- Written By Demone Carter, @lifeafterhiphop.
- Commissioned by Mixable Media for Sneaker Con Bay Area 2019.
- July 9, 2019, San Jose, California
We humans like to organize history into neat ten year blocks. For every decade of the 20th century we have a compressed collective memory that places disasters, fashion styles, and fads into categories like the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. But as any student of history (or sneaker culture) can tell you the pages of history do not always turn on years ending in zero.
No one understands the relation between space, time, and trends better than culture maven Bobbito Garcia. The groundbreaking DJ, ball player, radio personality and sneaker guru, known to some as Kool Bob Love, has his identified a clear line of demarcation in the arch of footwear history. In his book “Where’d You Get Those?: New York City Sneaker Culture 1960-1987”, Bobbitto explains how the year 1987 was the end of the world (as he knew it):
- “From 1960-1987, the goal in New York was to assert your individuality in a collective frame. The spirit was competitive and progressive, and biting was frowned upon.”
- “The game changed after 1987…..In 87 Nike, launched a $20 million campaign for the (Michael Jordan’s) Air line. Television advertisement for sneakers barely existed before the mid 80’s. Television advertising proved to be effective for sales however, as did the endorsement of the greatest ball player ever”
Nike’s sneaker hegemony which coincides with the explosion of mass media marketing, lifestyle branding, and globalization, has gone on uninterrupted ever since.
So now in 2019 as we watch the supposed death of mono-culture and the mutation of niche markets we can only speculate on what the future of sneaker culture will be. Who better to lead us in to the next phase than footwear futurist Bobbito Garcia?