It was a moment of history and grandeur as sneakerheads, sneaker collectors, fashion enthusiasts, athletes and entertainers converged on Lagos Oriental Hotel over the weekend for the inaugural launch of Sneaker Fest in Nigeria.
The event which was put together by a group of talents and sneaker fanatics was set to bring together "sneakerheads" and celebrate and further promote the Sneaker culture in Nigeria.
"Our goal was to set out a mission to gather all the sneaker fanatics in Nigeria, with Lagos being our first target and make it a gathering of people who love sneakers, who also view sneakers beyond just a pair of footwears. To us, it is a culture," says Sneaker Fest founder, Ikemesit Baadblood.
Research and market statistics have revealed that the world and indeed, Nigeria has a lot of sneakerheads.
According to research website statistic.com, "In 2020, revenue in sneakers was valued at US$362m, with a forecast projected market volume of US$626m by 2025."
Speaking on how the team was able to pull off a show despite the challenges surrounding the year, Sneaker Fest co-founder, Babajide Agboola, shared with pressmen the measures applied by the team.
"We understood the impact of the pandemic that has hit the world in 2020 and made sure to ascribe every safety precautions and follow every instructions laid down by the Lagos State Government."
"Despite Sneaker Fest being the first ever sneakers event in Nigeria, we had a sold-out festival and gave Lagos a long-lasting memorable fest," he added.
The event, hosted by content creators Saghana and Beryl Chiamaka had its attendees engaging in different fun moments like Rap Battles, Sneaker Runway Show, Treasure Hunts, and much more, where every winner went home with a pair of sneakers worth not less than US$350 each.
Also speaking with Nigerian YouTuber, who also doubles as the only Nigerian female unboxing sneakers on Youtube, Olufunmilayo "Funmi Ville" expressed her excitement for being a pivotal part of the festival.
"I was so excited when my husband, Ikemesit Baadblood, shared this dream of hosting a sneakers festival with me. I'm glad it is finally here and most of all, it turned out more successful than we thought," Funmi Ville said.
The event also featured a Basket Ball Slam Dunk Competition, with everyone gathered around the Basket Ball geniuses to witness them go head to head for the price of a pair of sneakers.
"I can't believe there can be an event where more than 25 authentic sneakers were given out for free. I didn't believe this until I came here and saw it myself and I'm happy to be one of those who won," says one of the guests at the event.
"The highlight of the event for me was when the founder gave out a new pair of Jordan 6 Doernbechers 2019 worth of US$3000 sneakers to someone, I wish I had that," says another attendee.
Art by Bello, who had designed the massive artwork seated at the venue corner believes Sneaker is art and it has to be fully expressed;
"As an artist, I believe fashion is a reflection of art and there is no fashion without a pair of kicks," Bello said.
Social media influencer and fashion enthusiast, Ife the Vamp defines Sneakers as a reflection of what people go through and a representation of their lifestyle.
"I honestly feel sneakers have a lot to do with a person's style and a representation of what they've been through. To me, Sneaker is an art representation and that's why we are all here today."
Meanwhile, sharing more insights on how far the team had gone in publicising the pace-setting event, Lead Publicist, Phero Media, Funke Oshin, reiterates that the agency's collaboration with Sneaker Fest has endeared an expansion in its global presence, making sure Sneaker Fest maintains a prominent space in the public's eye.
Also helping in the public technical visibility, Funke Oshin added that the team had Aibee-Iberedem Nkereuwem of OddInstinct making sure that the event is authenticated and meets technological standards.
When asked about the plans for the future, Ikemesit said, "We are happy that our dreams came to pass today and this serves as an ignition for us to do more. Next year, we have a lot for sneaker fanatics and Basket Ball lovers but we will be kicking off with a Basket Ball Slam Dunk Competition. We can't wait to kick this off."
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