One of the most interesting tidbits of news to come out of the recent Project trade show, was news that The Collective, headed by Seth Gerszberg, a co-founder of Marc Ecko enterprises, had purchased sneaker site SlamXHype. It’s not clear when this deal went down but SlamX is now described by The Collective on its site as a “premiere multi-channel streetwear and lifestyle media & retail company.”
We’re not sure what current roll SlamX’s founder, Adam Bryce, holds if any, but part of the plan is to use the site to promote brands of interest to The Collective as needed and also to convert current Marc Ecko brick-and-mortar stores (not part of the deal that sold all of Ecko Unltd to Iconix earlier this year we guess) into SlamXHype stores, which will presumably be populated by far more relative brands like Alife, which is also owned by The Collective.
What do the streets have to say about this deal and its potential? The handful of people who commented at Project were split…apparently Seth Gerszberg is a bit of a polarizing figure in the business.
Streetwear clearly has become a big business and brands are now looking to cash in on their original ideas and hard fought-for ventures. It’s fascinating for me personally because I recall interviewing one of the founders of Alife for Footwear News magazine in 2001, not long after the store was launched.
Back then the word streetwear didn’t even exist and the concept of a curated sneaker store seemed a bit odd. (I remember assuming they’d all be too expensive for me to ever afford but was assured by my subject there were pairs priced under $100.) But really it was a startlingly simple formula: a curated selection of sneakers displayed using luxury fixtures and marketing techniques. It was the best kind of new idea, one upon which the customer was waiting to be created. However, the days of brick-and-mortar innovation as driven by exclusive sneaker and tee-shirt stores are long behind us. As such it will be interesting to see how The Collective’s take on streetwear-driven retail fares and what it does to the category and its perception among the cool set. Should be interesting.