Celebrating five years in the biz, Sneaker Exchange, Africa’s largest sneaker expo turns up the heat in 2018 and returns to Joburg this May with an even bigger and better line-up, including Riky Rick, YoungstaCPTand Patty Monroe. Officially known as the largest sneaker expo in Africa, Sneaker Exchange (SXC) really came from humble beginnings only five years ago but now boasts close to 4,000 attendees per. Known as the place where sneaker collectors and aficionados can buy, sell or trade sneakers, as well as buy locally and internationally produced apparel and footwear, SXC is more than a product expo. The event will also play host to local and international fashion labels, big-name brand activations, food vendors, live sneaker customization, as well as a barber on site. Special guests at the event are Los Angeles-based premium label SANDALBOYZ. Now HYPE coincidentally had an unreleased convo wit founder of SXC Zaid Osman which only makes sense to release right now. In the interview we touch on topics that includes the past, the present and the future which are topics that anyone can spend a long time dissecting in all honesty but we also get his opinions on the current state of SA street culture and hip hop.
let’s start thing off by reflecting back on your past. it’s quite obvious that you are a massive fan of sneakers and streetwear, but when did you realize that this would be your life?
Its crazy, I’ve always been into collecting kicks especially growing up in the states, its second nature out there but when we moved back to South Africa in 2009, I saw a massive opportunity and couldn’t let it pass.
Word. You’ve experienced and witnessed street/sneaker culture in other countries, how would differentiate how the scene is here in SA compared to the scenes in Europe or the states?
Street culture in the other countries is almost second nature. You have people just rocking crazy brands because its accessible, like I saw a 60 year on a train in Berlin rocking Comme des Garçons like its normal, but to them it is. In South Africa, I love that we putting our own touch on street wear, dudes are out here making clothing brands etc, but they just need to be consistent. Its not suppose to be easy, but it can last. Just be true to yourself.
When you conceptualized and created the Sneaker Exchange experience, what were some of the challenges that faced throughout the years that have brought you to this point?
Man I had a lot of shoes and needed to pay bills. The biggest challenge is always money. You want to do amazing activations/crazy line up etc but if brands don’t support it, it becomes very hard because we still not trying to water down the event. Without the big brands, this event will still go on because its passion that drives it.
We are seeing a huge flood of kids coming into the game with an interest of sneakers and threads. some kids are even trying to reach levels of culture authority that you have reached. what would you say are some of the negatives that our culture has and what would you change to help move forward faster?
Honestly, we are growing a culture, so at the end of the day dudes see what you doing and will try to do it, that’s just human nature. Honestly because I love this game, I actually go out and support em but just don’t take advantage of it. To make this game grow faster, we need more dudes pushing consistency, don’t just come out with a range one season then fall off & don’t just do it for the stunt. Do it to grow a community, do it because you’re honestly passionate about it. Do it because you don’t have any other choice. That’s the mindset we need, then we all will win.
We have people that claim to be sneaker heads or hypebeasts. could you just drop your clear definitions of the two?
Honestly I don’t really care if you love sneakers you can consider yourself a sneaker head, but the way I look at it is a hypebeast is someone that just goes to every raffle every week and buys all the hyped up releases they sell on the internet & a sneaker head is someone who goes out and hunts at factory outlet stores, sale racks, etc. but again, all of us like hype stuff too.
Ahh.. we feel you. So What are your opinions on the music side of SA hip hop culture? what’s your take on the growth we’ve had thus far?
Yoh… It’s crazy. Like a lot of the artist have been copping kicks from me for a while, and they’re homies, but to see the level of where they took the game to is next level. Honestly.
Now back to the kicks, what are your top five sneaks you’ve been rocking and why?
I’m always switching it up… I love my:
- Jordan 3s – Always loved them, growing up could never afford it.
- The new adidas EQT – I was gifted a pair, and I actually like them a lot and been rocking them for the last 3 days.
- Prestos – Always loved them.
- Nike SB Dunks Pigeon Joints – Never got the ones back in the day, so when they came out with the second collab had to cop.
- Puma Weeknd Kicks – Love the style of these.
Dope! Unto the threads, which local streetwear brands would you say really have the streets buzzing?
Young N Lazy, Grade Africa, & Sol Sol.
So to end things off, what else is Zaid working on or busy with that we do not know off yet?
I’m really just looking at growing our footprint through out Africa and inspiring kids.
SXC will be in Joburg on Saturday, 5 May 2018 at Fox Junction from 11h00 to 19h00.
Featured images supplied