Back To The Future

Words by Jenkin Au
Photography by Andy Fang
Check out more at the New Vintage Kicks WEBSITE

That’s kind of what New Vintage Kicks are all about. They try to bring the old collectors items back through consignment. This is good not only for the people looking for collectors, but it’s also good for people with the old gear. We had a brief chat with owner Shane Herrera and we talked about his store and the scene.

If you could describe the store as a person, how would it be described?

The inspiration of it is more of a New York style of a boutique. We do consignment so I’m the first consignment sneaker store in Vancouver; that gives me the ability to sell stuff that’s not the newest. I do sell stuff that comes from the accounts but I also deal with a group of collectors so you can get the stuff that you can’t get in stores anymore.

What inspired you to start this store up?

Basically, I came up with the idea when I was in Portland a while ago and I got the idea for this from two things. One was that I had a lot of clothes from my past and I used to be way into clothing and limited style clothing. I went down there, and I wanted to be able to sell my clothing to them as consignment, but they wanted so much of it, like 60% to 70%. I was thinking that it would be cool if someone were to do that, but mainly for sneakers. As I started researching, I found out that in New York, one of the biggest sneaker stores was 100% consignment. For myself, I always wanted to have my own business and combined with this, it would be something completely different.

What would be your dream kick?

There’s a shoe that I have now, the Lebron first all star shoe, and one thing to make it the best shoe would be if that shoe was actually the same shoe that Lebron wore. To me, sneakers are sneakers. I really like having fresh new styles, or a certain style of shoe, but if I had a dream shoe, it would have to be something from an athlete. On my pedestal would be something like a Jordan shoe from Jordan shoe, or a jersey from the actual person.

What is the meaning behind New Vintage Kicks?

Kicks is just kicks, but New Vintage, I figured it would be bringing the old and the new into one thing. To be honest, I didn’t sit around and think about it for a long time. When I was creating the business plan, I didn’t think about the concept and the plan. I kicked around a few of them, and my friend came up with an acronym, and this just sort of came and stuck. I didn’t have a deeper meaning for it.

The recession has hit many business owners hard. How have you kept the HYPE level strong for your store?

It’s been tough. I just try to keep things new and fresh, constantly moving. This is still the first year, so it’s between art, shoes, and different styles, Facebook and Youtube, all helps. When I first started, Facebook really helped. I talked to a lot of people when starting off, and they asked me what I was doing for advertisement, and I told them Facebook. Not a lot of people were using Facebook back then and there’s a lot of free advertisement available out there. Some people that I know have written up on blogs and different entries.

Do you think the blog scene has positively affected your store?

It can. It’s tough to gauge anything. With sneakers and clothing, and being a new store, it’s not a high priority on people’s list to go and do, and not a lot of people want to go out there and spend $200 on a new pair of sneakers. Because of that, I try to keep the prices really affordable and be a little more selective of what I bring in.

How have you transferred your own personality and experiences into this store? Or is it completely different?

I did it completely myself. Everything you see here, I made it myself, except for the flooring. We had a joke during renovations and we called it “rustic renos” because if you fucked something up, you would just be whatever, it’s supposed to look messed up. I took a lot of inspiration from the New York apartments, so I used the black trims, and the breaks and copper pipes exposed.

With a product like the Jordans, do you think they are over exposed?

Yeah, somewhat. Jordans themselves are such a popular product; it’s hard to deny it. But at the same time, I don’t think that’s the future of where sneakers are going. There’s always going to be the collectors and people that love Jordans and only wear Nike, but fashion is always changing. I have noticed that even now, with the recession, different things are happening. Before, maybe five years ago, it was patent leather and bright colours. Now, brands are starting to go back to the earth tones and the canvass and stuff like that. It’s going with how the world is just going.

What powers do you think a store has on a community?

Ultimately, if I could and I had the following more, I would put back into the community more, especially with kids. With sneakers, it would be cool to start up programs where people can return shoes and give them back to the homeless. I know lots of collectors down in the States and they buy so much that they send it to third world countries. You can do it with all sorts of stuff, like clothing, which is something that I give away.

Do you think people can make an image or their identity with clothing?

For sure. People can express themselves with the clothing they wear. With anyone in the spotlight, for an average person, they think they can be like the people in the spotlight by wearing what they wear. If you want to stand out in the crowd, then people will wear something that stands out in the crowd. The real fashion is to wear something that no one is wearing them, but then a year later, everyone is wearing it, but you’re not wearing it anymore.

What brand would you like to see in your store that you don’t have right now?

I like the idea of having as much as possible. We have all these brands, but it would be nice to be able to accommodate everything. To be honest, I would like to go in the direction of handmade shoes, but it gets tougher and more expensive. I would like to get into the shoes that no one really knows about.

Where do you think the fashion culture is in Vancouver?

Vancouver is kind of strange. It’s divided because you get the street low-brow scene, and then you get the crew that wears the Ed Hardy, and then the crew that opposes Ed Hardy. I find Vancouver to be in the Ed Hardy scene and it’s more of the L.A. style. The low-brow scene is from skate and all that. In New York it’s more hip hop, and AF1’s. From what I see is that Vancouver is more of the Versace and the Ed Hardy, and not so much as the low-brow stuff.

How do you see the competition for street culture stores in Vancouver?

I think any business has competition. Everyone starts to know everyone because it’s such a little big city. A lot of other owners would come in and check it out, but what I have experienced, it’s not really cut throat. People just do their own thing. I try to keep it unique from what I’m selling, and that’s a big reason why I did consignment. I try to carry brands and clothes that no one has. I’m sure there are people that talk shit, but that’s how it’s going to be no matter what, especially with the hip hop culture; it’s all battle and people talking shit. It’s not really my thing and I don’t give a shit what people think.

Have you ever thought about pursuing your own line of clothing?

Definitely. That’s something I originally wanted to go for, but then I side tracked and got involved with other things. It’s not something where I want to make myself famous or whatnot. If you can do it, it just makes you more unique. For example, with Alife, they have their Alife store that sells the brands, and then they got their Alife clothes, and now they’re big. For clothing it’s a little less expensive, but with shoes, it’s a lot more expensive and harder to do.

What is HYPE?

It’s a buildup of expectation. HYPE to me is just a bunch of kids that are so stoked on something that they just sit there and dwell on it. All you can think of is just that item. HYPE to me is not a negative thing or a positive thing, but it can be. HYPE is when there’s something that you just can’t stop thinking about. When it comes to kick, for example, the Nike and the Kanye shoes, they just blew it up. A lot of times, they think back and think that it was such a waste of money, but they’re so glad they did that. If the corporations do it properly, it will just eat away at you until you get it. It can be with anything, even food.