Sneakers step up in Cape Town

From Yeezy’s Adidas Boost to Nike Flex, the evolution of sneakers has been witnessed globally as the humble running shoe became “thug” attire in the 90s and has now reached the height of fashion with celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Kanye West endorsing various brands.

Now sneaker freaks can look forward to Africa’s largest sneaker trading event, the Sneaker Exchange (SXC), which will once again be taking place at the Lookout at the V&A Waterfront on Saturday April 29.

The event, which was created by Sybrand Park resident Zain Osman who is the owner of Lost Property sneaker boutique in Kloof Street, Gardens, which provides sneaker lovers with a platform to bring their own mint condition sneakers to exchange or sell with other traders at the venue.

The trade show also plays host to international sneaker brands such as Amsterdam-based clothing label Daily Paper, which has African inspired sneaker designs and has recently done a sneaker collaboration with Puma.

Sneaker customiser Dada Khanyisa, who makes mini-Asics sneakers using clay will also be on site to demonstrate his artform.

Mr Osman, who grew up in America, said the event was about sharing the love of a culture few people understood.

The event started out small in 2013, initially held at a coffee shop in Woodstock, but has continued to grow, now attracting up to 3 000 people per event.

Mr Osman also curates sneaker exhibits across Africa.

“I grew up in the USA and I had a love for sneakers and followed hip hop artists and their fashion. Back then Airforce 1 was still huge. Pop culture has influenced the sneaker trends today,” he said.

“I was in Europe last week to see how things are happening on that side. We’re always copying what the US and UK are doing but now we’ve developed our own style. Local brands are pushing it in retail. Sneakers are seen with African prints,” said Mr Osman.

The entertainment line-up will include artists such as Riky Rick, Anatii, Youngsta CPT and Palmtree Paradise as well as Local DJs Major League, Capital, JJ Fresh, Lord Veezus and Dunn Kidda. Also at the event will be local fashion labels and big-name brand activations, food vendors and live sneaker customisation. “There’s no denying that big-name and global brands will always hold a certain appeal, but it’s time South Africa rallies behind and supports local designers just as passionately,” said SXC co-director, Tebogo Mogola. The Sneaker Exchange runs from 11am until 7pm, with pre-sold tickets, at R70 each, available from Computicket. Tickets at the door will be R90 each.