This past weekend I had a chance to head to Sole DXB and to say that it was just a just a shoe exhibition would be a massive understatement. Conceived 6 years ago, the event has grown onto become an avant-garde celebration of street culture with stalls from famous athletic brands such as Puma and Adidas to and panel discussions as well. Here’s a quick lowdown on the event:
Vibes: Even if you weren’t up for buying sneakers or athletic wear, the Adidas and Puma stalls were a must-visit with snappy live music playing from their top-floor balconies. Local pop-up shops such as Amongst Few were a treat for the eyes too. Basketballs fans could also watch basketball tournaments from a court that was set bang in the middle of the pavilion, really helping cater to the ‘street’ feel of the event. I loved the Pepsi Lounge as well, with it’s Nu-Disco setup and makeshift bowling alley making for some quick fun with your friends. I needed a whole day to take in the sights and sounds of the whole event – which says a lot about how much it’s grown!
Panels: The panels were relevant and informational – the first one I attended featured High Snobiety founder David Fischer and his insights on blogging and social media, his take-outs were biblical to budding bloggers like myself. The second set of talks centered around hip-hop culture and featured legendary New York DJs Clark Kent and Stretch Armstrong who talked of the golden age of hip-hop in the 90s and their own journey towards becoming music icons.
Above: David Fischer speaking to a member of the media
It’s the engagement that counts. Not the number of clicks, likes and shares. – David Fischer on the social media obsession with numbers
Food: There were a massive variety of food joints to choose from, with local favorites such as Shake Shack to new entrants such as Pinza. Fascinated by a 80% water-containing pizza dough, I decided to try Pinza’s “Spizy” pizza (AED 50) – this is a must-have for anyone who like their pizzas crispy, the fennel seeds and cold beef sausages in the topping took away from its great taste, though. For dessert, I tried the much-hyped Activated Charcoal Lemonade ice cream with a Black Cone from Scoop 52 (AED 25) and I loved it’s tangy raw lemon taste (and that Instagram shot of it) – if you like your ice cream super sweet, though, you should stick to their Peanut Butter flavor (AED 25).
Highs: The massive scale of the event made it well-worth the 100 AED ticket – the event had something to cater to everyone’s tastes and not just street culture fans.
Lows: The afternoon November heat was not as welcoming; the dining area needed a better seating arrangement.
Verdict: Sole DXB has to be one of my favourite events in the UAE and I cannot wait for next year’s edition as the platform continues to grow bigger and better.