Balenciaga has changed a lot since their famous 86 readymade line “Le Dix”. Given the fact that the fashion market is heavily dominated by luxury streetwear brands and designers (with the brightest example being Virgil Abloh’s rise all the way to Louis Vuitton’s top as the men’s creative director), the Spanish founded brand (but built in Paris) decided to move towards the matter. Let’s analyse how and why their most sold streetwear-related items, the Speed Trainers and the Triple S have been heavily criticized lately.
Ultra expensive pieces that have such a minimalistic design have always been a big fashion rule. Whether if it’s due to the piece’s quality or the branding itself, this has been a recurring topic: “Am I paying for the brand or for the actual item’s quality?”. With this in mind, Balenciaga took the whole matter to a new level: both the Socks (Speed Trainers’ alias) and the Triple S have been called out since their release for their “meh” designs. With this in mind, both these pieces had massive success, especially since they were combined with athletic wear like a muscle fit hoodie for a gym-ish outfit.
Although both these pieces become iconic in the streetwear scene, given the massive hype that was behind them, a dark matter was standing next to Balenciaga’s production. When released, the retail price of the Balenciaga Triple S was around $700, and they were made in Italy, with a superior quality of both materials and assembly. Once the shoe became iconic within the streetwear scene, the company decided to move the production line to China, significantly lowering the product’s quality and, at the same time, raising the price to $750. The same thing happened for the Speed Trainers, which is indeed the main reason why many customers started to post negative reviews of these products.
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Balenciaga recently confirmed via a response to a customer that it has moved manufacture of the Triple S shoe from Italy to China. They claim this is so they can “produce a lighter shoe”, however the change is not immediately apparent on the official website, which continues to show the “Made in Italy” version. Would the recent reports of quality issues (alleged visible glue stains and stitching issues) put you off paying for the shoes? Would you expect a change in pricing to reflect the recent change?
Balenciaga has always been known for their exclusive, readymade stock availability. Everything that was released by the brand was, in fact, extremely limited and exclusive for the customer, who was, in fact, buying a product that was almost tailored and made for him/her solely. Given the fact that both these items are mass produced, the availability of such pieces became terribly big in absolutely no time, to the point in which many described the Triple S pair as “an expensive dad shoe with no value at all“.
Balenciaga is a brand which proud itself with top quality and creative designs over the last 102 years. It’s a bit sad to see that such a big, exclusive brand is moving towards a mass-produced, business-focused approach. Let’s hope the big B will change this philosophy!