10 years ago when Sneakertopia CEO, Steve Harris, asked his son, Zack what he’d like to do after his school, Zack responded, “ Open a sneaker store.”
Fast forward to November 2021, the two year anniversary of the Sneakertopia Museum flagship location in the HHLA Mall and according to NBC News, “Sneakers generated $70B last year in 2020. The results of this influx of “sneaker money” circulating has created many new careers, business opportunities and benefactors. Much is to be celebrated for the increase in diversity and representation as the major brands anoint and appoint new ambassadors such as Virgil, Vashte, Kanye, Ali May, Sean Witherspoon & Serena.
The major crossroads for lack of diversity however remains in the independent & retail sector. According to NBC, only 5% of sneaker retailers in America are Black owned or operated. Sneaker culture is now truly pop culture so how did this disparity come about and how can there be education and support for more diversity in sneaker culture?
As brands like Nike & Adidas have committed to take the initiative to promote more equality starting with their employees and the people who make their products and extending this same commitment to people in the community’s shifts are achievable. The formation of national and local organizations that focus on education, leadership development, coaching and mentorship programs are growing.
Sneakertopia CEO & Co-founder Steve Harris echoes that the key for the future of sneaker culture is with our youth in sports, the arts, fashion & music. “Sneakertopia’s importance in the industry goes well beyond the scope of a regular business. Sneakertopia’s vision and mission is to celebrate creativity expressed through sneakers, which truly has become an art form & currency. Sneakertopia is a media tech company pioneering Augmented Reality and NFTs, and through those technologies we are able to share the diverse and inspirational story of the icons & idols of sneaker culture much more broadly throughout the world, and we are just getting started.”