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The legendary fashion icon ALIFE got its start in 1999 at the now legendary 178 Orchard Street boutique store in New York City. With a humble storefront like this, it might have been easy to mislabel it as another fly-by-night boutique or sneaker shop, but with roots firmly set in the NYC community, ALIFE quickly established itself as something special. Rather than let their style define a lifestyle, the owners chose instead chose to let the lifestyle of artists from LI to Bronx, Brooklyn to Queens define the style of their gear. After meeting with these creative wizards, the 178 Orchard Street store transformed itself from a sneaker boutique into a workshop where artists and dreamers alike could collaborate and create something that was true to their lifestyle. The doors were open to cultural influences throughout the hip hop, skate and artistic communities. The boutique become as much an art installation as it was a retail store, and soon, ALIFE boutiques began to spring up all over the world, from the famed Rivington Club in New York to shops in Los Angeles, Vancouver, and Tokyo.
As ALIFE's reputation as a cultural icon grew, some of the biggest names in the sneaker business began to take note. Soon, ALIFE's artistic owners were collaborating with the likes of adidas, ASICS, PUMA, Reebok, and Timberland to create truly unique footwear that set off the NYC lifestyle while appealing to a broader spectrum who may have been only familiar with the mainstream brand's styles. In a milestone 2004 collaboration with Levi's, the progressive street style of ALIFE melded with the iconic American brand to create a temporary retail installation that stood as a testament to the classic Levi's 501 jeans and the oft-envied ALIFE lifestyle.
ALIFE's collaborations with the fashion industry led to unique partnerships outside of footwear fashion. In 2006, ALIFE began to sponsor cultural events that allowed ALIFE followers to become intimately involved with the brand. this personal approach garnered a whole new audience, and sparked an interest in the ALIFEstyle that showcased the talents of musicians like Moby, Q-Tip, John Mayer among other progressive artists.
From its humble beginnings in the Orchard Street boutique in New York, ALIFE was a driving catalyst in the early sneaker culture, sparking a movement that's still thriving today. Modern street-style footwear just wouldn't be the same if ALIFE would not have broken through to allow artistic influence and design. In ten short years, ALIFE has showed the world what creativity, authenticity, and community can bring about in their line of shoes. Who can tell what the future holds, but with ALIFE leading the way, the future looks awefully cool.