Daily Kicks Since 2006

The Southern USA's Sneaker Scene: As Told By Its Biggest Players


The Southern USAs Sneaker Scene1 The Southern USA's Sneaker Scene: As Told By Its Biggest Players eukicks

The southern United States is known for their trunk rattling music, weight-increasing food, slow, overdrawn twang, hot weather, and superb hospitality; however, most don’t realize when it comes to sneakers the south has its own flavor. Whether it’s bright, flashy ‘pimptastic’ kicks, or sneakers representing their local team colorways, the south wears their shoes with pride. With the internet making it possible for trends to spread as quickly as taste makers can get to their computer screens, one would get the feeling that much can’t be different regionally, but the ‘bible belt’ has always done things a little different.

We talked to Farshad Arshid of Standard in Atlanta, Georgia, Josh of Black Sheep in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Frank of Wish in Atlanta, Georgia to better understand the intricacies of the modern southern sneaker scene.

EUkicks: In what ways, if any, do you think the southern sneaker scene is different than in other areas?

Frank of Wish: I think in the South they really love their Jordan’s or shall I say “J’s”! Where up–top it is more Air Max, Up-tempo, and Boot driven! The south, especially the consumer in Atlanta, is very city Loyal. Any city specific product moves well here!

Farshad Arshid of Standard: From my travels and from what I’ve seen I do think that, like with anything else there is regional differences, like and dislikes. With the internet and with what we do being so tied into the internet and all the blogs and everything it actually does shrink the world we are in a lot more. It’s kind of a thing where region doesn’t play as much of a role as it used to in retail in general because climate, terrain, and regional style had a lot to do with it, but I think overall that gap has gotten smaller. I do however think that the south has a different vibe and there are certainly more likes and dislikes in certain areas of the south.

Josh of Black Sheep: Everybody wants to look fresh for the ladies and everybody wants to have something different that makes them stand out.  I believe that exclusivity is always the biggest motivator.  Nobody wants to look like the next guy, or look like they bought their stuff at the mall. Obviously, fresh kicks are a status symbol as well.  Our customers never want to show up at the club or party and have on the same gear as the next guy.  I think this is true no matter where you’re from.

EUkicks: New Yorkers are known for wearing Air Force 1s and out in California Chucks are popular, are there any sneakers that you would say are uniquely southern?

Josh of Black Sheep: In general, I feel like the internet has closed the gap on some of the regionalism that used to exist. This is true in the sneaker game as well as music, fashion, skateboarding– you name it.  Once trends start popping, they get hyped on the blogs, and dudes all over know about immediately.
Beyond that, there are some distinct styles that are definitely popping in the dirty south.  We carry Nike SBs and I’ve seen the popularity of Blazers grow tremendously in the last few years.  Dunk Highs are a mainstay for us as well, but I’d say the Blazer is our biggest shoe if I had to pick just one.

Frank of Wish: Like I said in the first question, the Jordan Brand get’s this consumer’s attention!

Farshad Arshid of Standard: Well that’s the thing, Atlanta has a little bit of both, and we get the best of both worlds. In the south we don’t adhere to a certain set of rules as opposed to the other one, you’ll see people wearing chucks and the next day he’s wearing forces.

The Southern USAs Sneaker Scene6 The Southern USA's Sneaker Scene: As Told By Its Biggest Players eukicks

EUkicks: Right now sneakers seem to be the ‘in’ thing in many places, would you say that holds true in the south?

Josh of Black Sheep: I think we’ve seen some of the extreme “hype” on sneakers mellow out a little bit, but in a positive way.  A lot of the flash in the pan guys that were claiming they were so hardcore have dropped off or mellowed out. Those dudes are probably jocking the next “in” thing.
We still get people camping out for Quickstrikes and certain releases, but we also see a lot of average guys shopping with us that are simply looking for fresh kicks.  They may not be up on the next hottest brand in Japan, or what some sample pair went for last week on ebay, but they know a solid release, style, or colorway when they see it.  They are also more open to buying different styles from different brands.  They recognize a fresh shoe when they see it no matter what brand it is.  I think that’s a more sustainable model and healthier for everybody in the long term.

Frank of Wish: Well I am not the owner, I am the General Manager and Buyer, but I would say it is a little bit harder down here to get some of the recognition that some of the bigger cities have; however, since I have been here for the last 7 years as a transplant from ‘Philaware’ (Philly/Delaware) I have seen huge growth in the south, it feels good to be considered with some of the other boutiques that have been the pioneers of this industry. All I can say is, ‘other regions watch out, the south is coming up!’

Farshad Arshid of Standard: Growth is an understatement for the business and passion for sneakers. I do believe, genuinely, that things like this go in cycles and kind of have their peaks and highs. Realistically, this thing a few years ago was very much a subculture and underground thing…Now it’s become much more of a mainstream thing, and that is because the mall sneaker stores that used to only carry black and white sneakers are now carrying Dunks, Blazers, Pumps, those were things that they never would have touched in a million years because their wasn’t a market for it and now there is.

The Southern USA's Sneaker Scene: As Told Through Its Biggest Players


EUkicks: As a store owner in the south did you find it harder to make a name for yourself in areas that did not have large sneaker followings like New York City, Los Angeles, and etc.?

