When somebody talks to you about sneakers and Spain you may have several memories and stages. First of all, Barcelona will probably be your first thought, and I’m not saying it because I’m from Bcn.
The Mediterranean Capital it’s been one of the trendiest cities in the sneaker and streetwear world, and 2005 was the most exciting year. Cool sneaker boutiques were opening its doors as LimitEditions, 24 Kilates or Trustnobody. And at the same time the biggest fashion show in the world at that time decided to move to Barcelona, we are talking about Bread & Butter.
So this equation of happenings made Barcelona one of the epicenters of the industry, having the most relevant people together twice a year.
So this meant that you could be walking around “Las Ramblas” and meet people as: Jeff Staple, ALIFE crew, Supreme crew, Crooks & Castles owners, The Hundreds founders, Highsnobiety founders, Hypebeast founders, LTD magazine editor-founder, FRANK 151 editor-founder, Sneaker Freaker founder…
I could name around 50 real key players in the market that were attending the show and the city, including creative directors and main managers from all brands.
It was a glorious era, all the best brands were sold on the nicest stores, Barcelona could be like NYC or at least its sneaker stores. Any sneaker release was sold out in less than two days all over the country.
Right now you would probably think “Wow this guys had a lot of fun and business at the same time!” and the answer is “Yes” but not as much as you thought. Obviously all this energy, meetings, business associations or collaborations that emerged were a huge push for the sneaker industry in Spain but it was like a “Bomb!”.
Anywhere in Spain in less than two years people were opening a “Sneaker Boutique” and behind all major brands were selling them their “cool limited products”, so at the end there was no more “cool limited products” and more or less the same situation was happening all over the world, but the fanaticism generated in Spain was not natural.
In July 2009 Bread & Butter leaves Barcelona and goes back to Berlin, so all this industry players removed Spain and Barcelona from their scheduled business trip calendar during the year. The famous “crisis” was starting, and the “closing process” was even faster than the “opening process” from all sneaker and streetwear boutiques.
Even that at first this was not pleasant to watch, over the last years we noticed that this situation resulted in a weird kind of evolution: the sneaker market grew up. Just a few are out there after the limited editions, while most of the sneaker lovers are still buying shoes, valuing their functionality and usability. The consumers got smarter and now they appreciate a store that offers variety and quality at a fair price.
Other good thing about this change in the scene was the end of the elitism associated with this industry. Now everyone can buy a good pair of Air Max or a nice vintage edition.
We keep in our minds all those incredible moments we had, but we have to accept that right now we are in the natural evolution stage.
Everyone in this business, small stores, big sportswear chains, bloggers, magazine editors and brand managers, are working together to keep the sneaker scene in Spain stronger than ever.
Check out my crate on Sneakerpedia here http://www.sneakerpedia.com/users/257
Sneaker Freaker Spain Editor