Before the spread of the internet, collaboration was different. Information was exchanged gradually, scenes and subcultures grew slowly and often remained confined to their cities. The original sneaker retailers formed at the heart of these subcultures and did more than simply sell shoes. They became meeting points; places for style, art, music, and urban culture to collide.
New York City’s Alife opened in 1999. Over the past 18 years it has formed a clothing label, grown central to the city’s footwear scene, and helped establish a blueprint for the generation of sneaker boutiques that followed. During a similar time frame, Starcow has achieved comparable status in Paris, where since opening in 2001, it has become the store and hangout for the city’s skate and streetwear community.
There is a scrupulous approach to both models: quality materials, clean design and low-key detailing. The Gazelle is delivered in shades of grey, the Stan Smith in white and off white. The only small injections of color are the red, white and blue of the US “Stars and Stripes” and French“ Tricolore” which adorn the heel of both models and are understated, but patriotic nods to each other's cultures. Placed next to each other, the core idea for this pack becomes evident: the execution on one is inverted on the other. While white leather – embossed with both partner's logos – appears on the upper of the Stan Smith it was used for the lining on the Gazelle. Conversely, the sand-colored lining of the Stan Smith is the Gazelle's upper.