Snkrdunk begins its global venture with its very first overseas flagship store at the heart of Singapore’s shopping district. Located at Mandarin Gallery, the two-storey unit houses over 500 coveted sneakers from brands like Nike, Adidas and New Balance. We caught up with Snkrdunk CEO Yuta Uchiyama to better understand the vision behind the decision to have physical retail stores and why culture, community and collaboration are pivotal to the brand’s retail strategy.
Can you explain why Singapore was chosen as the location for the flagship store?
Reason 1: Singapore is the epicenter of the APAC region and as we look to venture into other countries, we think it would be a really good hub for logistics and operations.
Reason 2: There are a lot of startups, companies and infrastructure that are very IT-friendly in Singapore. So we think it’s a very good environment for us to expand from.
Reason 3: As a whole country, Singapore is constantly growing both in population and capital. So we wanted to get Snkrdunk to enter the Singapore market and become one of the main brands for sneakerheads.
What is unique about the Snkrdunk store?
One of the highlights is that we have over 500 hype sneakers in the store. It’s all hype sneakers that you can’t get at any other retail store in Singapore. We also hope to bring the Japanese culture of collaborations over and host them in this store. We plan to do pop-ups with brands as well. So this can be something Singaporean sneakerheads can look forward to.
Snkrdunk has seen success as an app, why the decision to set up physical retail stores?
We want to spread Japanese sneaker and street culture. I think people need to actually feel, interact with and look at the physical item – not just look at it online. So they can come to the Snkrdunk store to experience the sneakers. And to reach the Singaporean sneaker culture, it’s a must to have a physical store that people can come to. It is to build the culture and community around sneaker and streetwear fashion.
What are some plans that you have in the pipeline for the Snkrdunk store next year?
We plan to bring major Japanese brands into Singapore and Singapore brands over to Japan. We want to have collaborations that are between Snkrdunk, Japanese and Singaporean brands. We already have a few planned.
What elements of Japanese sneaker culture will Snkrdunk bring from Japan to Singapore?
Collaborations play a significant role in Japanese streetwear culture. It started in Japan and has been happening for over a decade. We want to become a hub for sneaker collaborations and bring together brands through our platform.
That said, icons like Hiroshi Fujiwara didn’t intend to start a culture, he just wanted to hang out with friends. But that led toproducts that built up a culture. So we don’t want to make a plan for it. It could happen, but there’s no goal for it.
How did you first get into sneakers? How has your passion for sneakers evolved over the years?
I started back in middle school when our school had a strict rule that you could only have white sneakers on. So most of us wore Mizunos, which was the old school brand. Some kids wore all-white Air Force 1s which was considered cool back in the day. It’s how it started for me.
Gen Zs are slowly beginning to embrace sneaker culture. How does Snkrdunk cater to a new generation of sneakerheads?
We have a media team in Singapore that is using things like SNS (social networking sites) to reach out to Gen-Zs, tell stories with KOLs (key opinion leaders) and stuff like that. We intend to build a community tab on our app so people can exchange information and media. We use these platforms to offer Gen-Zs lots of information on what is hyped and what’s not. We want them to be able to share information and interact on our platforms.
Snkrdunk has more than 100 of the most coveted sneakers on its walls. Name your personal top 5.
My top five sneakers are the Stussy Air Force 1 Wheat Low, Air Jordan 1 Storm Blue, Stussy Air Force 1 Mid White/Black, Air Jordan 1 SB Defiant and number one is the Air Jordan 1 85 Low in White. I wear this every other day in Japan.
What are your thoughts on Singapore’s street fashion and sneaker choices?
First, no one seems to like high cuts here. Everyone seems to opt for low cuts. But everyone is so fashionable.
It’s like 365 days of summer here and I would just stick to t-shirts and shorts. But people really are fashionable and wear cool clothes paired with nice sneakers. Even though there’s no winter they still dress up – it’s so cool. It’s really quite similar to Japan and at the same level to me.
This interview has been edited and condensed.