You haven’t truly experienced street culture at its most severe until you’ve witnessed a coveted sneaker dropping in Shanghai. The world’s second most populated city with a little over 24 million residents, the Pudong region is home to Innersect, one of the most exciting street culture events in China.
We decided to explore the red-hot Chinese market this year with our own booth, bringing the Highsnobiety Shop into the physical realm. In addition to re-releases of our collaborations with Chinatown Market and Stranger Things 3, we also debuted two exclusives: a murdered-out Mizuno WaveCreation WaveKnit sneaker done in partnership with venerable Japanese retailer BEAMS, and a version of our City Series tees and hoodies paying homage to Shanghai.
Brands far and wide showed up to offer Innersect exclusives as well. Streetwear phenom Verdy created a gift shop with gear from Girls Don’t Cry as well as his other label Wasted Youth. NEIGHBORHOOD teamed up with P.A.M. on some covetable pieces, and Nike and Jordan Brand dropped two of the weekend’s hottest sneakers: the CLOT x fragment Black Silk Air Force 1 and Edison Chen’s White Silk Jordan 1 Mid.
If you thought things got crazy on the SNKRS app or on line at your local shop, then you should really see how they do it at Innersect. The first day of the convention brought out more than 60,000 people, and when you divide that by how limited the availability of these kicks are, then you can already imagine the rest.
Among the standouts of the event was Arsham Studio’s installation with APPPortfolio. Daniel Arsham got the rare opportunity to make his mark on Mickey Mouse, and created several different iterations of a stuffed version of the character. He also debuted a miniature version of his “Hollow Mickey” piece originally made for the traveling “Mickey: A True Original” exhibition. What makes these pieces even more collectible is that they’ll only be available in China, which is sure to send Arsham collectors around the world running to resale platforms hoping to cop one.
“I really went back, looking at the origins of some of Walt Disney’s first original works, and there’s a 1936 cartoon called ‘Through the Mirror.’ It’s kind of like an Alice in Wonderland feeling where Mickey actually steps through a mirror into the other side, and everything in that universe is backwards and upside down,” says Arsham of the inspiration behind “Hollow Mickey.”
Daniel Arsham also joined us onstage to discuss our book The New Luxury, working with Dior, and what it felt like to see the Dior Jordan 1 in person. He pointed out the great lengths the luxury house went to in order to not just recreate the shoe in its own ateliers, but elevate the quality through the savoir faire of its artisans. He also shed some knowledge on why he enjoys showing in China — his Shanghai exhibit just wrapped up a few weeks ago
“There’s a sense that I have about the Chinese audience… their understanding of culture is much more broad than what we have in the U.S. and Europe, which I think is so weighted by history,” says Arsham. “Somebody here, they’ll look at a sneaker and an art object, and they don’t distinguish so much between the two. That’s kind of how I am. I feel a little bit of a kinship with that.”