Status Sneaks Up on Burlington

Status sits on Church Street in the shadow of Borders, across the street from the rest of the large chain clothing stores that line Burlington’s prime shopping real estate.

It’s a small shop, about 12 feet across and 30 feet deep. Track lighting lines the ceiling and illuminates the austere wire and steel racks on either side of the store. At the very back is the counter with fulllength mirrors on either side, with a glass case holding about 12 pairs of Nikes in varying styles and colors, not available at your local sporting goods store.

These are special editions with, in most cases, runs of only several hundred pairs in existence.

“Most of these shoes, they come out and then they’re gone,” Jeff, one of the store’s owners said as he gazed over their collection.

Status is part of a new and extremely hip trend in the sneaker business, the sneaker boutique, the first of which was opened by Bobbito Garcia a sneaker/DJ/hip-hop renaissance man in Philadelphia in 1996, which specialized in vintage Nikes. It was followed by Alife in New York and then such Web sites as http://www.flightclubny.com and http://www.pickyourshoes.com. Status which opened in December of 2005 specializes in rare and expensive shoes with a selection that is constantly changing as new styles appear and the old are gobbled up by collectors and sneaker connoisseurs.

“We don’t order the same thing over and over again,” Jeff said. “We don’t like to push anything on anybody, we want you to come in and fall in love with something.”

The shoes and clothing come from as far away as New York, Hawaii and California, where the owners themselves go to design their inventory.

“It’s part of the new idea of high-end street fashion,” co-owner Harley said. This is part of an interesting marriage of art and hip-hop commerce that have taken the industry in a very big way in the past five or so years.

Status carries shoes and clothing designed by hard to find graffiti artists such as “Stash” and “Futura,” a world famous graffiti artist who came to fame in NYC in the early ’70s bombing subway cars. They also carry shoes designed by Jeff himself. The clothing, or “gear,” that they carry is by companies such as Recon/Subwear, J$/Anx, Married to the Mod, Gravis Black Box, Palis, in4mation and Surr.

The store plans to host an art show with UXA in April. “We want it to look more like a gallery,” Haley said. Shoes range from about $70 for the more generic, and up to $500 to $1,000 for those shoes released in limited runs, such as those by “Futura.” Lace up your kicks, Burlington, you’re at the cutting edge.

“We wanted to come up here because Burlington is just the spot,” Jeff said. “New York … other places … are saturated with this stuff.”