Experiencing The World Of Street Culture: Abhishek Bardia

Abhishek Bardia, Head of Marketing, SoleSearch chats about building on the success of SneakinOut’s previous editions, the key trends that are expected to dominate SneakinOut this year, collaborations and partnerships, and more


SneakinOut, the sneaker festival presented by Swiggy SteppinOut has made a comeback with its third edition in association with SoleSearch. It provides sneaker-heads the opportunity to immerse themselves in the vibrant world of sneakers, streetwear, music, and more in Pune, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Mumbai, and Hyderabad. More than just a haven for sneaker enthusiasts, SneakinOut offers an inclusive adventure for anyone intrigued by street culture or those seeking immersive experiences.

Everything Experiential spoke to Abhishek Bardia, Head of Marketing, SoleSearch about building on the success of SneakinOut’s previous editions, the key trends that are expected to dominate SneakinOut this year, collaborations and partnerships, and more.

Edited excerpts:

What strategies has SoleSearch employed to build on the success of its previous festival editions?

From the beginning the festival has always been about the world of street culture and not just the fashion part of it. So while we made improvements on the number of and kind of brands we curate, we've also added other sub-cultural elements such as b-boying/street dancing, hip-hop music performances as mainstay activities of the festival. The idea is to refine the experience year or year and provide the most holistic street culture experience there is.

Please provide insights into the collaboration between Swiggy SteppinOut and Solesearch for SneakinOut Festival.

Our partnership with Swiggy SteppinOut is ideal where they bring the expertise in event management and operations and we bring the street culture along-with brands and audiences. We work in cohesion as our responsibilities as partners are well defined and we execute our areas with synergy. It's been a great ride building the festival and the culture at scale and taking it across the country, exposing the culture to newer audiences.

Please highlight the key trends in sneakers and streetwear that are expected to dominate SneakinOut this year.

While sneakers are always a crowd-favourite, streetwear has significantly picked up in India over the past year. Be it international brands or homegrown brands. Over the past couple events we've had this season, homegrown brands that have participated with us have seen exposure and engagement with new audiences. These are audiences that they can make one-on-one relationships with, beyond just selling their products. Alongside streetwear, we also have new accessory brands that are also opting to take spaces to get visibility. 

Please share insights into the global and homegrown brands participating in SneakinOut – how are they curated for diversity?

The idea is to always have a well-curated mix of brands that appeal to various audiences. With international brands its to have the ones that people look for the most such as Essentials, Drew House, Supreme, BAPE etc. These are brands that are global heavyweights and Indian audiences look for. With domestic brands its more focused around discovery and giving young, up & coming brands a platform to showcase their collections. This year we've had brands like Instinct First, Rising Among, Drippin Moncky (who are also brands that sell via our e-commerce channels) and been with us for past editions + new partners like Khayal, Gerka, Flypside who're putting themselves out for the first time. 

How does the festival balance offering the latest sneaker releases with showcasing local sneaker and streetwear culture?

Latest sneaker releases are largely showcased by us at our branded experience and by other sneaker resellers that participate with us. While this is only a small percentage, most participating vendors bring a diverse variety of popular and in-demand products purely from a sales perspective. 

Please discuss the role of SneakinOut in influencing and shaping sneaker and streetwear trends in the participating cities.

When SneakinOut started in 2021 there was no branded, all-in-one street culture festival that brought together the many sub-cultures under one roof for cultural enthusiasts. The sneakers and street culture space was also just picking up then and was very new in itself. Over the past 2 years as we've taken the festival around the country to 11+ cities, we've seen the culture grow in these cities as audiences have discovered many brands via our events and brands have acquired new customers in return. We're still the only touring street culture festival at the scale we execute. The festival has grown multi-folds in participation and attendance as the culture in general has grown in the country.

What other collaborations and partnerships could be expected from SoleSearch in the upcoming months?

At SoleSearch we're constantly working with brands and partners to provide new experiences, be it online or offline. We're working with international and domestic brands to on-board them on our commerce platforms. We also work with mainstream brands such as Royal Enfield (also title sponsors of SneakinOut), Budweiser India and provide brand solutions in the form of the festival and other collaborations we've done in the past. We also have some retail experiences in the pipeline in new cities, so it's safe to say that there will be a lot you will see from us. 

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