The first time I heard of the Sneaker Pimps event was on a podcast called the Weekly Drop, hosted by Jeff Carvalho, and Rob Heppler, with Frank the Butcher. On episode 13 of the Weekly Drop (May 15, 2006) they had founder of Sneaker Pimps, Peter Fahey, talk about the event. It sounded like it was a more artful take on the sneaker scene, with walls of custom sneakers, live art, and live music. If I had an opportunity to go to it, I’d definitely check it out.
I’m not sure if Sneaker Pimps dropped by in Hawaii since then, but it’s now 2013, and this was my chance. I’d like to think I can give a fair assessment of the event, but there were two things that make me feel I can’t give one:
1) I won tickets to the event through an Instagram promotion from one of my favorite shops.
2) I left earlier, so I didn’t get to enjoy the Dead Prez concert, which was included in the ticket price. I don’t think I can fairly cover an event if I’m not at most of it. Especially since I heard it was pretty banging.
With that said, let’s get into the event itself…
When you first enter the doors of the Republik, there was a glass showcase of some very hard to find stuff, like the Paris Dunk SBs, A set of Dunk Supremes, the NYC Lebron 4, and a little more. That one case had enough heat it could of give some Korean dukbokki some competition.
As soon as you go further in the venue, you open into a wider space, with tables of sneakers and many local brands.
That took me by surprise, because I had it in my mind that there would be a wall full of custom sneakers. There wasn’t one.
I didn’t see many custom sneakers. I think the Jordan 11 on wheels was the closest thing, at the Lightsleepers table.
Once I realized that Sneaker Pimps wasn’t what I expected, I had to kind of change my train of thought, and see what was out there.
Local consignment shop Truest was there, offering some of its collection for sale. Other tables were doing so too as well. I think there even was a raffle for some Jordan on another table.
I haven’t seen a Trainer Dunk in person for a while, much less the Mita one. Glad I got to check it out.
Kaws Air Maxes were another set of shoes I haven’t seen in person. So simple, so worth getting.
In terms of sneakers, I felt there could have been more sneakers. I think this was more an expectation I had of the touring show. I wish I knew what Sneaker Pimps actually brought over to the show. I assumed it was whatever was in that glass case, but if that was the case, I think Sneaker Pimps did not do its best. Granted, my expectations were based on a podcast I heard in 2006, but hearing Peter Fahey be so excited to bring it around the world, made it seem like a giant event in my mind. Comparing what I imagined the Sneaker Pimps show to be to the actual thing was a lopsided one.
I think in terms of the Hawaiian presenters, there was a nice amount of shoes, though I hoped for more. Then again, this is Hawaii. I know there are people with impressive collections, and I don’t know if it’s a cultural thing or something, but I find Hawaii people generally tend to be real humble about their collections. It’s okay to be humble, but for an event like this to work, I think it’s okay for Hawaii’s sneakerheads to have a little pride and share a part of their collection.
Art still made a presence at the event, and although there weren’t any live paintings, there were lots of artwork to check out.
One table had several painted canvases of sneakers, even showing Mars Blackmon some love.
Probably one of the most complete all around tables at the event was the Lightsleepers’ table. Featuring artwork by Angry Woebots and more, plus toys like this Kaws figure made it a table I kept returning to.
Since I didn’t stay for the Dead Prez concert, the only music I got to enjoy was during the sneaker showcase, with some mixing and a live performance by the Lightsleepers crew. I liked that Cavet the Catalyst did some covers of A Tribe Called Quest and the Roots, with a small band to back him up. It gave the venue a good vibe.
A Good Surprise:
What I wasn’t expecting to be at the event were some local vendors selling their t-shirts. I don’t know why I thought that way, but for some reason I felt they brought something refreshing to the event.
I’m usually wary of getting t-shirts at sneaker events aside from event tees, because sometimes they seem to take the sneaker scene a little more serious than it needs to be. I especially find sneaker themed shirts sometimes make it harder for the sneakers to speak for themselves. There is one I’ve seen around that I do like – It had stacks of sneaker boxes set up to spell HNL. Now that’s a good way of doing a sneaker themed shirt! (Hope somebody who reads this will let me know who did that one.)
At Sneaker Pimps, however, there were some designs that got me a little excited. They just seemed fun to wear.
My favorite of the night came from the Coconut Bandits. This was something I could wear to Aiea Bowl or when i’m walking around Waikiki. It just felt like a very versatile design.
The Lightsleepers had a lot of dope designs too, but this one with a shout out to the old T&C tees by Steven Nazar caught my eye.
I don’t know why, but hammerhead sharks don’t get enough love.
There were more brands like Hawaii Headliners, Nameless, Crappy Kids and more doing their thing. There’s lots of local brands hungry to share their vision.
My Overall Take:
I guess my take on this event is based on Expectations vs. Reality. If you watched “500 Days of Summer” with Joseph Gordon-Leavit and Zooey Deschanel, you might understand. Sure it would be wondeful if those two things match, but it’s rarely the case. I know I had high expectations, and the event in some parts did not reach them. However, I thought that if I took out those expectations, it was a pretty well done event. Like I said before, my point of view was an incomplete one, so it shouldn’t be the measure of the Sneaker Pimps event. In fact, I hope that they do return, and hopefully I can even be a part of it in some way other than as a spectator.
Luckily, I got to talk about the event with one of the local organizers and fellow sneaker fiend, JJ Parkz about Sneaker Pimps Hawaii. I got to ask him a few questions about it, which helped me to gain more insight as well as take it in from a different perspective…
By the way, if you went to the Sneaker Pimps, you might have gotten a sneak peak at something coming real soon… I wish this picture was a little clearer, but I got too excited.
Sneaker Pimps – Official website, with lots of photos of its past tours.
JJ Parkz – Avid sneaker fiend, and one of the coolest people I’ve met in Hawaii’s sneaker scene. Nothing but positivity. You can also check out his series of sneaker related posts called “Old Sole/New Tricks” at Fitted’s website, and his Instagram account too.
Lightsleepers – Encompassing all sorts of hip hop and art, I’ve had the opportunity to join them in some live drawing sessions. Always doing something, check them out often!
Coconut Bandits – Their clothing webstore.
Digs Lifestyle – I remember they used to be at Ward Warehouse as a retailer, but I think they evolved to focus on their own clothing brand.
Addendum: On the way to the Sneaker Pimps show, I noticed that Antique Alley was clearing out its quarters. Although I really didn’t frequent it, I’ve always found something cool there. Gonna miss this place – Where am I going to find vintage menus of old Hawaii now?