Connect with us

Style

The heart and sole of C-Bus sneaker scene

Avatar

Published

on

“Me and my Adidas do the illest things.”

Run-DMC’s “My Adidas,” an homage to their love for the sneaker brand, created an urban fashion craze in the mid-eighties and set the stage for the sneaker explosion. Each member of the hip-hop pioneers wore a three-striped Adidas tracksuit with gold “dookie rope” chains dangling from their necks and black fedoras on their heads. But what tipped the fashion scales were the unlaced white Adidas shell toe Superstars that would “Walk through concert doors […] and roam all over coliseum floors.”

It was no coincidence that the same year “My Adidas” was released, Dionte Johnson was born in Columbus, Ohio. He is the owner/operator of the only niche retail sneaker boutique in Columbus: Sole Classics. And he is at the forefront of the hot sneaker scene in Columbus.

 “I walk down the street, and bop to the beat.”

Hipsters, students, and hip hop heads bob to the beat down High Street and walk into Sole Classics to check out the latest. Located in the Short North, Sole Classics has the Run-DMC-style Adidas track suits, Vans, Nikes, Adidas, hoodies, G-Shocks and other “fly wear.” Artistically curated, every inch of the two-room fashion gallery is meticulously crafted to reflect the Short North arts scene. (The newly-opened second store in Dublin pays tribute to the area’s Irish attitude with a pub vibe.) “We want the stores to embody the neighborhood we are in—Short North more urban, Dublin more Irish,” Johnson says.

“I like to sport ‘em that’s why I bought ‘em.”

Johnson bought Sole Classics (originally opened in 2006) from the previous owners ten years ago and has been in its current location since 2014. As a former Ohio State fullback, Dionte had a cup of coffee in the NFL, but when that plan fell through, he put his Business Marketing degree to work. “I was looking for the next challenge […] and heard about Sole Classics being available,” Johnson says, wearing his signature black hoodie and jeans. “Growing up in Columbus and going to high school [in the nineties] I worked in retail at Big Daddy’s, the first to carry urban street fashion stuff—and I was hooked.”

“And now I just standin’ here shooting the gift.”

What Big Daddy’s (now closed) taught Johnson was the importance of community—about creating a space where people come for the experience, to hang out, shoot the shit and share their love for sneakers. It’s the barber shop minus all the hair on the ground. “You can go buy your shoes from anywhere, but with a store like ours, you get to sit down, spend two hours talking and maybe buy something, or maybe not,” Johnson says as he sits behind the self-designed wood cash wrap desk that is the centerpiece of his Dublin store. “The person who comes in and knows exactly what they want gets treated the same as the person who stops by to say, ‘What’s up?’ ” 

BROUGHT TO YOU BY

“Now the Adidas I possess for one man is rare. Myself homeboy got fifty pair.”

The Columbus sneaker scene has grown exponentially, with more options than ever. Sole Classics is a retail shop that is linked to the sneaker companies. But up High Street, less than a mile away is Premium Kicks, a consignment sneaker store. “There is plenty of room [in Columbus] for sneaker shops to coexist, “ Johnson says. “Yes, we’re in competition, but theirs is always a place for a consignment shop to do their thing. We are a little more beholden to the sneaker companies, whereas they have a little more freedom.”

What is also helping the sneaker scene thrive is the innovative chances sneaker companies are taking (see the re-release of the Air Jordan 4 and the new Nike line of kicks called Have a Nike Day), combined with online media. When new kicks get released it’s a feeding frenzy. “Once upon a time you had to go into a store to hear about the release date; to find out what was dropping that weekend, “Johnson says. “Now, with the internet, it doesn’t matter whether you’re in rural Ohio or in New York City, you’re going to know about the product at the same time. It has expanded the sneaker community exponentially. Tons of people now know about a sneaker they would normally not.”

Does he see the internet ruining the brick-and-mortar, mom and pop shops, more than it already has? “Retail will settle back down,” he says. “Convenience is what people are into—paper towels delivered to your front door—but nothing can replace human contact. Life is about what you’re experiencing, and it’s not usually sitting behind a computer.”

“We took the beat from the street and put it on TV.”

When I ask Dionte who his biggest influences were when he first started out in the sneaker/fashion world, he cites his favorite nineties’ shows and actors: Martin, Will Smith, and even Seinfeld (with those dope white running shoes and jeans—not!). “I was heavily influenced by what I saw on TV because they were setting the trend. It was how I saw what other people were experimenting with.”

 “My Adidas only bring good news.”

Run-DMC is from Hollis, Queens, and Dionte from Columbus. Big difference. But nobody can deny they both have a love for the squeaks of their sneaks. Their collective “sole” has brought communities together and left an indelible footprint.•

Sole Classics is located in the Short North at 846 N High St. and in Dublin at 6391 Sawmill Rd. Visit soleclassics.com for all the latest sneaker looks.

Continue Reading

Coronavirus

Penzone shares: what to expect with salons

Julian Foglietti

Published

on

With the closing of Hair Salons on March 18th, buzz cuts and bowl cuts have made an appearance on the heads of Ohioans, young and old. Luckily for those desperate for a do, Dewine has announced that hair salons may begin to reopen on May 15th. To guide us through the transition, I spoke with Debbie Penzone, President and CEO of Penzone Salons, about serving on the Governor's salon advisory board, dealing with the business effect of the virus, and what we can expect from hair salons moving forward. 

I understand that you served as the chair of the Governor's committee board regarding reopening salons. What did you do in that role? 

