Originating from skate and hip-hop subcultures, streetwear has become a worldwide fashion phenomenon. In 2018, it boosted the luxury retail market by Dhs15 billion, with Dhs2 million coming just from rubber slides. You can't swing a cat in Dubai without bumping into at least 3 pairs of Balenciaga Triple S kicks. But what makes it quite so popular? Well... it all starts with mastering the art of ‘the drop’.
A drop is the release of a new product in limited quantities, and usually happens in unscheduled bursts throughout the year. It’s this limited availability that creates the hype that’s become synonymous with streetwear culture. Take Yeezy, for example. The newest Yeezy Boost 350 v2 drop sold out online in under a minute, though it’s no surprise considering the market for sneakers is worth around Dhs15.4 billion. But what is it that makes it acceptable to wake up at 5am for a new pair of shoes? Aside from a (pretty serious) shopping addiction, it’s the rush of owning a limited-edition item that you won’t see on the feet of everyone in The Dubai Mall.
So, who was the brand that started it all? None other than streetwear giant Supreme. If you (somehow) haven’t heard of it, it's the Dhs3.6 billion-valued streetwear brand that is proof of just how successful a drop can be. It releases a few pieces every Thursday, which inevitably cause websites to crash (its site traffic increased by 10,800 per cent on its last drop) and queues to snake around the block. Supreme’s collaborations with Comme des Garçons and, most recently, Louis Vuitton, have catapulted it into mainstream fashion and made it a household name. It's so popular that even a Supreme brick (yes, really) sold out in minutes and now has a resale value of Dhs3,000. And don’t even get us started on the hair clips and hammers.
Drops are especially effective with the new generation of shoppers, as they not only want unique, limited-edition pieces that make a statement, but they crave newness and excitement – and these unscheduled releases provide just that. This year, even Celine got in on the action and dropped a surprise collection in 16 of its stores worldwide, and we won’t be surprised if other luxury retailers soon follow suit, given the success this strategy brings.
As far as we’re concerned, even if you don’t manage to get what you want, at least you’ll have made friends in the queue.