all the smart and crazy ways people have saved for their streetwear
What would you do for your grail item? Pack lunch? Skip lunch? Sell condoms to underage kids at a massive mark up? These people would. These people did.
In 2041 when we need nostalgia and regret-laden content about what we wore back in 2018, we will be writing listicles about fanny packs, fanny pack slides, chunky orthopedic sneakers, toe shoes. and Supreme canoes. We will be writing, mainly, about streetwear and clothes that could only flourish in the internet age, when a particularly outré and hype garm has the power to launch a thousand hashtags. Clothes that kids frothed at mouth about, queued for days to buy, spent all their money on to buy.
Much of the derision around streetwear’s hypest of hypebeasts is that they are all posh idiots with rich parents and Gold Amex cards funding their purchase of limited edition £1000 hoodies. And yes, there are always going to be trust fund kids who splash mummy’s money but there are also people who sacrifice margaritas in a heatwave, or a whole meal every single day, to buy their ‘grail’ -- the holiest of holy items. The items they need. Items they will cherish like a newborn baby. They would die for it. It will change their lives.
So what would you do for your grail item? Pack lunch? Skip lunch? Sell condoms to underage kids at a massive mark up? These people would. These people did.Kuya, 19. Grail piece: Jordan 7 Hares
“The longest I’ve saved up for an item was nearly a whole year. I was a freshman in high school just getting into sneaker culture at the time. Everyone else thought Jordan's were cool. I just wanted to fit in.
My parents would give me $5 for lunch here and there. I decided to save the money and not eat. I’d chug water to suppress my hunger. Luckily, there was a pizza stand near where me and my friends would sit. If the pizza lady didn't sell every slice, she'd go out and give the remainder to kids. So I'd sit there waiting, praying that there were extras. Some days there were, and some there weren't.
Eventually I saved up enough lunch money until I was able to buy them. I was pretty stoked. When they finally arrived I wore them for weeks straight, flexing them to all the guys who weren't able to get a pair.”
Richard, 17. Grail piece: Nigeria football jersey
“The Nigerian jersey just clicked with me when I saw it. I'm not Nigerian, but I've always had Nigerian friends, so I got immersed into the culture from early on. Also, it looks really flashy, had some hype around it, and Nigeria has a lot of players affiliated with my favourite football team (Chelsea FC). I just needed to get one.
So when me and a friend turned 16 (legal age in Canada), we decided that someone who was in high school -- but younger than 16 -- would still have needs. We decided to sell individual condoms at a massive markup -- $2 each, $3 for two. They cost us around 35 cents each in a pack of 36. I think I made about $60 in profit by the second week. If they were getting girls, we assumed they would practice safe sex because it's stressed a lot in our education system here. But they wouldn't dare to ask their parents for them, and most of them wouldn't steal them because they're generally quite honest people at that age.
When I get a grail, the excitement doesn't really die down, especially knowing that I got it purely from my own money. That’s why I think hypebeasts with rich parents are so quick to move from one hype item to the next. They didn't really work or use their own money for any of their pieces, so they don't value them as much. The next thing I want is to save up for properly are Black Toe sneakers. I don't know what I'm going to do for it, but the condoms worked pretty well for me so I might continue with that.”
Connor, 20. Grail piece: Rick Owen Geobaskets
“The longest I saved up for a pair of shoes for was a year, when I was 17 and had less money. It was a pair of Rick Owen’s Geobaskets, specifically in Pearl. Growing up I’ve always idolised Rick, and wanted to own something decisively his. I had to own a pair.
I was making minimum wage and saving a lot of money for college. I put at least $50 per pay cheque into my savings -- my “grail” budget. I cut out fast food, which can really add up. I’m also constantly buying and selling clothes (as a side hustle), but I cut all of my non-business purchases to really focus on my goal. I also had to actively stop myself from going through Grailed, Yahoo.jp and Ssense daily, so I didn’t make any impulse purchases. I stayed motivated by setting clear monthly goals and reminding myself of what I really wanted. It was completely worth it. I like to look at these purchases in the long-run -- three years from now I’ll still have my Ricks, but I won’t have the fast food or cheaper clothing that I would’ve bought instead of my grails.”
Ashley, 29. Grail piece: Rick Owens spring/summer 18 Dirt Ramones and Raf Simons x Robert Mapplethorpe collection
“I love my job, but it's badly paid. Especially when you factor in the cost of living in NYC. I'm currently saving up for the Ramones. I love the gum sole. They're nowhere to be seen on Grailed, so I guess I'm paying retail price! Also everything from the Raf/Mapplethorpe collection. I'm a huge Mapplethorpe fan, so I'd really love to own it all.
I’m on a spending freeze right now. It’s way easier than it sounds. I cut off all my spending for the rest of the paycheck: no groceries, no wine, no nothing. I’m 12 days in right now, and almost through it. I just eat whatever is in my house and don’t buy anything, and I save, like, $700 of my paycheck that way. Fortunately I had some fresh veggies in the fridge before I started this thing!
During the work week I’m not tempted to spend much money since I’m so busy, but the weekends are a killer -- especially in the summer! Seeing everyone on patios drinking margaritas and eating food that doesn’t suck… ugh. But margaritas are gone in a few minutes, and I get to stare at that Mapplethorpe shirt in my closet every day. It’s a no brainer.”
Bhuvan, 15. Grail item: Rick Owens Geobaskets
"My family’s not very rich, so I couldn’t afford to drop large amounts of cash on sneakers. I had to figure it out on my own. Eventually I discovered reselling, which was a savior. Before that I’d been skipping lunch and saving $5 dollars every day.
The longest I ever saved up for a item was a year, for Rick Owens Geobaskets. The avant style was so strange and new to me, and it felt different from the rest of fashion. I loved the idea of aiming to exaggerate and somewhat parody classic sport shoes -- I felt like it was a fuck you to everyone who loves Jordans and classic basketball sneakers.
Seeing fit pics was definitely a large motivator for me. I never felt like giving up on saving, but seeing dope fits of people with this sneaker helped me. When I finally bought them, it felt amazing. I had this dopamine rush when they arrived at my door and was incredibly excited. I felt as if though I would never need another pair of shoes again. A lot of people shield their grails and never wear them, but I plan on wearing these all the time.
Despite my love for sneakers, I would rather not have my baskets and be able to go to something like Paris Fashion Week myself. To me, materialistic things fade, but the memories of great experiences last forever.”