I am afraid to say that Joburg’s urban street culture event has no standard. Not sure there was a guide to begin with, Str Crd has lost its relevance and hasn’t even been around that long. Three years down the line and this multi-faceted industry, which aims to showcase youth culture, has fallen off the radar. It’s unfortunate, but Str Crd has lost its street cred.
I can’t help but be excited for the event though. With faceless floating figures of fashion swimming between the selected street brands, my voyeuristic activity comes into play. People don’t come to this event to learn about urban culture, they come to get photographed. This is so delicately played out when you ask an individual for their photo to screen their items on social media. If you don’t come from a reputable source or cannot provide them and their outfit enough coverage online to ensure that they paid/bartered/found is certified, they are uninterested in posing for you. This year there were more photo booths than there were brands and labels. Sad innit?
For its third consecutive year, I expected more. Their first event was found on the streets of Maboneng. There was live music, dance battles, drinking lounges, seminars on youth and urban culture, skate competition, etc. The hype was evident, but so too was the entertainment. Brands and stylists flew in/road-tripped from Cape Town to stand by their stall and meet up with ol’time fashion flings or be exposed to their competition. As the second year crept in, its traders halved. As the third event approached, maybe a quarter of their stalls were still visible. People involved relayed commentary of fatigue and frustration. No one was getting what they were promised. I ended up spending a percentage of the day walking from Flying Fish to Vans to obtain ‘free’ drinks. And it wasn’t just me who has the same idea. The free booze connected people. They felt like they were all in it together.
Str Crd is promoted as an authentic and creative platform for youth convergence, but I did not see the fusion of strangers come together to discuss relevant brands or ideas. Mind you, most of them concentrated on tweaking their outfits to make sure they were noticed, so I guess the level of priority was a bit off target.
All in all, I left having a mediocre time. I still live off the fumes of the first event, high in nostalgia of what can potentially be a great idea. Holding thumbs that the fourth time around is promising.
Featured Image: Ross Maxwell