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The trend of Deconstructed Sneakers

From Martin Margiela and sacai to Virgil Abloh and Undercover

The trend of Deconstructed Sneakers From Martin Margiela and sacai to Virgil Abloh and Undercover

Do you know the philosophy of 3%?
It's all a matter of perception. You know, big changes scare and destabilize, and this is true in every field. It's always hard to accept something you don't know or you're not used seeing, something you don't recognize immediately. 
Virgil Abloh describes this philosophy when talking about the process of deconstruction and reconstruction of his massive success "The Ten", the collaboration between Nike and Off-White which saw the restyling of 10 iconic silhouettes made by the Beaverton company. 


Behind the creative process of the current Louis Vuitton creative director of menswear, there's the influence of one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Marcel Duchamp. He's the mastermind behind 1913 ready-made, the process aimed at transforming a mundane object into a piece of art just with the intervention of the artist. The intervention though must be minimal - just think of the mustache drawn on the Mona Lisa (L.H.O.O.Q) or the upside-down urinal (Fontana) - because, as I was saying, the object must remain familiar to the eye of the viewer but at the same time it will appear innovative thanks to a small change. 


The 3% philosophy is precisely this, changing an object just enough to turn it into a unique piece, an item never seen before, an absolute innovation without distorting its aesthetic. 
For a few years now, the trend of decostruction design has become the heart of the sneaker world, all the most important releases are characterized by collaborations with brands with the likes of ACRONYMMaison MargielaCOMME des GARÇONSMartine RoseUndercoversacai, of course Off White, but also with artists like Tom Sachs and Peter Tillessen who revisit and change classic silhouettes, reinvent them, and turn them into something brand new that draws the attention of all the sneaker heads, becoming an instant must-have piece. 


At the same time, quite unexpectedly and with great success, another 'twin' trend has developed, the sneaker customization. According to StockX, the parallel market of customization is now valued around 1 billion dollars, an astonishing figure if we compare it with the real number of people owning a customized sneaker, that's to say the 10% of the usual customers. The expansion of this particular trend has become the fertile ground for real artists of the industry to develop and succeed, names like Dominc Ciambrone aka The Shoe Surgeon - probably the most famous and most respected artist in the sneaker customization industry at the moment. The trend is pretty big also here in Italy, Jacopo De Carli and his Dcj has reached the fame thanks to the art of customization. 

A consideration on this issue, though, is in order: it's pretty clear that the vast majority of new releases involves classic silhouettes, not newly-born ones. The trend takes inspiration from itself, this system risks to saturate the market, making it repetitive and filled always with the same shoes - the release of the sacai x Nike LDV Waffle Daybreak and Undercover x Nike Daybreak one right after the other is an example of this. 


As it's natural even this kind of bubble around the sneaker world will eventually blow, as it has already happened with other trends. All these references to the past and these constant revisitations might be signs of the fact that we are already walking over the hill.