SEOUL, Aug. 10 (Korea Bizwire) – At 10 a.m. in the morning on a Thursday, about 100 people in their 20s and 30s were standing in line in front of the Nike store at Yeongdeungpo’s Times Square mall.
The line was due to the imminent launch of a new ‘Nike Airmax 95‘ model. The sneakers were a big hit back in 1995, and to celebrate their 20th birthday, a limited quantity of products were being released.
People got in line starting the day before, waiting in the steaming heat for the store to open. Even though one person was allowed to buy only one product, they were all sold out only two hours after the store opened.
Getting in line way before the release date to buy a product one wants is called ‘camping’. It originally started in America when Air Jordans that were sold in the 90s were released again in the early 2000s. In 2011, 2000 people that were competing to buy Jordans at a mall in Seattle caused a fight scene.
This kind of phenomenon also stared to appear in Korea around 2013. Shoe enthusiasts share information about the release date and quantity of certain shoes on online communities.
When the Air Jordan 11, the most popular product among the Air Jordan series, was released in April, shoe fanatics started ‘camping’ four days before the release. Now, ‘camping’ is an established social phenomenon, and happens when limited edition products are released at other brands such as Adidas and New Balance.
Experts interpret this phenomenon as a retro trend that is related to ‘Kidult‘ culture.
Professor Jeon Mi-young of the Consumer Trend Analysis Center at Seoul National University explains the current flow of the industry. “The trend is to re-release products from the past, targeting Kidults. The industry has a strategy of launching small quantities of various products, and making people get in line. Now, Kidults are feeling more satisfaction in buying $200 shoes than buying designer brand products that are over a couple thousand dollars.”
Professor No Myung-wo from the Sociology Department at Aju University explains the reason for the trend. “This is a phenomenon in which the generation who spent their childhood in a consumer society grew up to have purchasing power. It is a worldwide phenomenon that is also appearing in Korea.”
According to Professor No, young people now recall the past with their ‘first robot’ or their ‘first sneakers’ instead of their ‘grandmother’s house’. He continues, “It is not a matter of discussing if it is right or wrong, but the whole trend might disappear if the business uses it commercially too frequently.”
By Francine Jung (firstname.lastname@example.org)