As a staple of the Canadian streetwear scene, Livestock has been at the forefront of what’s new and next since its beginnings over a decade ago. Today, the brand has locations in Vancouver, Toronto, and Winnipeg (a grand opening for the Winnipeg location takes place February 21), and is known for stocking the latest in sneaker and apparel releases. Here, Adrian Campaña, Toronto’s regional manager for Livestock, discusses being in the business almost 10 years, getting into collecting, and the drops to look out for this year.
First, it would be good to hear about what you do. What does a typical day look like?
I’m regional manager for Toronto, which consists of two stores. I guess my main focus is the Spadina shop as it’s busier in terms of foot traffic. I go in, make sure everything is up to date with merchandising and we have an online store, so I make sure everything is maintained there. This year has been crazy with all of the releases, and we’ve had to switch up the approach of our back-end business. It’s a good move and getting better. When online started everything was pretty mellow, but with the integration of systems, processes, raffles and new age social media, it’s taken over the market and reformatted our business in terms of being focused on the customer experience both in-store and online.
You’ve been working at Livestock for almost 10 years. What sorts of brands are you looking to support and what sets you apart from the competition?
We started out as a sneaker store so we’re known for our sneakers. Our focus was to be a really good all-round sneaker store and when we had that avenue we wanted to open up and have an all-round apparel selection too. There are so many forms of streetwear now—contemporary, skate, techwear, sportswear—so we tick a little bit of each box, but not so it’s too contemporary. We still want to keep it street because the owner Gary [Bone] started in the sneaker culture and that’s what brought him into this world. We never stray from who we are, and I think that’s why we’ve stayed around over the years.
How have you seen streetwear and sneaker culture change in that time?
It’s a different age group now. You see the switch from older heads who had original pairs when they were a kid trail off and a new generation come that are new to it, just grasping what the culture is. With social media you get everything thrown at you and it’s a little easier to keep up with it, whereas before, people prided themselves on knowing the hidden gem, the rarity of sneakers. But it’s also bigger than ever. Everybody and their parents are coming in now.
It’s also interesting that, even though it’s so social media driven, there’s still something quite physical about it.
For sure. I think a lot of people make genuine friendships, relationships, and find job opportunities through just lining up. Especially today, because it’s become such a big thing and reselling is such a big deal, it’s also important for the store to be mindful of the safety of the staff, its customers, and being fair. You want to give the customers who actually want to wear them a better shot, so you do the raffle and hope for the best.
What do you feel are the most anticipated drops for 2020?
The Jordan 1’s are trending and sought after these days. I feel the Dior Jordan 1’s are on everybody’s minds, even though the retail price will be pretty hefty, as are the Jordan 1 ‘New Beginnings’ Pack. The return of the OG Air Max 90 Anniversary is another. I’m excited to see the different colorways they bring out.
I’m also just excited to see what other brands are going to release. Yeezys are becoming popular again. There was a moment in time when they put out so many pairs it wasn’t limited, but now they retracted it and put in a reflective and new style in general with the V3s, it will be interesting to see what other brands come up with. New Balance too. The 990s were such a huge part of 2019’s fashion and the 992s were introduced this year. In terms of apparel, look out for Brain Dead’s spring/summer collection. It’s a brand we’re stoked about as a company.
You opened a boutique in Winnipeg not too long ago, and are set to launch a brand new store there. Why'd you choose that Canadian city over others?
It was a mix of wanting to expand our reach across Canada and timing, with the opportunity presenting itself with the physical space and everything aligning logistically. It just made for an easy decision to open up there. We recognized that there is a growing demand in cities like Winnipeg, but lack of accessibility to the product, so it was a perfect match for us.
Just before the new year, our once-humble Winnipeg shop moved to an undoubtedly bigger and better location. Placed in the recently refurbished Fortune Block, originally built in 1882, Livestock Winnipeg is now home to a state of the art storefront, which more accurately depicts our cultural relevance in the city, which we are really stoked about.
Does Livestock have anything coming up in 2020 we should know about?
We have an annual Arc’teryx collaboration where we release a jacket as well as an accessory. That’s something we want to continue this year. Being from Vancouver, anything tech related is very much a staple in our beliefs.
If you had any advice for someone looking to get into collecting in Canada, what would you say to them?
I would say to look into the history. Look into the background of brands and see what interests you, rather than letting the internet tell you. A lot of kids these days look into Instagram or blogs to show them what’s cool and I think what separates you from others is knowing who you are, exploring that avenue, and making that cool. Stay true to what you like rather than being influenced.