Resell culture is probably best described as the sneaker community’s problem child. On one hand, it’s what makes sneakers so valuable and part of why drop days are so thrilling; it also teaches kids how to handle money by buying, selling, and trading commodities. On the other (and this will be the more popular sentiment) it distracts from what sneaker culture is really about — the simple need to nerd out about something not everyone understands with a tribe of like-minded people.
In Italy, reselling reared its ugliest head over the weekend as Lidl, the German budget supermarket, dropped its “streetwear collection.” That would be the equivalent of a ShopRite or Save Mart producing branded “streetwear” clothes. The collection sold out, COVID-19 be damned, just as it did in Belgium, France, and Germany.
The Lidl sneakers, which are an offensive take on the iconic Nike Huarache, are now reselling for many times their €12.99 retail price. It all feels a bit like a low point in sneaker reselling when a supermarket chain that has no stake in, and has done nothing for, sneaker culture in the past, swoops in to make a quick and shameless buck.
It’s easier to lay the blame at Lidl’s feet and say they should have more respect for a culture they clearly don’t understand. But the shoes sold out everywhere. As Italian tabloids reported, people drove from hundreds of kilometers away to try and get a pair, and that the baskets containing the shoes in the actual stores resembled more of a shark feeding frenzy than a civilized supermarket. So does Lidl really not understand sneaker culture (or at least one facet of it)?
Is it really Lidl who is to blame, or is it the greed and short-sightedness of a handful of sneakerheads? Surely it’s got to be the latter. The sneakerheads who bought into Lidl’s embarrassing campaign purely to make a quick buck should be shamed by the rest of us. We know irony and satire have been hot for a minute in fashion, but spare me the idea that those lining up for the collection had any intention of wearing it. By making a Lidl sneaker drop newsworthy, everybody loses and sneaker culture is devalued slightly.
That shouldn’t completely absolve Lidl though, as the supermarket should bear some brunt of the backlash. Regardless of the limited nature and profitability of the collection, as the ice caps melt and fast fashion continues to contribute to the environmental crisis, the last thing the world needs is more trash marketing gimmicks like this.
Now, if this all sounds a little “old man yells at cloud” to you, ask yourself: do you really think you look cool wearing €13 Lidl shoes that are a walking advertisement for a budget supermarket? Congratulations, you’ve played yourself.
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