Graffiti is used to sell lots of things, of course. In the nineties, Nike and Coca-Cola began hiring well-known graffiti artists to paint large-scale murals and to help design advertising campaigns targeted at young people. Other industries—fashion, vodka, fast food—followed. But the real-estate industry’s use of graffiti is different; after all, taggers don’t vandalize sneakers. Historically, property owners and developers have tended to consider graffiti a sign of decay that lowers property values. But that was before people started finding grittiness really cool.
There was a Puma shoe that was very popular with graffiti writers in DC in the early 90s. It was worn by those who didn’t wear gazelles or had moved on from gazelles, and came in an assortment of colors. I think our friend Roger Gastman had purple? From the look of this Icra Trainer model, Puma might be bringing that shoe back. Or maybe this is that shoe? 20+ years of footwear leaves holes in the memory.
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