Off-White founder and Louis Vuitton director, Virgil Abloh said: "This generation may value sneakers more than a Matisse because [the Matisse] is not attainable."
There have been great strides in design since the British company J.W. Foster and Sons produced the first running shoes in 1895, which were spiked to allow for greater traction and speed. Now, whether you are upper class, lower class or something in between you probably own a pair of trainers.
The big break for sneakers came in the 1970s when they became an essential part of beatboxing and break dancing. By the middle of the decade they were making the pages of Vogue and being worn by famous non-athletes like Farrah Fawcett and Mick Jagger.
The pivot came in 1984 with the launch of Nike Air Jordan and there was a seismic shift as sneakers moved into the world of status symbol, influencer culture and celebrity endorsements. In the same decade Dapper Dan was creating styles for celebrity hip-hop artists to a backdrop of Run-DMC's My Adidas.
Today the sneaker market attracts passionate collectors, resellers and dealers. Brands, designers and exotic colourways are key for prices with a great deal of competition to claim limited editions and flip them for profit. Sneakerheads, Netflix were inspired to create a comedy series after them, build up very large collections - Ariana, Dakota and Dresden Peters, known online as The Chicks With Kicks, have more than 6000 pairs housed in a commercial building with climate and humidity controls.
Established in 1991 ILS World's private client team is experienced at working with clients who include collectibles as part of their investment portfolios providing advice on trust and specialist company formation as tools to safeguard collections.
At the Grammys in 2008 Kanye West wore a pair of Nike Air Yeezy 1 Prototypes which were bought by the sneaker investing platform RARES for $1.8 million in 2021. The Yeezy line of low-risers, now produced by Adidas, reported sales of nearly $1.7 billion in 2020 netting Yeezy $191 million in royalties. In 2021 a pair of Nike Air Ship trainers worn by National Basketball Association superstar Michael Jordan early in his career sold for nearly £1.5 million, setting a record price at auction for game-worn footwear.
Our private client team is experienced in supporting many passionate collectors and has decades of experience working with multi-jurisdictional structures. We have an appreciation and understanding of how leisure has evolved into a multi-billion-dollar industry. Through our network of global contacts we liaise with specialist valuers, insurers and storage advisers to ensure storerooms are climate controlled and sneakers are routinely taken out of boxes so glue doesn't cause cracking.
The ILS World team is made up of highly trained and experienced professionals assisting clients with:
• Multi-jurisdictional company incorporation
• Establishing and administering a trust
• VAT and Customs compliance
• Comprehensive administration of the ownership structure
• Management and financial reporting
• VAT and accounting services
• Provision of directors, registered offices and registered agreement/company secretary
• Acting as a trustee
• Import and export services
• Maintenance and upkeep
ILS World is a global provider of independent fiduciary services and our private client team has considerable experience in assisting international clients with various solutions around wealth management, asset protection, succession and estate planning and trusts and foundations in multiple jurisdictions.
We act in the long-term interest of our clients and pay careful attention to the quality and personal service we deliver.
The team works hard to create long-term relationships and provide the highest level of service. We do this by being approachable, flexible and pragmatic. We offer regular face-to-face meetings as required and provide direct contact with a senior member of the team. Staff have diverse backgrounds, skills and interests and their professional experience together with their "can-do" attitude means they understand that wealth and business are inextricably linked.
Our private clients often require an international strategy and as a global business with offices in several key jurisdictions we are well-placed to provide a cohesive service. Our network includes offices in the British Virgin Islands, Hong Kong, Isle of Man and Portugal.
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This article is part of the ILS Private Client Series, a collection of commentaries originally generated in response to specific enquiries by individual clients. We have amended this briefing on sneakers to enable us to share it with a wider audience with similar interests. Read the full compendium on our website by clicking here.
Please note: ILS World does not offer tax advice and would therefore recommend you obtain your own tax advice. If you require an introduction to a tax adviser we would be happy to assist.