Welcome to Time Out Singapore's 52 Weeks of #ExcitingSG – our commitment to showing you the best of what's going on in the city this week. Every Monday, a guest writer who's "in" with the scene shares a recommendation on what to see, eat, do or buy in the city. This week we speak to Jonathan Fong, co-founder of Singapore's premier sneaker and streetwear convention, Sole Superior. Every year, thousands flock to this event in hopes of procuring some limited edition sneakers, mingling with other sneakerheads or just flexing their gear for the 'gram. This year, the event returns bigger and cooler than ever and at the Pasir Panjang Power Station – prepare your bank accounts and 12 megapixel cameras for the big day.
What gets you excited about Singapore?
Going to gigs, checking out arts and culture happenings, soaking up different scenes, conversing with passionate, interesting (younger) folks, listening to fresh perspectives, ideas, ambitions, dreams. Discovering amazing talent, finding fellow Singaporeans creating cool shit. As an older guy with kids, I do love spending time enjoying nature, quiet and greenery at our parks and reservoirs as well as the use of public library resources. So shoutout to government agencies for the good work that we take for granted!
Tell us a bit about Sole Superior and your role?
I co-founded Sole Superior seven years ago with Dexter Tan, a handsome, younger gentleman I befriended while waiting in line for sneaker releases on the weekends. We were envious reading online about global sneaker conventions and it seemed like no one was ever going to get round to putting one together in Singapore, so we spent over a year laying the groundwork and finally threw the first Sole Superior back in 2013. We’ve had five annual events since that have brought over 12,000 sneaker and streetwear enthusiasts together.
When did your love affair with sneakers begin?
In my tween years, when suddenly materialism suddenly surges from the loins of adolescence. I recall an unusual obsession about the brand of my wallet (had to be Ocean Pacific) and a fixation on sneaker commercials that led to me begging my parents for a pair of LA GEAR hi tops from Queensway. Like many other grown men sneakerheads, mine is the familiar tale of always longing and wanting but being too broke to buy anything fly in my teens. Foolishly, we overcompensate for lost nostalgia once we have full time employment as an adult.
What’s the most rewarding thing about running an annual sneaker convention?
We’ve been privileged to work with some amazing local illustrators to do our event posters who have gone to greater success working with amazing global clients. It’s also nice to hear compliments on social media sometimes, especially if it’s younger kids who don’t have much money but ended up winning something cool or just having enjoyed themselves discovering more on the history, culture or design. At the end of the day it just comes back to us as consumers and fans wanting to create an event that we would be excited to attend and I’m happy to say that we’ve been able to do that and improve with every year.
How is this year’s Street Superior going to be different?
For the first time we are working with an events partner to co-present the event together. Venue size is much larger; the event is 2 days for the first time and over longer hours. There will be loads more cool stuff like art, food, music and more surprises. We’re also giving away a ridiculous amount of prizes – beyond super coveted sneakers.