On the committee, my role was pulling from my experience as a cosmetologist and business owner to assemble a group of individuals that represent our business in Ohio. We had everyone from 10 person salons to one person barbershops. braiding salons and nail salons, to schools and three health commissioners. From there, the job was building an agenda and listening to members while consulting health professionals on how to expand upon existing sanitation guidelines.  The Ohio State Board of Cosmetology has been enforcing for years. Beyond that, it was a lot of keeping time, guiding the conversations, gathering information and reporting it.  We also wanted to build plans if something did happen in a salon, and make sure that everyone could abide by these practices so we can remain safe and open.

In what ways has the virus caused you to rethink the way salons will function moving forward?

One of the things we did was go through a COVID specific certification process with Barbicide, which produces a lot of the sanitation products already used in salons and barber shops. A lot of people don’t realize that in the Ohio Administrative Code, there are very specific sanitation guidelines that you have to follow when you get your license, and there is a major component of constantly learning new sanitation practices all the time. The main difference you’ll see is us taking that sanitation to the next level: social distancing between booths, or barriers put in place, as well as reduced capacities in many salons. There will be more emphasis on reducing contact points and sanitizing things like doorknobs and counters as well. The biggest change will be the way we interact with our clients. We're a very emotional industry. We’re huggers, and we’re very close with the people we work with. Our clients are like family to us, so having to distance ourselves and not engage in that way will be different. 

What has been the greatest challenge to overcome over the past months? 

It’s really been adapting to the constant change we're all facing. We might spend all this energy sharing with our team new knowledge, but the next week it will change again. It’s been difficult to coordinate and continue to train everyone and update them with the new practices, as well as provide support for them while we're all distanced from each other. We're all scared right now, and it’s important to not lose our community so we can give each other confidence in the direction we’re heading in.

What have you witnessed over the past few months that gave you hope?

The biggest hope for me was serving on this committee. I’ve always felt so strong about our industry, so bringing so many people together and supporting one another during this difficult time. This whole thing has really brought us together as an industry, and shown that we can work together to support each other and raise each other up. There's enough clients for everybody, and it’s beautiful to see the incredible diversity of salons and see us all coming together to work with one another.

Are you worried about customers returning?

We’ve opened our booking today, but were not opening on the 15th, because we want to have a few days to go over the new procedures with our teams before we start to bring clients in. Every salon will only be operating at 50% capacity, and then we’re extending the hours to make sure everyone has the same hours they used to, and some of them are already booked out to July.

What would you say to ease the concerns of customers?

Really that we’re regulated by the state board and have so many sanitation practices in place. We have printouts posted showing the guidelines for clients that come to the stores, and for those who are high-risk, we are opening up early so they can be the first people to come in right after the salon is sanitized. What's important to remember about salons is that the regulators randomly check our spaces to make sure we're complying, and as we build on regulations, these checks are going to be taken to the next level. 

As a hairstylist, do you see any hairstyle trends emerging from this?

I definitely think there's gonna be a boom for bobs and pixie cuts, ‘cause people are just done. Maybe some bold colors, because everyone just wants to come out and say, “I’m back, baby.” Maybe just a little more attitude with the cuts people are getting.



Continue Reading

Style

Mask on: Local businesses offering fashionable, functional face masks

Mike Thomas

Published

on

Since their debut last week, our stylish face masks (made with care by an enterprising mother/daughter duo in Lewis Center) have been flying off the digital shelves in our online store. Since 100% of the sales of these masks benefits Service!, a relief effort working to eliminate hunger among restaurant industry workers and families, your purchases have made a real difference while doing your part to maintain personal and public health. [EDIT: As of April 28, we're all sold out of masks. So far, 614NOW readers have raised $2,080 for Service!]

As we prepare for the reopening of some public spaces next month, face masks are sure to remain a common sight. It comes as no surprise that some of Columbus' top brands have joined the mask game, providing their own lines of stylish and functional PPE for this strange new age we're all living in.

Homage, the city's homegrown fashion leader, has repurposed the famously soft materials used to produce its t-shirts into a nifty 3-layer mask, available for purchase on its online store.

Retailing at $9.00/per individual mask, 3 masks for for $24, or 5 for $35, one dollar from every Homage mask purchased will go to 100kmasksforohio.org.

Likewise, Columbus-based retailer Where I'm From has produced their own line of cloth masks. Comfortable, machine-washable, and 100% made in the USA, Where I'm From's masks are made of a tri-blend material. Check these out in a variety of colors at the company's online store.

Not to be outdone, Seventh Son Brewing has partnered with Positive Negative Press on their own line of functional branded masks. These masks, available in three attractive styles, are provided as a free gift to anyone who places a delivery order with Seventh Son this week (while supplies last).

Heard of any other good masks you think we should know about? Whether they're supporting a cause, or just in it for the #fashion, give your favorite purveyors of face-worn couture a shout out in the comments.

Continue Reading

Style

Columbus native to appear on premiere of ‘Making the Cut’

614Now

Published

on

Series debuts tonight, March 27 on Amazon Prime

Kent State School of Fashion alumni, Joshua Hupper and Will Riddle, will both be featured contestants on the new series hosted and produced by fashion gurus, Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn. Hupper, a 2004 alumnus, and Riddle, a 2013 alumnus, both majored in fashion design and have had significant roles in the industry since graduating. They were two of just 12 contestants from all over the globe to be featured on the 10-episode series.

Since graduating in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree, Hupper resides in Shanghai, China, where he founded the brand BABYGHOST, a successful e-commerce fashion brand based in China. His designs have been featured in Vogue and on runways around the world. His line features youthful, feminine ready-to-wear fashions for the “mischievous girl.” Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Hupper’s talents were shaped by his artistic upbringing and his past experiences in internships with Diane Von Furstenburg and Thakoon.

Continue Reading
X