Alan Vinogradov sat down with us to talk about Sneaker Con’s arrival in Singapore, the mission behind his event and what Singaporean sneakerheads can expect.
Update: March 20, 4:10 pm (Singapore time)
According to a media alert, due to the Singapore Ministry of Health’s mandate that all ticketed cultural, sports and entertainment events with 250 participants or more are to be deferred or cancelled based on the evolving COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation, Sneaker Con Southeast Asia, set to take place at Marina Bay Sands Exhibition Halls E and F on June 20 and 21, 2020, has been postponed until further notice.
Sneaker Con has gone from being one of the very first conventions on the scene in 2009 to being on its current path of global domination.
Sneaker Con is a touring convention that brings sneakerheads together to buy, sell and trade sneakers. In 2019, it hit up Shanghai, Guangzhou, Sydney and Montreal. But after making its mark in the massive markets of China and North America, why Singapore?
Alan explains that sneaker culture doesn’t revolve solely around the US. “The stuff Mark [of SBTG] was doing here in Singapore and stuff happening in Japan really was the development of streetwear. All of this was happening, and we have always wanted to be a part of that story,” Alan said.
This meant hitting up cities like Guangzhou, where there is not much of a streetwear presence – they only have one proper streetwear store. “Other than one store, there was nothing there. Yet, we were able to bring in about 20,000 kids!” said Alan.
Since its launch in 2009, many other sneaker conventions have popped up, like Complex Con in the US and Street Superior in Singapore. “I think it is great as it fuels the culture,” Alan shared, “People are gonna go for things that they really love and share a passion about.” The fact that more events have been running successfully globally indicates a strong and growing community – which really excites the Sneaker Con crew.
Beginning of Sneaker Con
Alan prides himself and his Sneaker Con co-founder and founder of Sneaker News Yu-Ming Wu on creating an event that stays true to its mission – to celebrate what the community loves.
Though they rarely meet, Alan and Yu-Ming text almost daily. They keep it casual, throwing out ideas and running with them. He recalls first meeting Yu-Ming in his tiny corner room office and dropping the idea for a convention. “Everything is kept casual – once it gets too structured and organized you lose the spirit,” Alan emphasized, “If you stop loving it, it is done.”
For the love of sneakers
In the end, the global convention Alan co-created was inspired by his personal love for sneakers. Alan’s first exposure to sneakers happened while he was in school, during a time when Jordans were on the rise. “I was sitting in 7th grade wearing black and red 13s, and the kid next to me was wearing white and red 13s. He was like, ‘Let’s trade’,” Alan recalled.
As he grew older, Alan ventured beyond the streets of New York, stepping into the Japanese sneaker space. His visit to Foot Soldier in Japan stands out the most to him. “I was wearing a heavy metal t-shirt and an employee in the store thought I was part of the crew,” Alan chuckled, “I was just nodding my head because I could not understand him.” In the end, the employee brought out a Neighborhood x Bapesta for him. “It was size 14 and huge but I just bought it. That was how I got fully into it… I knew it retains value, and I knew there is a community that stands behind that.”
That community is the resale market – a big part of sneaker culture; where sneakerheads go to cop grails they took an L on. Alan himself isn’t beyond buying from the aftermarket. In fact, he said SBTG’s AF1 collaboration with Jeff Staple is a pair that he’s actively looking to buy.
Alan hopes that Sneaker Con can be much more than just a large-scale trading pit. “Yes, I do resell, but above that, I am a person who likes to be social and have relationships,” he admitted. “Conventions are an area where people can really meet, and build relationships and communities.”
He flies in the biggest names in the sneaker world for his events, which helps fans meet the people behind their favorite sneakers. For the inaugural Sneaker Con Singapore, Sean Wotherspoon plays the role of creative director.
Looking ahead to the rest of 2020, Alan sees a year that is dominated by Nike. “Nike has the firepower, they have the Air Max 1, the Jordan and now they have the recycled Vapormax, which looks fire,” he said.
Though he’s aware that Kanye has a few hit releases for Adidas lined up, the fact that Nike’s SB Dunk is seeing a revival and that a roster of highly anticipated collabs has been planned out has him anticipating a power-packed year ahead for the Swoosh.
As for Sneaker Con Singapore, “sneakerheads will get to see the Dior Air Jordan 1s and the Travis Scott Dunks live, it’s gonna be really dope,” Alan enthused. The goal is also to draw sneakerheads from around Southeast Asia and bridge the gap between sneakerheads and the creators of their favorite kicks.
But the ultimate aim, Alan said, is that Sneaker Con Singapore will “blow your mind, make you never want to leave and will make you feel sad when it’s over.”
Tickets to Sneaker Con Singapore are on sale now, find out more here.
Are you excited about Sneaker Con Singapore? Let us know in the comments below.