Kemar Newall: Modern Liaison Between the Collecting and Fashion Industries

Men’s Patent Leather Sneakers by Rei Kawakubo (Designer) Comme des Garçons, c. 1990s
Philadelphia Museum of Art

Kemar Newall, the creator of the FLIP app is an unlikely fashion game changer, but that’s exactly what he is. A dreadlock-wearing, sneakerhead/techie from Brooklyn, New York he’s bridged the gap between the world of collecting with a street style staple-sneakers. Before he started in 2014, one of the only ways dedicated fans could get the latest kicks was to wait in long lines. By taking the obstacle out of the equation, he devised a genius strategy: an auction site. Sellers can post the goods and buyers can acquire them within 90 minutes.

Featured in Nylon, Hypebeast, Coveteur and others, his message is clear-make “trading sneakers accessible and easy for what he calls the “snapchat generation”. Within the sneakerhead culture appearance is important, especially when it comes to their footwear. The way that differs from how fashion has traditionally been viewed is the Yeezy, Nike and Adidas have become as coveted as an “It” bag. But this time the trendsetter wearing it isn’t Kate Moss it’s A$AP Rocky.

A racial and cultural shift has occurred with the sneaker as the impetus. Historically political, with our current climate, the rise of their relevance symbolizes contemporary fashion as succinctly as a charged slogan tee that reads Diversity. Function and cool designs have carried the shoe throughout its history from its inception, in the 1900’s, but recently they’ve also been elevated to art.

Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture, an exhibit originally from Toronto, aptly chronicled why they’re an important accessory. James Dean appropriating the Chuck Taylor’s for rebels everywhere and Run DMC giving Adidas hip-hop cred are just two examples of their instant aestheticism. A pair of Nike Air Jordan I Royal’s can even elevate the standard sneakerhead “garms” equally with a spark of edge and beauty.They allow an otherwise casually attired individual to strut like a dandy. Another phenomenon that’s changed in the fashion industry, making FLIP a revolutionary game-changer, is hip-hop’s prominence. Moving from the back to the front it’s poised to become part of that dual influence.

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