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Pras: Once in the cultural stratosphere, you can’t be seen to drop down

I went for a socially distanced bowl of chips the other day. I asked the waiter if I could get some ketchup. What he didn’t day was, “yes, of course I’ll get you some ketchup.” Nor did he say, “no I’m sorry we don’t have any ketchup.”  Either being a perfectly reasonable response.

He said: “sweet life.”

I asked for ketchup and he said “sweet life”, then ran off to get my ketchup.

Sweet life.

I mean, I guess there’s a sweetness to ketchup. Besides ‘savoury life’ doesn’t really have the same ring to it. But that wasn’t what my server was getting at. He was saying ‘no problem’, or ‘good choice’, or perhaps an amalgamation of the two.

Sweet life? I’m all for seeing the positives in life, especially now. But if we’ve got to the point where requesting a condiment warrants a ‘sweet life’, you know times must be tough.

That said, I do have another theory. I like to imagine the poor lad was so intimidated by my progressive streetwear, he assumed I would only respond to nonsensical urban patois. Maybe I just look like a ‘sweet life’ kind of guy.

Needless to say, my girl doesn’t agree.

“It’s just how people in Peckham talk”, she says. “He probably says that to everyone.”

I don’t know though. I’ve now convinced myself that my sartorial standing in the area is so high, it’s starting to affect how the locals talk to me. I am Mr Sweet Life. And I will be spoken to as such.

Of course, such prestige brings with it its own unique pressures. Once in the cultural stratosphere, you can’t be seen to drop down. My fits must remain nuclear fresh. Hence these kicks from Pras.

 

 

There’s actually nothing massively new going on here. As a menswearist, you’ll be familiar with the tales of Kurume in Japan, and the rubber vulcanisation process that results in traditional but timeless casual footwear. This shoe is the ‘Grid Deck’ and is a different beast from that other Pras classic, the ‘Shell-Cap’. It’s paired back, simple and clean — for anyone considering something Vans-ish, it’s a strong alternative and far superior in construction to the American skater classics.

Onboard you’ve got black canvas and suede, but for me it’s the natural rubber piece hugging the front of the sole unit that brings the freshness. At the risk of sounding like a doofus, it just looks cool. You can grab these in beige, but I like the juxtaposition of the dark upper and the sandy gum. As I say, there’s nothing super new here, but the addition of that band to the sole transforms the familiar into something original.

Full disclosure: my ‘sweet life’ story isn’t entirely true. A server did say ‘sweet life’, but it wasn’t the other day, it was years ago. In fact, truth be told, I think I’ve actually used this story somewhere on this blog before. Let’s just think of it as upcycling. Taking something old, giving it a tweak and punting it back at your audience. Exactly like these sneakers.

 

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