Highsnobiety / Farel Bisotto

Following a headline-grabbing surprise show with A$AP Rocky, courtesy of Gucci on Wednesday, last night the curtain was raised on this year’s edition of SoleDXB — a two-day sneaker, street style and culture festival in Dubai’s famous d3 design district. The official launch party, co-hosted by Highsnobiety, saw NY OG’s Stretch Armstrong, Bobbito Garcia and DJ Clark Kent step up to the decks together for the first time outside of their home city — a landmark moment that is a sign of things to come.

So, whether you’re going to be in attendance this weekend, or if you’re ready to start looking at flights for next year, here’s our pick of ten unmissable moments we’re excited to see at this year’s SoleDXB.

Just Dala – Meet The Bubbleheads of Cape Town 

Highsnobiety / Imraan Christian

We’re hitting Sole this year, and with us we’re bringing the unlikely story of a group of Nike Air enthusiasts from the Cape Flats – one of South Africa’s most poverty-stricken housing projects.

In collaboration with Photographer and Director Imraan Christian, we’re premiering Just Dala – our documentary, shot in Cape Town, that introduces the world to the local ‘Bubblehead’ phenomenon. In the film, we take a deep dive into South Africa’s secret sneaker culture, and looking at how “bubbles” — sneakers with bubble-like soles — have become a symbol of hope among the country’s poorest communities. Watch the trailer here.

To celebrate the release of the doc, we’ll be posted up with our own ‘Just Dala’ booth, with an exclusive poster zine and one-off photo prints taken from the documentary.

The parties

As mentioned above, this year Highsnobiety co-hosted Sole DXB’s official launch party, with Stretch Armstrong, Bobbito Garcia, and DJ Clark Kent. For the remainder of the weekend, Joey Bada$$ and Yasiin Bey will take up afterparty duties, hosted in the Sweet Cheek lounge.

Dior x KAWS

One of the most hotly anticipated collaborations of the year comes to Sole courtesy of Dior. Their head-turning Ready-to-Wear collection comes to life at a 3-tier ‘brand experience,’ with one-off custom tees along with early access to the entire collection.

The music lineup

Over a series of stages hosted by PUMA, Reebok, and adidas Originals, the weekend will see performances from many critically acclaimed talents from hip-hop, grime, rap, R&B, and garage scenes. Dev Hynes a.k.a Blood Orange, Giggs, Slowthai, South Africa’s rising star, Sho Madjozi, and Masego will perform on Friday, while Saturday’s music arrives via Nas, Lion Babe, Rozanne Shante, and ABRA.

The films

Alongside Bubbleheads, Sole DXB — in partnership with Cinema Akil — will also screen Bobbito García’s Rock Rubber 45. The film is something of a cinematic odyssey, one that explores the global connectivity of basketball, sneaker, and music, and dives into Garcia’s youth, addressing themes of identity and loss.

Talking about the picture, García explained, “I had long thought about writing an autobiography, but after having directed two documentaries, I realized I could very well tell my story with sound and picture, with the goal of impacting my community on a deeper level than my first two projects … by sharing a vulnerable narrative that includes themes of family, identity, and loss that many can identify with, while also opening up about bullying, abuse, and conflict that can be taboo topics to reveal as a man, particularly of the hip hop generation.”

The talks

Music and film entertainment aside, the weekend is stacked with high-profile talent and brand talks on topics concerning streetwear culture. Nas and female MC Roxanne Shante lead the speaker line-up, which includes two presentations hosted by Reebok that include the likes of Pyer Moss-founder and Vogue Fashion Fund winner Kerby Jean-Raymond, and hip-hop photographer, Barrio Claiborne, who’ll also be on hand to sign his book Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop.

Following the screening of Meet the Bubble Heads of Cape Town documentary, Highsnobiety will host a panel discussion with the director and photographer, Imraan Christian, Cape Town rapper YoungstaCPT, and Highsnobiety’s editorial director Brock Cardiner. South African based fashion brand, Unknown Union, will host a session with its President and Co-Founder Jason Storey, alongside the brand’s Creative Director Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) and Art Historian, Dr Barbaro Martinez-Ruiz, whose expertise lies in African and Caribbean arts.

Sweet Chick Lounge

New York staple chicken and waffle joint, Sweet Chick Lounge, is on board for all your comfort-feed needs. Founded by John Seymour and Nas, SOLE DXB marks the first time this chicken shop has gone international, and it’ll be taking over the lounge all weekend.

The flex

As is to be expected from one of the most famously luxurious cities on Earth, Sole DXB doesn’t attract your usual festival crowd. Only the most fire on-foot displays are allowed. Keep it locked for our street style review of this year’s steeziest SoleDXB looks, and peep @highsnobietysneakers on IG for updates.

Senior Staff Writer
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