Miss Meghan, Fashion Advice

November 9, 2007

$50,000 SNEAKERS

Bring the bling, that's what I always say.

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution today:

$50,000 sneakers? Big Boi to get first pair
by Christian Boone

Sneakers are a bona fide fashion ccessory, but are you ready to shell out $50,000 for a pair of diamond-studded Nikes?

If you're Big Boi from OutKast, you won't have to. He's getting the pair free, compliments of Atlanta retailers Laced Up Boutique and Priyya and Chintans Diamonds. First of a kind, they say.

Big Boi.

Artisans in Mumbai, India, are putting the finishing touches on the sneakers, featuring diamonds studded around the famous swoosh logo.

Diamonds are bedazzling everything from iPods to brassieres, which got Priyya and Chintans owner Rita Patel thinking: "Why not diamonds on sneakers?"

The inspiration hit her while waiting in line for breakfast across the street from Laced Up. Just so happens the upscale shoe boutique caters to hip-hop stars like T.I. and Usher. Owner Ernel Dawkins expects the sneaks will be a big hit with his celebrity clientele.

"People in the entertainment industry aren't afraid to spend big money, and sneakers are becoming like collectibles," Dawkins said. A mock-up of the shoes displayed at the recent BET Awards in Atlanta sparked dozens of inquiries.

The customized shoes are Air Force 1 "So Cals." Without diamonds, they retail for $225. To add the diamonds, the logo is cast in gold metal, and the diamonds are studded in casings held together by a fine gold stitching, Patel said.

"They had to look good, of course, and they had to be comfortable," she said.

"I have never heard of diamonds on sneakers, but it's a natural progression. It speaks to the whole rise of sneaker culture," said Meghan Cleary, host of "Shoe Therapy" on HSN.

The 11-carat sneakers will be unveiled Nov. 27.

And yes, you can get a pair in time for Christmas. Orders won't be taken until late November, and Patel said it takes about three to four weeks to complete the diamond studding.

"In the hip-hop industry, it's all about topping each other," Patel said. "We think it will be well worth it in the long run."

There's some precedent for this confidence.

On the HBO show "Entourage," one of the characters was gifted a $20,000 pair of sneakers, Nike Air Force 1 Fukijamas. The next day, Dawkins said he received dozens of calls from people wanting the same shoes.

"I was like, 'yeah man, that's cool but that's a TV show,'" he said. "It's not for real. I don't have 'em."

Cleary said the retailers shouldn't sweat their investment.

"I think you're going to see more and more uber-luxury customizations of sneakers," she said. "Sneakers have become such a mode of expression.

"Next year, you'll probably be writing about a $100,000 pair of sneakers."

Chuck Taylor must be running laps in his grave.