Europe’s largest sneaker convention, Sneakerness, took place in Paris this weekend with some 7,000 attendees. Launched 11 years ago in Switzerland by a group of sneaker enthusiasts, it’s now held in seven different European cities annually. Brands, stores and private sellers and collectors all visit to buy, sell and swap, attend panel discussions and watch customizers live at work. This season’s official event partner was luxury resale platform StockX, providing onsite authentication and payouts.
FN caught up with Sneakerness managing director and co-founder Sergio Muster to talk resale, trends, counterfeiting and how fashion is following the sneaker business.
FN: Resale is now becoming increasingly mainstream, but the sneaker industry was at the forefront. Why do you think this is?
Sergio Muster: “In my opinion, the sneaker is indeed one of the driving forces of reselling. A limited-edition sneaker is a highly emotional product and is in a price segment where a larger part can afford it. In comparison, not everyone can afford a Rolex watch, where there has been a reseller market for a long time.”
The resale market in general is also being driven by concerns about over-production. Is this also prevalent in the sneaker market?
SM: “Not so much with the hardcore sneaker freaks. Their main focus is with the resell value of the shoes as opposed to where and how the shoe was made and under what circumstances. This might change in the future but we have not seen any clear signs of it yet.”
If we see sneaker market as a trailblazer for trends such as resale and the drop concept, what else has the wider fashion industry appropriated?
SM: “You can tell the mainstream fashion industry is watching the sneaker industry closely on how they create demand for their product. Limited editions, working with famous designers for unique collaborations, personalization of product all have their origins with sneakers.”
Does StockX and the like use any form of Blockchain ledger software in their authentication processes?
SM: “They do use various digital tools but they can’t comment on specific details about their authentication process, as they are trying to be one step ahead of the counterfeiters. However, I have also founded a company called collectID, which addresses this challenge by embedding products with NFC chips containing unique ID numbers stored on Blockchain. The sneaker community has welcomed this technology with open arms.”
What is the next big trend in sneakers?
SM: “More sustainable materials will be used while soles made by 3D printing will become standard. We also expect advances in the auto-lacing system.”
How many sneakers do you have? And how do you store them?
SM: “Last time I counted, it was something around 700. I store them everywhere I can find space. When you get a collector’s item, just store them in the box, but it’s best to seal them.”
What is the most prized sneaker in your collection and why?
SM: “The Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Freddy Kruger’ with an estimate around $8,000. They were never released to the public because Nike forgot to ask for a permit, so they had to destroy the whole production. But someone managed to steal 24 pairs out of the factory and sold them.”