Street Dreams Are Made Of These: Get A Sneak Peek At 12AM RUN Inside The LINQ
Nas is definitely no stranger to shoes, as he shared in his Complex Sneakers interview. According to the interview, Nas’ shoe collection spans more than Jordans. He shows love for British Knights, FILA and Adidas, particularly the shell-tops that Run D.M.C. made so popular. Nas also noted his collection is so big, it can have a house on its own. That’s some serious shoe game.
Seeing his collection would be amazing, but stepping into his new Las Vegas shoe store is equally dope. The rap legend teamed up with Vegas businessman Nick Sakai to open 12AM Run at The LINQ, the new outdoor shopping destination between Flamingo and The Quad. Not only is it Nas’ 20th anniversary of “Illmatic,” with 12AM Run he truly gets to celebrate in style.
The store quietly opened today, but will have its grand opening with its Nike merchandise Friday, April 25. During the store’s soft opening, you’ll find limited merchandise but enough to get you pumped. For now, get your hands on brands like The Hundreds, Billionaire Boys Club, Young and Reckless, Primitive, Stance, Adidas, Puma, Stüssy, Asics and much more. 12AM Run’s boutique-styled layout is clean and organized; while there are tons of products available, you won’t feel overwhelmed. Everything is easy to find and the high ceilings make it feel spacious and welcoming. My kind of shopping.
I got a chance to chat with Sakai, who is also up on his shoe game. 12AM Run is in the heart of the Strip, so it’ll attract both tourists and locals alike. 12AM Run also offers affordable items. It makes every stylish shopper feel included. Plus, being a fan of casual kicks it never hurts to add to my shoe collection.
Las Vegas has a couple of shoe and apparel boutiques in town, like Feature, Fruition and Undefeated. What makes 12AM Run stand out?
I think the unique, coolest thing is definitely the location. [With] a shopping center like The LINQ, we’re going to get so many tourists and locals. It’s fun to see this young, budding trend get noticed.
I heard that you were also behind CRSVR at The Cosmopolitan too. I love that store!
The Cosmo was really the first spot on the Strip that went after boutique retail. It was really fun and cool to see it work. Being here, it gives a chance to really personalize it and run with it. I think that people will really be excited about the price point and find stuff they can’t necessarily find at home.
I’m not the biggest sneaker head, though I did have the Air Maxes in ’97. But I do think even if you’re not a sneaker head, 12AM would still be fun.
A lot of sneaker shops cater directly to the sneaker head clientele, which is intimidating for the everyday shopper. I want to cater toward a broader demographic. You can hit so many different people. That’s what makes it fun, not to be the very cool sneaker boutique, but something that’s showing people this is fashion.
I read that celebrities and athletes can have access to a VIP locker area upstairs. How did that idea come about?
We had this crazy idea of doing a play on a bougie country club locker room. We want to sell memberships where customers actually have their shoes waiting for them when they come to Vegas. You always got to do something kind of Vegas-y. When people find out the more exclusive it is, the more they want to be a part of it.
Speaking of celebrities, how’s it like working with Nas? How did this partnership happen?
When I started my other business, it was never this crazy money-making thing. I’m genuinely passionate about it. When this came about, I had to find investors. I had a friend in L.A. at a convention with Nas, so he put it out there. So we meet him here a year ago when this place was all dirt. I showed him everything and what stores were going where. While we were walking, he started tweeting [about] his new shoe store opening in Vegas. He has so many followers that once he put it out there, he walked into this. I have my partner all of a sudden.
He seems like a cool guy.
He’s great. He’s super cool, mellow and loves everything we do, every design we do, all the brands. Everything gets run by him. It’s representative of him and his brand. He’s got songs and songs about sneakers. Hip hop goes hand-in-hand with sneaker culture. He was genuinely interested in doing this – not trying to get rich. Just do something he loves. The participation we got from him has been crazy. He’s definitely treating this like a passion project. He’s got a deep fan base and they’ll come out to support.
I’m hearing all about 12AM Run’s street-inspired concept. Tell me more about the overall vibe.
One of the main design elements we took to the table was designing a play on Vegas nightlife. Vegas nightlife has gotten a lot of control over the past few years, designed with a central DJ booth, and the venue around that. So we designed the store like that. You can actually shop under the DJ. He’s actually hovering above the shoes, like eight feet up.
Cool! When does the DJ perform?
Definitely weekends, peak hours. It adds an element to the store.
I read that you’ll be featuring artwork. How are you going to go about picking that?
There’s not one genre we’re targeting. We have this gigantic picture frame going up, the size of a billboard. The idea was we were going to swap it out quarterly based on what artist we chose.
With all these elements, you’re going to target a lot of people.
I want to create that over-the-top Vegas experience for a customer that might only have $30 – 100 budget to spend. Honestly, we probably won’t have anything over $200. They’re not breaking the bank. That’s just really where the volume of our sales is T-shirts, hats, beanies – it flies off the shelves.
What’s in style this spring?
We will always have the latest limited edition shoes. Socks are crazy right now. We are partnering with Stance Socks and have their largest display on the West Coast in our shop, as well as a huge selection from brands like Huf and Diamond Supply.
How did you get into the sneaker business?
I moved to Vegas from Santa Barbara, Calif., a small beach community. These old styles I wore as a kid started becoming fashion. There was nowhere to get them in Santa Barbara. I can only buy these shoes when I travel. Santa Barbara is a hub of all these college students. All these kids already know what this stuff is, but can’t get it. So I said if I can get my hands on them, I can sell them. It was a total leap of faith.
How long did you live in Vegas?
Three years, when I opened my first store in Cosmopolitan. To be a part of the two coolest, newest, hippest ones, to me it’s mind blowing. I’m fascinated with Vegas as a whole – the history, the growth, the scale and the community. We’ve been very fortunate to get overwhelming support.
One last question: If you can only take one pair of shoes with you, what would they be?
Air Maxes. For me, that’s my favorite shoe of all time. It’s a classic running shoe. It’s hard not to say a classic pair of Jordans, but for me I love Nike running shoes classic ones like the Air Max 1. It’s crazy they’re technically running shoes and people are just wearing them as fashion.
Make sure to come celebrate its grand opening at the end of this month. This is when Nike products (including Jordans) hit the shelves. And who knows? You might even see a celebrity or two. I’m excited to cop a pair of Stance Wu-Tang socks. Here’s just a hint of what you’ll see here.
Tags: 12AM Run