The Orange Koi Release at Afew Store - Friendship, Community, Parties, Resell
Last week, most of world‘s sneakerheads were talking about one topic: The Orange Koi.
The Orange Koi Gel Lyte III, a collaboration between Germany‘s Afew Store, Japan‘s Beams and ASICS Tiger is a landmark for the Japanese-German Friendship that connects both stores with each other and with the brand.
Since 2015, ASICS Tiger have failed to create the same hype and demand on their sneakers, in-line or collaboration. But what happened? Did they not realize upcoming trends? Was a lack of quality the root of the problem? Were people just oversaturated by the huge amount of collaborations? Every fan would answer differently.
In 2018 even the limited store collaborations failed to sell out. Could Afew and Beams bring the important change with their follow up to the hyped red Koi?
After the announcement that Beams and Afew with their stores in Tokyo and Düsseldorf would be the only stockists of the Orange Koi globally, sneakerheads started discussing, asking for hookups, booking flights, trains and hotels. Yes, finally a hyped release again.
The Afew Store release system lead to discussions on all social media channels and groups. People were allowed to come by the store from Wednesday, 8 am, on to put their names on the list. 4 checks a day, on which people had to show up. No full campout, no instore raffle, no sleeping in front of the store. Die hard sneakerheads started complaining, as usual, that a campout with check times is no campout. Of course it is not. Is it easier for the people? Yes. Does it lead people to start earlier to come by the store because of it? Yes. But is it reasonable to let hundreds of people stay in front of a store for days, making noise, drinking, sleeping, smoking, making loads of trash? In my opinion it is not. For 20 pairs this may be practical, but not for big stocks like on this release.
Afew’s staff kept the people updated via their social media channels after every check about availability of sizes, special boxes and apparel. People asking for more information got answered via direct messages.
I traveled about 2,5 hours by car to put my name on the list aswell. I booked a hotel and arrived Thursday at 6am in Düsseldorf. More than 300 people came before me. The Afew staff came by the store before 8, talked to us - the new people - nicely and calmed us down: “You’ll get your size. You’ll get your special box. Enough for everybody”
The staff gave every single customer the chance to try on the sneaker and apparel beforehand to ensure everybody knows exactly what sizes he or she needed, gave out a confirmation paper to everyone. After that, everyone could be sure to get the desired size. No change on sizes after that. The list filled quickly, end of Thursday the list was officially full.
About 500 people from Germany, UK, France, Spain and Luxembourg and more traveled to the Japanese neighborhood in Düsseldorf, Germany, to buy the acclaimed sneaker.
500 people for a single sneaker release at one store are surely a lot. How was the atmosphere?
Afew managed to keep a friendly atmosphere between all fans from different countries. Beside the sneaker release, some events took place to make the Orange Koi not another sneaker in the closet, but an experience for every single buyer. Thursday evening Afew organized a talk between Sebastian from Afew, Steffen from ASICS and some selected fans from the list, moderated by David from Sneakerholics Germany, a huge German sneaker community. The speakers shared some thoughts on the release, the design process, the friendship theme behind the Orange Koi, the current ASICS situation and much more. The audience was allowed to ask questions and got honest answers.
On friday Afew opened their doors after the last list check to party with all customers and celebrate the release of the next morning. Food, drinks, music and a lot of happy people. Madness.
In every waiting line nowadays you’ll find some resellers. It’s impossible to prevent people from reselling, it always will be part of the scene. But still some people, stores and even the brands try to make a change.
Afew clearly stated they would try their best to get as many pairs out to people who put them on their feet and not on eBay, Klekt or StockX.
People were trying to sell the Orange Koi on famous German selling platforms even before having them in their hands; with the confirmation paper and pictures of the display pair. The Afew staff managed to find out who some of these sellers were and cut them off the list.
Afew Store does not just sell good sneakers and design great sneakers, they’ve understood the importance of the community and their thoughts and needs.
Every single staff member was helpful, caring and working hard to ensure every single customer is informed and feeling appreciated.
I’ve been to Afew Store multiple times for sneaker releases, not just for their own collaborations. Every single time the atmosphere was the same, no matter if 500 or 5 people were in front of the store. The Afew community sticks together and creates some sort of family feeling. I believe this commitment to the scene is the reason for Afew’s success and for the success of the collaborations they release. An Afew store collaboration is always connected with the experience made for having the chance to buy and, in my case, this experience has always been positive.
To conclude the recap and my thoughts on the release, I want to take the time to thank Afew Store, ASICS, the people waiting in line with me, friends and new people I met for the special time, the great organization, the great design work and the beautiful Orange Koi.