There are new sneaker collaborations being teased every day. Sometimes it happens by the shop or brand involved, and other times it occurs by accident, or with an unintentional leak. This happened to Extra Butter for the shop's project with ASICS on the GEL-Lyte V, which played off of a karaoke scene from Lost in Translation.
The sneakers are slated to release tonight at Extra Butter's New York City location, with subsequent drops tomorrow in Rockville Centre, N.Y., and an online release on Saturday.
We connected with Jason Faustino, co-owner of the store, to talk about what inspired the sneaker, but also the trouble that the leak caused his shop and how he's overcoming it.
I know all your shoes are usually like movie-themed, but why the karaoke one this time?
We went for the karaoke theme because it happens to be a favorite pastime of ours, actually. We’ve done it at Extra Butter anniversaries, staff parties. I think it’s fun because it shows our store’s range in personality, because we’re all over the map, from like Green Day to Drake to Stone Temple Pilots to Mariah Carey to Queen. We’ve got really eclectic taste and I think when we get to do that together, it’s just a way to really unwind.
So did the karaoke theme come first or Lost in Translation?
Definitely the film. That came first. I’ve always had a connection with that film. I saw it like the day it came out by myself at the Commack movie theater. I remember it exactly because I was a fan of Sofia Coppola. I didn’t want to be too literal, but the karaoke scene stands out to us. It’s no surprise that it crosses over to when we’re actually creating and producing stuff.
Your fans have been waiting for another ASICS shoe from you guys, I’m assuming?
I think so. It’s now been since 2013 when we did the Death List 5. They’ve been waiting I feel like because at the time of Death List 5, we only had our Reebok collabs, so I think we were still pretty under the radar and with ASICS helped our shop go on the rise. I think it was awesome, because our five-shoe project spoke to us and our audience. It showcased our abilities to be creative again with the different activations, with the different way we marketed it.
How frustrating was it to have your shoe leaked on the Internet by another retailer?
I’m always frustrated by that just because I believe one thing we at Extra Butter do really well is make a true collaboration. But more of the props should go to the brand and the execution of the shoe. We’re really just advising and saying what we want and the shoe company manufactures it, but when it gets to bringing it to the market, we have so many ideas of how it will roll out and what a person goes through when they get each bit of information. It wasn’t our intention for someone else to leak it out, and now people have their own kind of story perception of the sneakers. Look: there are so many releases everyday or every week. It seems that when shoes come in, we’re always asking each other, “When do these come out? Are these even a collab?” But once you know it’s a collab, once you have any info that points to it being a release, you don’t touch it.
Because you know you don’t want it to happen to you when you have your own project out. It’s just like an unwritten rule. It’s frustrating that we didn’t get to tell the story our own way from the beginning, but I also believe there’s no avoiding that in 2015-16. There’s always leaks. There’s things that have leaked for future projects that people don’t even know are ours yet, but it’s on the Internet somewhere.
But do you think that’s more on the shop or that’s more on the brand with like communication?
It’s a combination. I’m not speaking specifically to this situation, just in general. I think brands are doing a lot better job these days of communicating collab releases or just special releases. We’re getting multiple emails that contain media dates. We can post on social media at this time. Hard launch date is this date. You know exactly what to do. You may not have all the backstory details, but you have the necessary info to follow a protocol. At the same time, there’s so much I can see. If someone’s job is to take photos of new deliveries that come in at the shop, they’re just taking it, putting it up maybe, leaving it in a Dropbox. The social media person is like, “Oh we just got these, let me post them up.”
Do you think like when that happens that it could damage your product or your future collaborations because once you see like Extra Butter x ASICS, and there’s no story behind it, it’s just a shoe?
I really do. We’re not just a store that does colorways. If that were the case, let it be leaked and there’s not much more to say. We’re just gonna show you a different view. But when you have a whole story that has like a film behind it, all this stuff -- we create our own narratives around projects even if they are inspired by a certain narrative. When we don’t get to tell that, it doesn’t get its own fair shot. So, it’s frustrating.
Now that everyone kind of knows the story behind the shoe, how has the reception been on your end of it?
The reception is scary because it’s so positive. Sometimes I don’t know what that means. I take that as a compliment, but it’s just a weird time in sneaker culture, especially within the collab world. There are multiple releases per week on top of each other, so how someone has the time for this stuff, I don’t know. But I know that the ones that people get excited about are rare.
So it’s like a relief to finally — well, I know you’re not there yet because the shoe hasn’t come out yet, but...
Yeah it’s not a relief until gets online but after the night of the in-store I’m running around, trying to have fun and mingle with people, but my head’s turning, like, “What are people thinking? What are people saying? How did it go?” I just want everyone to enjoy it. We put a lot of work and effort into our projects, and you just want people to receive it the way you intended it. We know it doesn’t always work like that, but that’s OK. What I do think is that our shoes have a cool after-effect on people, because there are so many layers and a deeper story involved. Sometimes, people will buy the shoe and they get hit with it later.