There are a lot of sneaker events around the world. Some, like Sneaker Con, are huge and dwarf others in their hype and reach. Others are smaller but therefore tailored to a more specific audience. Germany’s Mesh & Laces is one such sneaker event, whose focus is on building community beyond buying and re-selling kicks.

Community and the culture it builds lie at the center of Mesh & Laces’ program. Ahead of the next event — being hosted in Berlin on October 31 — we sat with founder Luka-Jonas Heske, who shared his vision for the event, why he started it, and what effect the Coronavirus pandemic had on the culture in Germany.

What is mesh & laces and what makes it different from other sneaker conventions?

Mesh & Laces is about more than just sneakers. I wanted to create an event that connected a lot of different subcultures and types of sneakerheads. Everything from hype kids and football fans to mainstream consumers and vintage collectors. That’s why the sneakers featured at the event are so varied. It gets boring seeing the same hype sneakers on every single table. Community involvement is also something we try to stress at our events. For example, I left it up to the community what color scheme we used for the merch.

What role does Community play in for Mesh and Laces?

I am part of the community myself, having been on many events and conventions in the past as a guest or seller. So I know what makes me happy and try to make those that come to Mesh & Laces just as happy. Without the community, there is no vibe and just ends up being a buying and selling event. Seeing people laugh and trade stories just because of sneakers is great. That’s also why I’ve set it up to be more of a hangout spot with table tennis, a gaming corner, and more.

What does the ideal sneaker event look like to you?

Happy Faces, good vibes, great music, LOVE!

How have you seen sneaker culture change over the years and how has that been reflected in sneaker events/meet-ups?

Everything changes over time, so you can’t make the mistake of standing still. Obviously, there are a few things in modern sneaker culture that I don’t like, personally. But that’s just how things develop. I try to just stay in my own lane, do my own thing, and hope that people appreciate it. Really, everyone can and should be a part of the community they want to be a part of.

Do you think there have been some positive changes?

Corona was a tough time, but I think it’s made a lot of people realize how important the community aspect is. People want to see each other, touch each other, and talk to each other. I don’t know if positive change is the right word, but more of a realization of what’s important.

How would you like to see sneaker culture and the community develop going forward?

Everyone needs to stay true to themselves and let others do what they want to do. Focus on yourself and what you want the sneaker community to be for yourself. This hobby, the event, it’s taught me a lot over the years — especially about what I want to get out of (and put into) the sneaker community. I’m already looking forward to the next one.

The next Mesh & Laces event takes place in Berlin on October 31.

To stay updated on everything happening in the sneaker world, check out the best sneakers to add to your rotation this week, follow @highsnobietysneakers on Instagram, and sign up to our newsletter for early access to the best drops sent straight to your inbox.

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