Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Whole Limited Thing is Getting Ridiculous

There was a story in the Wall Street Journal this past weekend about how the term limited is losing its luster 'cause brands are exploiting the concept. This is one of those articles that I read and think, well DUH, everyone knows that! And then I hit myself upside the head and think, why the hell didn't I write it first?? Sometimes shit is so in-your-face obvious that it doesn't even occur to you that it could be newsworthy.

Here's an excerpt:

Just a few years ago, word that Nike was about to release a limited run of a cool new sneaker would set off a frenzy. Collectors would camp outside hip sneaker boutiques, hoping to score a pair. So would entrepreneurs, who often snapped up multiple pairs that they resold for three or four times the retail price on eBay.

Today, sneaker makers of all stripes are starting to see the once-niche world of limited editions as a key strategy to market their brands. Vans is releasing about 70 different limited-edition sneakers this spring, up from about 15 in 2003, while New Balance will roll out roughly 36, triple the number in 2005. Makers say these styles can help grab the attention of influential sneaker devotees, generating buzz for the mass-market lines, too.

"We're trying to have a trickle-down effect," says Paul Fisher, director of global lifestyle footwear for Reebok. The company this year is launching "The V-Pack Collection," inspired by the 1980s cartoon show "Voltron" and ranging from $75 to $155.

The upshot: It's getting a lot easier to find coveted sneakers that have more cachet than your average pair of kicks. But for avid collectors--a critical group for sneaker makers to court--it's creating concerns about watering down the value of the limited-edition concept. Already, some classic Nike styles aren't fetching the premiums on the resale market that they did only a few years ago.

Jason of JB Classics, a brand which is mentioned positively in the article, hosted the entire article on his site and you can read it here if you're interested.

p.s. I found out about this article on HighSnobiety's newest platform, USnob, which enables whomever to broadcast their news on the site. Check it out. It's actually kind of neat.

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