While they’ve never exactly gone out of fashion, sneakers have rarely been hotter than they are right now. With the return of sportswear to the catwalk and designer trainer collaborations popping up all over the shop (Versace, Raf Simons and Riccardo Tisci have each hooked up with sports labels this year, while even Chanel has taken to sending its models down the catwalk in trainers). But there’s long been a community of dedicated sneakerheads in the capital. And one London event is fast becoming a mecca for them all. Crepe City, founded by trainer (or ‘crepe’) fanatic friends Ronal Raichura and Paul Smyth in 2009, is a collector’s dream: a day-long sale designed to let shoppers get their hands on some seriously hard to find footwear.
It started small – the first CC was held in Notting Hill Arts Club, with ten sellers and 200 visitors – but it has grown dramatically in size (and moved east), becoming officially the largest sneaker shopping event in Europe. This sale, to be held in Brick Lane’s huge Old Truman Brewery, is expected to attract 2,500 visitors. As well as more than 200 trainer and sports clothing stalls, there will be a sneaker-cleaning stand, a swapping station and an exhibition dedicated entirely to Air Jordans.
But back to the buys. Items on sale are an eclectic mix – you’ll find rare boxed vintage Nikes from the 1980s alongside new releases and hi-tech Huarache running shoes alongside LeBron basketball boots, with prices from £20 to four figures. Labels like Puma and Etonic will be previewing new products on the day, a sign of the event’s growing clout. Crepe City also has the power to thrust new brands into the stratosphere, so look out for sportswear by Adyn, laces by Ropes and snapbacks by Modu.
Co-founder Paul Smyth, designer by day and sneaker fiend by night, explains why they do it: ‘We wanted to push and develop sneaker culture in the UK. We thought it would be great to give people passionate about sports footwear a place to meet up and hang out – and seek out their sneakers holy grail.’