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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Must have kicks: Niche marketing is a hedge against recession

Chicago hip hop is the champion of fashion-heavy lyrics thanks mainly to local rappers like Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco. The propensity among Echo Boomers to look retro has seen a return to 90s colourful clothing and “old-school” Nikes and Reeboks. The same trend is being followed by other kids in other cities who clamber for nice clothes at good prices. When the duderific Nike Air Yeezy hit the street last month sneakerheads sat all night outside a Chicago store (St Alfred Inc.) for the privilege of being the first to own a pair of Kanye West’s designed shoes. There were 18 pairs available and a few more hip hoppers waiting in expectation. Needless to say the new shoes which retail at a suggested $215 sold for a lot more. ‘Shoe happenings’ like this are not uncommon as hardcore sneaker freekers clamber to own the limited editions and hard-to-find kicks. Indeed experts believe this footwear fanaticism is helping niche stores hedge against inflation. Clothing retail sales generally in the US fell 6.5 percent in April compared with the same month last year, according to data released by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce. St Alfred Inc. like other hip shoe stores around the globe encourage shoe happenings because of the publicity it brings. The Chicago store also carries many highly valued out of stock items no longer found in other stores. The buying trend is people want vintage merchandise and are quite willing to pay top dollar for it. Cash or credit these are ‘must have’ items for the collector and shoe fashionista alike.

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