It is not often that we talk about a commodity that's made readily available and for the people; after all, the notion of proliferation goes against the very basis of the streetwear secondary market. Makes sense if you think about it—why would you buy something at resale price when you just head down to the store to get it.
Which is why at Cop the Drop, items like that is something that we typically avoid. But the world doesn't exist in a binary form; it goes beyond the idea that an item has to be mass or extremely rare. But there is a designer who is able to strut that line so masterfully: Dame Vivienne Westwood. She is both an activist for the betterment of humanity and doyenne of British fashion. From her point of view, fashion is a medium to share her views on the world. Her care for the state of the planet and her craft are doled out in equal measures.
But how does that translate into the topic at hand today? Hear us out.
Yes, nothing is ever truly black or white, or in the case of the sneakers, it doesn't always come in the form of hyped up limited drops or general releases. But as a sneakerhead, you oscillate between sneakers that are easy to get, or you pay through the nose via resale (or finding a plug to backdoor it for you). But the true gems are the ones that are somewhere in between, like this collaboration between Vans and Vivienne Westwood.
Commodity: Vans x Vivienne Westwood slip-on checkerboard 'Destroy' sneaker
Titled 'Anglomania', the footwear collection between the two houses embodies the notion of rebellious freedom of expression. It is punk and counter-culture. Unlike Westwood's previous collaboration with ASICS, this team-up sees her interpreting the house archival prints and graphics on Vans's sneakers. The collection runs deeper than past Westwood collaborations with the launch of six different pairs. From a Sk8-Hi platform sneaker that draws inspiration from the boots in the legendary 1981 Pirate collection, to Old Skool and Authentic silhouettes that features emblems of the house like the lightning bolts and the VW orb.
But our favourite from the collection, and one that is the focus of today's Cop the Drop, is the classic checkerboard slips that feature the 'Destroy' graphic. More than just using the sneakers as a canvas to reinterpret the archival graphics, the collaboration sees the marriage of anti-establishment symbols.
The checkerboard print become a symbol of the breaking of racial barriers, and the slip-ons became the go-to sneaker of the punk musicians of the Ska music wave in the 70s, while the iconic 'Destroy' graphic from Westwood is a call to take down the "the faceless evil which destroys everything by creating depths and wrecking down the planet, if we continue to play this game of the rotten financial system." Even if you don't subscribe to either notion, the sneaker is able to remove itself from its rich narrative and stand-alone as a beautiful piece of footwear.
Where: vans.sg and their retail stores in Singapore
When: 20 Sept 2019
How: First come, first served
Price of the Vans x Vivienne Westwood slip-on checkerboard 'Destroy' sneaker on the resale market in the last 7 days: Peaking at SGD138 with a low of SGD110. The average price is SGD154. (Seems off? See below.)
Recommendation: Avoid as an investment piece.
Now if you are wondering why the average price is higher than the price of the highest sold pair in the last week, there are a couple of factors:
(1) someone bought a pair at a resale price of SGD482 a couple of weeks ago;
(2) there were very little pairs being sold; and
(3) there are probably many pairs being made, thus reducing the need to acquire it on the secondary market.
Thus, when you apply the law of averages, you get this result.
While we do not recommend it as an investment piece, this sneaker holds up with any sneaker that we have ever featured on this series. It is a fresh take on the classic that marries the essence of both collaborators equally, without compromise. Plus what is there not to like about an affordable pair of footwear that looks great, doesn't break the bank, nor require you to jump through hoops to get it?
Before the secondary market trading of limited edition sneakers and garments, there was art. Sure, you might turn a nice profit over flipping a pair of sneakers, but that amount still pales in comparison to the amount that artworks like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Leonardo da Vinci and Willem de Kooning are sold for at auction houses.
While there is a gulf between the art world and fashion, the one artist bridging that divide is Brian Donnelly, aka KAWS. With a start in painting over campaign images around New York City with reappropriated pop culture icons, like Mickey Mouse and SpongeBob SquarePants, Donnelly explained in an interview, “it was a proof of existence thing. I liked the images," says Donnelly. "I painted over them because they were omnipresent.”
The idea of omnipresence is an ethos that is channelled in how he presents his pieces. Think massive floating sculpture in the harbour of Hong Kong or a massive wooden sculpture in Doha's airport. But it's more than the work that is present and visible. Fans are able to bring home a piece of it through vinyl toys or via collabs with brands like Dior Men, UNIQLO and Nike. While the art critics might see this proliferation as a means of devaluation, Donnelly sees it as a way of democratising his work—everyone gets a piece of KAWS.
Commodity: KAWS 'GONE' companion in grey with pink BFF
Donnelly will launch a massive retrospective–KAWS: COMPANIONSHIP IN THE AGE OF LONELINESS–in Australia and will feature 100 pieces of his past works, as well as a brand new bronze sculpture in Australia. The statue titled GONE, is the largest bronze piece he has ever created and features KAWS's 'Companion' carrying the 'BFF' in a Pietà pose; a symbol of a state of contemplation and sorrow. There are three different colourways of the GONE statue as a vinyl toy.
When: 24 Sept 2019
How: online purchase
Price of the KAWS 'GONE' companion vinyl toy in grey on the resale market in the last 7 days: Peaking at SGD2,790 with a low of SGD1,652. The average price is SGD2,232.
Recommendation: Go long
If the recent sale of his artwork, The Kaws Album, which sold for a record USD14.8 million is anything to go by, demand for his work is at an all-time high. That is without mentioning the insane desire for his UNIQLO collaboration. With the launch of the toy, expect the price to dip slightly but look forward to a nice rebound. KAWS might be prolific in his work but these toys do not come around that often. Pieces that are based on his sculptures tend to fetch a higher price than the other pieces. And it doesn't seem like the stock of KAWS would drop anytime soon.
Savvy partnership with brands (like Dior Men) and pop-culture friendly pieces mean that the toy will stay relevant for a while. So hold on to them, if you are looking to make some serious coin.