We may gradually – and very thankfully – be leaving behind the world where what was once a formal or informal meeting had instead become the zoo of a Zoom conference call. And with that, perhaps, will come a change in the sartorial style of our business dress. In a recent issue of the Financial Times, its correspondent in New York, Gillian Tett, wrote: “After a year of wearing sneakers, jeans and shirts, all I can imagine myself buying now are floppy, flowing clothes that are comfortable, flexible and practical. My style sensibility has changed. Wearing heels feels almost unimaginable.”
We shall see (although for me the heels were never a factor!). But let’s go back to where she started, with sneakers. A photo of what were formerly Kanye West’s Nike’s are shown on the home page. He co-designed them and wore them at the Grammys in 2008. They recently became the most expensive item of footwear in history: they were sold for $1.18 million at a Sotheby’s auction in the United States.
The purchaser of this particular pair of sneakers/trainers, call them what you will, was a guy called Gerome Sapp, who made the acquisition through his company, Rares. “If you’re a sneaker head, you know that sneaker,” he said. In case you’re not and you don’t, it is a Nike Air Yeezy 1. “It was the first time Nike did a collaboration with an artist rather than an athlete, and let the artist have a hand in the design it. So there are a lot of firsts around that sneaker.”
We should perhaps think of these not so much as footwear but rather as artwork. They are collectibles. Traders can deal in secondary markets, buying the goods at retail and then selling them on for more later. It is estimated that the sneaker resale business could reach a value of $30 billion by the end of the decade. You may be glad – or wholly disinterested? – to learn that the market has not been adversely affected by Covid-19.