Yesterday, I spent the day exploring the local street culture here in Dubai courtesy of
Sole DXB. I know you’re probably thinking, wheeet? Street culture where? Personally, one of the most influential parts of being a transport to a young country like the UAE, is depositing some of your culture into what is already there.
As a result of millions of people transitioning in and out of the UAE for employment and/or tourism, and the recent influx of research through social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter, an appreciation of street culture’s fashion, music and brands has emerged and is continuing to grow.
Sole Dubai attracted many expats and locals; some interested in exploring the origins of Dubai’s own street culture, others as fans of fashion, sneakers, music, and/or breakdancing.
Neoprene sweatshirts from Nomad
Located at Dubai’s Design District,
Sole DXB featured streetwear vendors in a literal “trunk show,” utilizing the hatch of Mini Cooper’s to showcase garments from Juniors be Junior and Nomad [pictured above] among five other streetwear labels.
Melody Ehsani for Reebok
Face Stockholm for Reebok
Sponsored by Pepsi, Mini Cooper and Gatorade the event also featured a basketball tournament, graffiti artists, djs, breakdancing, exhibits from anchor brands, Early Retirement, PUMA, Reebok and Level Shoe District.
alife for PUMA
Reebok Pumps and Kamikazes
There were also selected private sneaker vendors showcasing popular Jordan and Nike brands available for swap or sale. I always gravitate toward Jordan brand, but there were also lots of KD’s, Lebron’s, AirForce1s and Air Max to delight any sneaker enthusiast.
Surrounding the perimeter of the event were exhibits from over 15 participating brands like Ray Ban, Vans, G-Shock, and Corcel with merchandise available for purchase.
Sole also invited guests to attend panel discussions such as Hip Hop and Your Neighborhood, featuring notable influences in Dubai’s street culture including hip-hop group The Recipe and Origins: A Panel with Kish Kash.
Sole Dubai provided me evidence to believe that street culture is developing among the UAE streets. In my day to day when I’m running errands in Air Max 95s or grocery shopping in Jordan 10s, I’ve gotten varied reactions. As with anything different, I think there are some negative perceptions, which ultimately breed a curiosity within the local community.
[A few take aways] Outside of the newest releases and high end sneaker collabs, rarely have I seen, met or heard any other females here with what sneaker enthusiasts would describe as “heat.” I did see a few at
Sole Dubai which was refreshing, but because of this I am interested in seeing how street culture and this event continues to grow each year because it provides the reinforcement of a familiar comfort zone for some expats, especially.
The surface level of street culture is becoming easier to participate in for example sneakers and fashion, but the depth of street culture and street fashion originated from necessity [a conversation I’m def willing to have with anyone] So, the next challenge is how do you invite others, especially local citizens to actively participate in order to grow the streetwear movement here in Dubai so that it becomes not just something to see or do on the weekends, but a way of life?