May 30th 2015, Calgary experienced a first for the sneaker community, our first sneaker expo in the form of UNDS.
Brought to the city by YYC SOLEdiers’ team of four hard working sneaker lovers, it took 8 months of organizing and preparation.
Having done the photography for event organizer Albert’s Legal Hustle Clothing SS15 look book, I was asked to photograph the event. Being part of the first sneaker event in my city is something I could not refuse.
I arrived at the venue which was the Chinese Cultural Center in Chinatown at 10:30am to talk to the organizers and lend a hand with set up before the doors opened at 12. You could feel the excitement in the room as the vendors set up shop, and when the doors opened, the people came.
When entering, the first thing many noticed was the DJ spinning solid Hip Hop next to Second Mile Barbershop providing fresh fades up on stage. As I would have guessed though, eyes didn’t stay up for too long at a time, rather, they were locked on the floor peeping the on-feet heat.
I was both surprised and proud that the home of the Calgary Flames lived up to its name. Surprised, because we’ve never had a sneaker event in our city, and the only time the community gathers is at Jordan and SB releases. Proud, because the city showed off with everything from SB’s, NB’s, PE’s, OG’s, AF1’s, Y-3’s, Saint Laurent, Doernbecher’s, Jeremy Scott, and everything in between, proving we were ready to take stage in the Canadian sneaker scene.
The event wasn’t made just for admiring what everyone wore, it was made for that and much more, so let me get to the vendor tables. Some local brands and boutiques came through including Modern Menswear, 6streets, Less17, Lexington Ave , of course Legal Hustle Clothing, and The Source (who had a free raffle for a pair of Lance Mountain x Nike SB x Jordan 1’s in white, that I sadly did not win, among the other four or five great raffles at the event). Not forgetting the good people from Basketball Cookout and the snacks they brought to share. Also, the homies from Gold Teeth Canada who were taking molds for grills and had jewelry on scene for purchase.
The personal collection vendor tables were impressive as well, with some having specific themes like a 1-29 Jordan collection (who also had the only pair of the weekends smash release Chicago 1’s in the house), a old school sleeper table, a Penny Hardaway themed table, a strictly baby/toddler table, Jack The Ripper’s super luxurious customs, and a super vintage table set up like a booth with tee’s and straight 70’s-80’s Nike, Cons, Adidas and Brooks (I actually never saw anyone working it so I’m not sure if it was a personal collection or a boutique). Other tables had everything else you were looking for. Some straight basketball, some new releases, some old releases, some variety (Saucony x Bodega on the same table as Kobe Prelude pack), and one of my personal favourites, a table of size 4’s a female head brought out with nothing but flavour and fire on every row.
All the vendors I spoke with were happy with what went down at their stations. At one point, the event looked like a scene from Braveheart, with rows of people standing at each end of the venue facing the middle as if they were about to square off in battle, the thing that was different was, instead of carrying battle axes and swords, they had cardboard boxes with sneakers.
With a legit check booth in the corner, the trading was about to begin. Andrew P, one of the organizers/emcee, was running around the last 15min of the event slashing the price on his last pair he had for sale so he could walk away with his table sold out, which he did.
I had a great time! It was great meeting new people, as well as putting a face to the people I only knew from their sneaker pics. With 500+ people making their way through the doors, it’s pretty safe to say the event was a success and I can’t wait for part 2 next year!
Check out some on foot photos below and let us know your thoughts.
P.S. The good folks from Sole Good in Edmonton came down to show love! That’s where I’ll be next, June 6th 2ole Good! So catch me there, Braggin’!