must-haves and streetwear trends as well as meet like-minded souls and share their stories and passion in everything relating to their favourite kicks.
HOTTEST AND RAREST
With more than 100 vendors comprising local and international brands, mainly streetwear heavyweights, Sneakerlah showcased only the hottest and rarest sneakers and shoe accessories as well as clothing items.
Upcoming releases by Vans, Converse, Puma, Skechers and Timberland were introduced at the event, alongside streetwear pieces by local players such as Stoned & Co., Pestle & Mortar Clothing, Major Drop, 17 Gallery and Street La Vida.
Among the major highlights were a display of more than 150 pairs of adidas EQT collection and an extensive showcase of streetwear items by Supreme courtesy of The Fourheads.
Iconic sneaker designer Mark Ong or Mr Sabotage of the renowned SBTG (read: sabotage) held basic sneaker customisation workshops at the event, demonstrating his skills and talent which have won him followers and fans across the globe including celebrities such as basketball legend Kobe Bryant.
Sneaker storage brand SupBro was sought-after for its transparent storage boxes, while shoe care brands such as Mood Malaysia and Crep Protect were thronged by sneakerheads eager to learn the best way to maintain their shoes.
Sneakerlah staples such as sneaker-lacing competition and trading pit for attendees to auction and trade their shoes were also held this year, in addition to skateboard demonstrations and live performances by local rap acts including hip hop collective Raising The Bar.
Sneakerlah was ideal for collectors to find rare pieces and not a place to find bargain deals, said entrepreneur and Ohmaicloset founder Akmal Muhammad.
Ohmaicloset was one of the participating vendors specialising in authentic new and pre-loved branded luxuries including sneakers.
Besides sneakers, the brand also displayed rare clothing and fashion accessories including a new limited edition Louis Vuitton’s x Supreme red hoodie retailing at RM31,313 and MCM backpacks.
Ohmaicloset carried six pairs of new and limited edition adidas Futurecraft 4D retailing at a package price of RM52,525. One of the six pairs — the Sneakersnuff Friends & Family — has a market value of between RM20,000 and RM25,000.
“In this trade, collectors will anticipate the future value or the rarity of sneakers based on various factors such as whether they involved special collaborations, designers, versions or the quantities produced. The resale price usually goes higher if the shoes were produced in limited quantities.
“Our six pairs of adidas shoes are rare because of various reasons. For instance, some were produced only for adidas’ family members. It is believed that only 300 pairs are available worldwide,” said Akmal whose customers are mainly VVIPS including celebrities and national football players.
“In terms of brand or designer collaborations, the Louis Vuitton x Supreme collaboration — we called it ‘Master Collaboration’ — is the most epic so far.
“The resale price of these sneakers is RM7,000 compared to the original release price of about RM2,800. The sneakers are a must-have especially among Malaysian collectors because they were not released here,” he said.
Doing background research is crucial when one intends to buy a highly-valued pair, said Akmal.
“Ask the experts especially the real collectors. They can tell you the difference between the original and the ‘fufu’ (fake) based on many elements including the design, colours, authenticity of the official receipt, price tag or even the shoe box.
“For instance, take the much hyped adidas Yeezy Boost Zebra which fans adore for the patterns and the fact that it was designed by Kanye West. A real collector can spot a fake one just by the stripes at the area between the toe box and the toe,” he said, adding that the resale price of the sneakers can go up to RM2,500.
VIRGIL ABLOH’S OFF-WHITE
Skateboarder Muhammad Nizar Hashim, who is known for his talent and fashion flair in the local skateboarding and streetwear scene, was keen on Virgil Abloh’s Off-White “The Ten” collection.
Off-White is a skateboard-high-end crossover brand founded by Abloh who now helms Louis Vuitton’s men’s wear.
The Ten is Abloh’s collaboration with Nike and showcases his creative touch on cult-favourites like Nike Air Jordan 1 and Nike React HyperDunk.
“I’m here to check out The Ten collection. I’m impressed with the silhouettes and my favourite is definitely the Virgil Abloh x Nike Blazer Mid.
“I love the pair’s 90s look. They suit my style and I can skate comfortably in them too,” said Muhammad Nizar, who is founder of Bangsar-based streetwear brand Krookz651.
Since the release of the collection in 2017, the resale value of the shoes have been rising exponentially.
“Although I adore the shoes, I’m not willing to splurge on resale pieces due to the huge price disparity compared to the original retail price,” he said.