With the recent drama on the Gucci Sweater and Burberry Hoodie Noose, I thought I'd share my personal thoughts on why the word "culture" should stop being used to describe the Sneaker Industry and why I think it is being used as a Marketing/PR tactic to increase sales and popularity amongst the consumer.
Now I think this whole epidemic of racist acts and products have been a result of these high luxury brands trying to think they are part of the "culture". I am sorry to say, but the Guccis, Pradas, and Burberrys of the world will never understand or be part of this "culture". And this is not to exclude people who actually appreciate this environment, but this is to educate those who think "culture" is just buying cool clothes and sneakers. It is to poke at these luxury brands and corporations who are taking advantage of the uneducated consumer to profit off them and make them believe "we understand your culture".
Now for me, I understand the word culture and I personally choose not to use it to describe the sneaker industry. Growing up, culture was and is still is understanding my roots and where my family came from. The sneaker game was not a culture, but just my life, my hobby, the thing that I knew. It was "my thing" just like it was to all those other kids/adults who grew up in the 90s and early 2000s when we loved being different. It was a small community that felt bigger than it was back in those days.
The "culture" was started in low-income communities in which it was a way to conversations about sneakers and brands. We looked to sneakers as a coveted item we hoped we could obtain because money was very tight. It was a way for low-income kids, like myself, to be able to meet people across the world (in forums and in lineups) who shared a common love for sneakers and hip-hop (hip-hop was a huge reason for this but I'll save that for a later post).
BRANDS USING CULTURE TO $ELL FOR PROFIT$
I have worked in corporations and have been in meetings where it is all about how to "maximize profits". And trust me, most don't care about you or your struggles. All they see you as is a # on a data sheet. Scratch that, your name isn't even on a data sheet. You are just a dollar sign.
Culture is a word that has been overused to the point where I have come to the conclusion that this was/is a Marketing and PR strategy from big corporations and brands to profit off of the uneducated customer. Just take a look at the popularity of the word on Google Search below.
Once the 2008/2009 hit, the word "culture" skyrocketed in mentions and it isn't a surprise that this started as a result of the economic crash of 2008. People stopped spending a lot on consumer items so these brands needed a new way to market to the low-income demographic (who are big spenders in clothing and sneakers).
Companies are overusing the word and using it for several reasons, but the sole purpose is always for profit. I believe that luxury brands are using it to lead consumers into believing that they are:
2. Understand Their Culture
3. Respect Their Culture
Now, you have seen with the recent news (and in history) of these luxury brands "mistakenly" doing some racist product and then making an apology saying that they will start taking the right actions. It is 2019, are you trying to convince me that a 50+ year old brand haven't got it right yet? And yet you are "culture driven"?
This is WHY I choose not to use the word culture to describe the sneaker industry/game. Those who agree with me understand what the true "culture" is and it isn't all sunshine and rainbows. Thank you to Clark Kent for speaking on this "culture" (start video around minute 7:00).
If you agree or disagree in this topic, please share your thoughts below. As always, STAY CURIOUS.
Told by Christian