Friday, 25 May 2018

Amsterdam - November 2017


In November 2017 I had the opportunity to travel to Amsterdam for the Red Bull BC One Final. The breakdancing competition which has been around for 13 years sees the world's finest breakdancers go head to head to win the title. It was my first trip to Amsterdam and first time to Europe since 2001.

I didn't have many expectations for the trip but I was excited. The only thing I knew is that I was going to watch the Red Bull BC One Cypher and that Amsterdam was in winter. I didn't search what tourists do in Amsterdam because I really wasn't in a "tourist" mood. I think it's because I was going to Amsterdam for work and not leisure.
As soon as I arrived I realised that if I don't take the opportunity to tour Amsterdam it would be an experience and opportunity wasted. Okay I lie, the one thing I had planned to do in Amsterdam is to see my friend Naledi and visit the streetwear brand Daily Paper.

Outside Schiphol Airport
I don't know a lot about cars but I do know that having a Tesla as a meter taxi or Uber is quite a big deal. As soon as we stepped outside, while waiting for our shuttle we saw people being transported in Teslas. It was then I realised that we not in SA anymore. Vehicles came to a stop when pedestrians crossed the zebra crossing. A phenomenon I am still to witness in SA. We got into the shuttleand made our hotel which was situated in what I call the Sandton of Amsterdam.

We stayed at the Room Mate Aitana which is situated in the heart of Amsterdam. It is truly one of the most beautiful hotels I have ever stayed in and if you can afford it do yourself a favour and book it for your Amsterdam trip.

Outside our hotel


The view from outside my hotel room
Most of the work that we had to do was after 18:00 so we would spend the day touring Amsterdam. Bad idea because as soon as I walked into a store called Bershka I completely forgot that I wasn't supposed to buy clothing in Amsterdam.

Dam Square is where we started our days and where I spent most of my money. The shopping their is absolutely world class and so are the restaurants and red light district, if you are into that. The streets are incredibly busy. It feels like Canal Walk on the 24th of December and they are mostly made up of tourists.




Part of the Red Bull BC One World Final included a lecture with Naughty By Nature conducted by Sway Calloway. The lecture did well at sourcing the roots of breakdancing and demonstrating the relationship between Hip Hop and breakdance. After the lecture we were treated to Funk Baddies 2 VS 2 Locking and Waacking Battle. After the BC One Final this was my favourite part of the trip!
The competition was open to all and participants came from all over Europe. Particpants were paired at random and had to lock and waack their way to the final. By the time the semi finals came around everyone had their favourites.




The Red Bull BC One World Final took place on the Saturday in front of a sold out crowd. With 16 BBoys competing all over the world it felt like I was watching a World Cup or Olympics.

The halftime show included a performance by the legendary Naughty by Nature.



Menno from The Netherlands won the final which was followed by an after party. I won't lie, going out in Amsterdam is a completely different experience. The music is different and dance is something very serious ... maybe because we were surrounded by dancers from all over the world. But it's not your spontaneous gqom dance. It almost felt like I was in a dance class and people were asking us to improvise.


Our final day was spent touring Amsterdam and we took a trip to Daily Paper's flagship store. All I can say is that South African stores have a lot to learn when it comes to store layout and the general shopping experience.


H&M
Urban Outfitters
Amsterdam Centraal Station
I was taken away by the architecture in Amsterdam. I never expected it. My favourite experience was shopping in buildings that reflect old architecture but host labels such as Nike, Champion, Tommy Hilfiger etc. In South Africa we are so used to go shopping in new malls.

One thing I will say about Amsterdam is that it is cheaper to buy eyeshadow than lunch which is the reverse in South Africa. A favourite makeup store of mine I discovered was Kiko Milano. The Italian makeup store was on almost every single corner. I did pledge to myself before leaving for Amsterdam that I will not buy makeup but when you can get gold eyeshadow for eight pounds, why not?


All in all I had an amazing time in Amsterdam. I would definitely go back in a heartbeat and perhaps even live there for a couple of years. The food isn't the greatest but they do have a few gems. I do wish I had discovered some more of the street culture of Amsterdam but I guess I will have to do so on my next trip. Peep the video below for more on my Amsterdam trip.

Film Images from Amsterdam



Friday, 2 February 2018

Sneaker Lab - Johannesburg Flagship Store


On the 1st of February, Johannesburg opened it's doors to the first and only Sneaker LAB store in South Africa. Hosted by MKay Frash of Hunting For Kicks, the night allowed us to walk in, see the store and get a shoe shine as well.

Established in 2012, Sneaker LAB is an environmentally friendly biotech driven premium shoe care brand. Six years later and the first flagship store opens in Johannesburg. The store offers various options from a quick fix wash to what I would call a sneaker valet.


The night offered it's guests a cleaning service which also served as a lesson into how to clean your sneakers with the customised deluxe cleaning set. Cape Town illustrator PJ Offner did a custom jobs on the deluxe cleaning sets which were handed out to guests.


I am very skeptical about cleaning sneakers because one I don't know what to clean them with and two I am scared that I will alter the look of the sneaker. The staff are very well knowledgeable and do a very good job at teaching you how to clean your own sneaker depending on the fabric it is made from.


Besides a cleaning service and a look into the store, the night also had a sneaker raffle, the winner won a pair of Asics. A Hunting For Kicks episode was also filmed with SA DJ and producer Speedsta.

Speedsta and Mkay Frash
Myself and MK
Siseko Dunywa
Be sure to visit the store if you need a quick clean or a full valet. The address is 70 Juta Street Braamfontein. If you can't make your way through to Braamfontein be sure to buy the products online at sneakerlab.com.

All products are water-based, readily biodegradable and the package is also suitable for recycling.

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