Sneaker culture has historically been all about the flex, the drop, and the hype, but consumer awareness of environmental issues has placed the industry in the spotlight. As demand for iconic shoes continues apace, do sneakerheads actually want a more sustainable industry?
Nav Gill is a creative consultant and writer who specialises in fashion, streetwear, sneakers, and pop culture. She’s worked with some of the world’s biggest sports brands, fashion houses, and luxury retailers, and her bylines have appeared in Nylon, Hypebeast, Luisa Via Roma, Sole DXB, Mr. Porter, and other publications. Nav has presented digital lectures at the Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design, been an industry judge at Graduate Fashion Week, a guest panellist for Adidas Originals, and previously acted as editor at Hypebae. She’s the author of the upcoming book She Kicks, a publication that’s dedicated to female sneaker culture and women in the industry.
Daniel Navetta, aka ‘The Air Vegan’, is the founder and director of creative agency Bryght Young Things, as well as the co-founder and editor-in-chief of eco-conscious platform FUTUREVVORLD. His work as a director and producer has earned him recognition from the Tribeca Film Festival, the American Film Institute, the International Documentary Association, and nods for multiple MTV awards, as well as a GRAMMY nomination. His work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Brooklyn Museum. He was also the co-creator of the Business of Hype podcast on Hypebeast.
Maartje van den Hurk is a freelance creative and sneaker connoisseur. She’s also a senior insight expert at MARE Amsterdam, a qualitative and trend research agency. Van den Hurk hosts the Queens and Sneakers podcast for Sneakerjagers, the sneaker search engine.
Having weaved a career that started in PR and social, and led to journalism before turning to the dark side (brand side), Mariella is able to execute all kinds of projects. From research to editorial, ideation to creation. Mariella worked within the fashion industry - both in London and Dubai - for over ten years at publications and brands such as Bustle, ELLE UK, Ounass, Wednesday, MATCHESFASHION.COM and Grazia Middle East. Now, Mariella focuses her energy on culturally conscious conversations, whether that’s consulting and strategising for her clients, or writing about positive escapism, sustainable style, mindfulness and women empowerment.
In the ever-changing world of NFTs, utility is becoming an increasing demand for collectors of digital art. Through a partnership with Nike, RTFKT is facilitating this jump to phygital offerings in the Web3 consumer market, using advanced technology to bring its metaverse sneakers tangibly to life.
Swiss running brand On has launched a pair of sneakers that are 100% recyclable and available only through a subscription-based model. While the fashion world is steadily warming up to the idea of upcycling and recycling, this initiative fully embraces a closed-loop system to tackle waste.
Scarcity and exclusivity were the pillars upon which the modern sneaker market was built, but with brands rushing to claim dominance through collaborations and countless drops, these factors are losing relevance for many buyers. So, how do sneakerheads now determine the value of footwear?
Chunky sneakers, dubbed ‘dad shoes,’ are increasingly popular with younger generations, offering both comfort and nostalgia. Prized for their practicality over their appearance and commonly donned by lawn-mowing fathers, the shoes are fueling resale markets online and inspiring contemporary designs.