Josh of Black Sheep: For me, the south has always represented an opportunity to do something different and meaningful…I’ve met a lot of people that just want to sit around and complain about where they live.  It’s real easy just to move to a big city, but like the old saying goes, “you are your scene.”  It’s up to you to make things happen and nobody is going to do it for you.
This is what excites me about the South, the opportunity to bring something different, original, and new here.  Plus, it’s my home, so I feel an obligation to contribute to the scene in a legitimate way and help build a solid scene here for skateboarding, sneakers, fashion, art, music, etc.  We just want to bring some shine and attention to the area, and let people know that there is a rich heritage, lots of talent, and a good quality of life here.

Frank of Wish: Well I must say the Yeezy release was definitely one crazy event, kids camping out for a week and a half. That was pretty intense. I also must say one event that helps the city is the Sneaker Friends event put together by Greg Street. It feels good to see young people come together in a non- hostile environment and share the same common love for shoes! It is awesome!

Farshad Arshid of Standard: I think when you’re not in a mainstream market what happens is the number of people that are already in tune is much smaller, so what happens is the educational part starts… I wouldn’t say it is harder, but I would say it is more challenging and much more of an undertaking… I would say that in the beginning, and even now, people weren’t so much into the sneaker, but more of this will go with certain outfits that I have… The difference is you have to educate the customer on what they are buying… There were guys that would only wear Nike, but as time changed and people matured new things interest them, and that’s my job, to not only provide them with sneakers, but to educate them.

The Southern USA's Sneaker Scene: As Told Through Its Biggest Players

EUkicks: Are there any memories, or sneaker moments, that you have had as a store owner or collector that you feel are unique or stand-out to your experience being in the south?

Josh of Black Sheep: Something that is probably pretty unique here is our sense of “Southern Hospitality”, we make it a point to take customer service very seriously at Black Sheep. We’re not going to stick our nose up at you for coming in to shop with us regardless of who you are, what you’re wearing, or what and who you know. We talk to everybody and we’re always down to try to special order something for our customers if it’s not in the store and still available. We don’t take our customers for granted and we want everyone to feel welcome and a part of things.

Frank of Wish: Well I must say the Yeezy release was definitely one crazy event, kids camping out for a week and a half. That was pretty intense. I also must say one event that helps the city is the Sneaker Friends event put together by Greg Street. It feels good to see young people come together in a non- hostile environment and share the same common love for shoes! It is awesome!

Farshad Arshid of Standard: The thing that stands out the most to me, and what I enjoy the most is when I see customers walking in that I remember from the first month we were open seven years ago. To me that is the best feeling in the world. Whatever we’re doing there are still people that are loyal and we are still providing something that makes them happy and makes them want to come in. That, and when I see families walk in and teenage kids are here on vacation and the parents tell me, ‘you know what, this was the first stop on his list, and if he comes to Atlanta he has to come to this store.’ To me that’s very flattering and a very humbling experience.

The Southern USA's Sneaker Scene: As Told Through Its Biggest Players

EUkicks: A few books have been published about the rich sneaker history in New York City, especially Harlem; do you think that the sneaker scene in the south is or will ever be as culturally or historically rich as other areas?

Josh of Black Sheep: I do.  I think the South will always have its own distinct flavor and culture whether is our accents, fashion, food, music, or sneakers.  I think the South is just starting to be recognized as having a relevant and significant impact on all these areas.  We’ve got a lot of soul in the South, so it’s bound to happen.

Frank of Wish: I mean you have to pay homage to Harlem and New York City as an entire city for the impact that the city has had on the sneaker culture. I also think that the times were different, everything was being seen for the first time and sneaker culture was fresh! It also mixed with hip-hop culture which made the whole scene rich and enhanced those times! I sometimes wish I was an adult back then just so I could get a feel for when everything was new and get my Paid In Full on! (Laughs) I think the south is coming around in terms of the sneaker culture and it will be considered in the near and upcoming future.

The Southern USA's Sneaker Scene: As Told Through Its Biggest Players

EUkicks: Is there anything you would like to address that I didn’t ask about?

Frank of Wish: Yes, I just want to thank Kicks EU for this opportunity, and A big thanks to all of our loyal customers, we would not be here if it wasn’t for you guys and gals. Wish ATL is going to continue to grow and I can’t thank all of you enough for the support!

The Southern USA's Sneaker Scene: As Told Through Its Biggest Players

SNKR TRKR x EUKicks

918232 100 05 680x480  eukicks
0

Nike Air Max Zero SE “White/Armoury Blue”

918355 001 05 680x480  eukicks
0

Nike Air Pegasus 89 EMB “Black/Anthracite”

919724 004 5 680x480 Jordan Formula 23 Low Cool Grey eukicks
0

Jordan Formula 23 Low “Cool Grey”

BY3008 5 680x480 adidas Climacool 1 Footwear White/Core Black/Grey Two eukicks
0

adidas Climacool 1 “Footwear White/Core Black/Grey Two”

BZ0246 5 680x480 adidas Climacool 02/17 Footwear White/Grey One eukicks
0

adidas Climacool 02/17 “Footwear White/Grey One”

comments powered by Disqus

Hey there!

Sign in

Forgot password?
Close
of

Processing files…