Thursday, August 31, 2006

Next: Cleveland sneaker store

I got an email the other day from Tarik, who is Sole Collector's videographer. (Aside: I would LOVE to write for you guys!) He was responding to my plea the other day on what type of shoes Lupe Fiasco was wearing (answer: Vans--of course!) in an image I recently posted on this site. He also tipped me off to some of the videos he's made for Sole Collector, which are available on YouTube, including this one:

This video was shot at Next, an urban apparel and footwear store located in Cleveland, Ohio.

Funnily enough, I have interviewed the owner of Next, Steve Silver, several times for stories I have written on current sneaker trends. Steve started the chain in 1996 and now has five stores.

Here is an image of his recently opened 5th Next store, which, as opposed to his other four stores, is focused more on a crossover or aspirational urban customer:

Steve is a great source for me not only is he ridiculously sharp, well-informed and gives great quotes, he is one of the only mass urban retailers I know who saw the sneaker boutique trend happening and instead of shrugging his shoulders, decided to take action and open his own boutique-type store.

The sneaker snobs may dismiss Next because they feel Steve doesn't have the right authenticity credentials, but I cannot stress enough how retail is a business and those who don't treat it as such may ride the wave of a hot trend for five years or so, but then find themselves being left behind because they become so personally attached to the product and their scene that they're unable to make the proper adjustments when the market changes. And it always does change. In the wise words of KRS-1: "Love's gonna getcha ya."

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