You may have noticed the line of a people on Larchmont Friday morning. Between 300 and 400 people lined up to get a chance to purchase designer sneakers at Blends shoe store at 141 N Larchmont. The store posted the raffle on Instagram noting that only 200 tickets would be available, first come first served for a chance to purchase the Off White x Nike Air Vapormax Flyknit shoe design by Virgil Abloh, best know for his production of high end streetwear.
The shoe, explained store employee Liborio Moreno, was part of a series of ten shoes designed by Abloh, who was recently named the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear line making him the first person of African Descent as leading the brand’s menswear line, as well as one of the few black designers at the helm of a major French house. Abloh, whose parents are from Ghana grew up in Chicago where he earned an undergraduate degrees in civil engineering and a Masters in Architecture. As the art director for the 2011 Jay-Z / Kanye West album Watch the Throne, Abloh was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Recording Package. His brand Off White has had sold out collaborations with major brands including, Nike, Kith and Jimmy Choo.
For the uninitiated, the shoe, would retail at $250 if you could buy one of the limited pairs. But many, end up re-sold for hundreds more. We found a pair for $1,000 on internet.
“They only release a small number of shoes, so the scarcity drives up the price,” explained Moreno.
Moreno says the store is very clear about how they handle the shoes. They only sell what they have, usually 2-3 pairs in every size, and they never hold any back. He said, they try to be really considerate of the other retailers on the street when they have these special events.
“We try to keep it organized and make sure people don’t block the other stores and clean up any trash that’s been left on the street,” said Moreno. “We heard from some businesses, like Jamba Juice, it was a really good day for them with lots of people in their store.”
But Friday was unusual for Blends, most of the time they service the neighborhood, explained employee Jonny Carter, whose been working at the store for years.
“Our customers are mostly locals, people from the neighborhood coming in to buy sneakers,” said Carter.