The Hottest New Sneaker Showroom? Check Your Pocket.
Neiman Marcus and Hypebeast are a match made in heaven, and their curated e-footwear experience proves it.
As an avid wear-your-kicks footwear enthusiast, I was skeptical of a “virtual showroom” when I first heard of the joint endeavor by luxury retailers Neiman Marcus and preeminent streetwear tastemakers Hypebeast. After all, the pandemic has forced many to turn to the internet for campaigns and promotions, most of them to varying degrees of crappiness. The premise was there — a labor of love between two titans of industry involving next-level virtual digital recreation and some of the hottest brands on the planet — but as a stalwart believer in the “one kick in the hand is worth two in the e-com bush,” I wasn’t so easily convinced. Then I actually tried it.
The showroom, accessible through Hypebeast’s website, opens with a silver-graded, Matrix-esque loading page. It prompts a click-in, then a curated message detailing the experience. The introduction feels futuristic in an engrossing, not corny, way, almost like you’re booting up a brand new video game. Once you’re through the opening screens, an art gallery que on cyber-steroids appears, eleven blurred images labeled with names quartered across the screen.
Beyond the tangible draw of exclusive styles from designers like Alexander McQueen and Off-White (The Margiela and Balmain styles are next-level excellent), there’s the whole spectacle of it all, and I mean that in a good way. A causal hover-over the virtual shoe clarifies the blurry image, a tap reveals a comprehensive breakdown. Everything and anything I would want to know, from materials down to a personalized QR code for each style, was available at the click of a button and packaged into a cutting-edge design. It truly was some of the coolest e-shopping I’ve experienced.
Nothing can beat an in-person sneaker cop, but the Neiman Marcus-Hypebeast showroom comes pretty damn close. And with the combination of our lives being turned on their head and the recent surge in activity after a year in forced dormancy, maybe an experience like this one, dedicated to making sneaker shopping more accessible and engaging than an Instagram tap or yet another SNKRS app L, is exactly what we need. You can visit the virtual showroom at Hypebeast, and browse the exclusive styles online and in select Neiman Marcus stores.
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