The sneaker and film fanatic explains the necessity of hype in today’s sneaker culture. Founded in 2007, Extra Butter has made a name for itself as one of New York’s best footwear accounts in the years since. However, apart from footwear, Extra Butter sought to cultivate a lifestyle and community that emphasized fun and creativity, and their collaborations certainly show that side of the brand — their “ Karaoke ” version of the ASICS GEL-Lyte V exemplified their love for movies (in this case, Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation) and added an element of light-heartedness to the sometimes too-serious sneaker business. Read the full interview here.
Do you believe the hype is killing the sneaker game? Is it reasonable for people to pay $500 for a pair of sneakers?
I don’t… I think hype is 100% necessary. Hype driven by the difficulty to obtain something is never going away whether it be sneakers, tickets to a show, or a limited flavor of something edible. I’m sure you’ll find me disagreeing with much of what’s out there that garners hype. Most of the time it’s shallow or manufactured. I think people need to really know themselves and the root of why they like things, and then the hype will be more personal and true. It seems unreasonable for people to pay $500 for sneakers, but if it were me and it was a pair designed by or honoring Zack de la Rocha or Quentin Tarantino, people I’m influenced by, I’m sure I’d pay up if I had to. If it’s $500 just to be a cool guy that says “I got these!” during the hyped phase, I recommend saving your money.
Do you think that sneakers will eventually start to be considered as pieces of art? What is your opinion on that?
They should be. I believe sometimes intentional, sometimes not, but sneakers are absolutely a work of art. Whether it’s the design of the silhouette itself, or the way it’s colored up and treated, sneakers become works of art all the time. I think I find other art forms more inspiring these days, but every now and then I’m still floored by some sneakers that come out, which is a good thing.
How did Extra Butter manage to create such a following? Locally and worldwide?
A combination of hard work and creativity. Local following stems from the many good practices we’ve learned and adopted as a business with family footwear/mom & pop shop roots. I think locally we’ve established a reputation of being “for the people”, which was a theme that played part in my inspiration for the upcoming “#EBFTP” project we have with Saucony. The worldwide following developed through digital presence and our collaborative projects, but I believe it started when we were just the new kid on the block with our Rockville Centre store. Out in Long Island, we needed to let people know we were there and we did that by making noise with our creative endeavors. I would love someone to actually trace back to this, but we were one of the shops that would have fun with our photos. We’d take sneaker shots in certain settings or with props that would further tell the story about the shoe’s design or past history. We even did a lot of on-foot shots, before we saw that being a thing. I remember Kanye’s blog re-posted images we took of the Nike “Selvedge Denim” Blazers on foot and our phones lines got destroyed. On the apparel side of things, whenever we carried brands we showed our personal love and connection to the brand by shooting our own lookbooks where we’d really have fun with different themes and settings that we’re either true to the clothing line, EB pastimes, or a combination of the two. We established ourselves as an authority, and as storytellers and our photos were often reposted by industry blogs that have been premier sources of info and platforms for shops and brands in our industry.