Mona Maine de Biran


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T'is the Time for Sneaker Social Statements...

T'is the Time for Sneaker Social Statements...

NYFW is upon us and so are the limited edition sneaker releases. So many gifts to give and so many choices! Among them are an incredible amount of collaborations pairing brands like Converse, Adidas, Asics, and Karhu with figures like Colette, CLOT, Daniel Arsham, and Kith. Bordering on novelty, some of these sneakers are a wardrob feature unto themselves.

Not just a sneaker but a social statement.

Since the '80's, sneakers have held a particular cachet. You don't have to be a sneakerhead, a subculture for avid sneaker collectors and hobbiests, to know someone who owns a $500-plus pair of sneakers. You may even be looking at one in the mirror. The number of sneakers, like Nike Mag 2016 (Auto-Lacing) shoe averaging $26,000, that will set you back 5 figures seems to increase exponentially every year. But you may need more than money to score a pair of the hyper limited Pink Pony Charlies from No. If at first you don't succeed, try influence (or the help of a hot-shot, Hollywood stylist like Ann Caruso.)

Bygone days of being first in line the day of the release with a fist full of cash and walking out with a limitted edition pair are definitely over.  You'll now have to find your way to the likes of Art Basel to be among the firsts to get the latest pair of the Air Jordans 1s. They are supposed to be released in a drop amongst the international jet-set.

But is ALL you want your shoes to say just "I'm rich, connected and gorgeous?"

If not, then enter stage left the mysterious Nike Air Force 1 Low Split. A clean Black and White color with a Yin-Yang theme, it is a mighty stylish shoe with a message to boot. Nike's incorporation of this Chinese philosophical principle of Yin-Yang is a not-so-subtle social statement for those in-tuned and tuned-in enough to notice.

Ancient Yin-Yang principles, perhaps the genesis of the modern philosophy of inclusion?

Dating back to approximately the third century BCE, at its core the Yin and Yang principle holds that all things that exist have inseparable opposites (female-male, dark-light, old-young) and therein is an equality and balance in power. All is One and even at the heart of the Yin, exists a bit of Yang. 

Interestingly, the mythology has it that Yin and Yang were born from chaos. It's hard not to find parallels in these times of intense divisiveness, unwinding and unrest. This message of inclusion as a brand, not just as an after thought, has certainly taken off in 2017. The masses (especially the young) clamor for brands that message equality, inclusion and unity and the evidence can be seen from established tech leaders like Apple and disruptive beauty start-ups like Kierin NYC. Kierin's energetic black and white chevron, symbolic of the Yin-Yang energy in motion, is a clear modern take on the message of One. 
Thankfully, I am free to rejoice for yet another season as a style conscious yet flat-soled die hard, sneaker lover. And happier for the fact that this year, in addition to a dizzying number of ways to express personal style, I now have options to express my personal truths. You'll see me sporting Yin-Yang sneaks to show onlookers that, while I'm down with the frivolity of fashion, I'm still very serious about social causes (I'm also thankful that I won't have to sell a kidney to afford it.)

What will your sneakers say about you in 2018? Manhattan Minds wants to know! FOLLOW and JOIN the conversation on social media: @ManhattanMinds on Instagram, Pinterest , Facebook , LinkedIn and @Manhattan_Minds on Twitter.

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Author: Mona Maine de Biran

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