How one brand turned bunny hi-tops into a fashion statement
By WGSN Insider

Minna Parikka’s cutesy, pink sneakers feed the trend for all things nostalgia and are a social media hit. WGSN contributor Megan Lloyd-Roberts reports

Dec 02, 2015
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Trying to sell a combination of pink ponyskin, bunny ears and a powder-puff tail on a pair of sneakers to adults – fashion-forward ones at that – shouldn’t work.  Then try selling them at a luxury price point. But, one brand is doing just that.

Helsinki designer Minna Parikka launched her footwear brand for women, in an attempt to counteract the amount of female shoe brands created by men. With one key item – the bunny eared sneaker- she kick-started the entire brand and captured the attention of fashion insiders and A-listers alike. How has one small footwear item managed to create such a buzz?

This key item perfectly captures the current wave of youth influence on the wider adult retail market.

“The appeal lies in the fact that it’s a nod to the trend for youthful nostalgia. Also in our recent trend report for Junior Essentials Accessories Spring 2016, we saw a demand for kitsch maximalism, which is gradually taking over the market- switching from normcore to something more playful and kitsch,” says WGSN Youth Editor Shanu Walpita.

The Minna Parikka sneakers are expertly crafted in Spain from the finest materials, and it is this high-end craftsmanship which says that you’re a real grown-up with discerning taste. The combination of the practical craftsmanship and playful design  appeals because it’s a way of saying you don’t take yourself too seriously – it’s fashion, not faarshun – and it’s more than just a quirky gimmick.

“There’s definitely a market shift towards niche retail stores such as Dover Street Market stocking a mix of street and high-end brands”, add Walpita.

Taking that idea forward this brand encompasses those elements, high-end and street wear, all in one product. It’s a very real example of how brands that can capture the zeitgeist and embody the appeal of today’s culture of digital communication can find their footing in markets beyond just Gen X.

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