What Went Down: Sneaker Freaker x PUMA Bunyip Launch Party @ Hasti Bala Bar, Melbourne

Melbourne played host to some killer events this past weekend, which saw the launch party of the highly anticipated Sneaker Freaker x Puma Dallas Bunyip collaboration and Acclaim Magazine’s annual industry conference Carbon Festival, and ending with a sole frenzy at Sneaker Freaker’s Swap Meet. Having interned at ‘Freaker before, it was a warm homecoming on 27 April when I had the pleasure to interview my old boss aka Woody, the head honcho and founder of the world’s only sneaker boogazine, about the upcoming collaboration kicks, the mysterious and immaculately detailed Puma Dallas Bunyips, which took a mere three years in the making!

For the return to the SF office for a first time look at the Bunyip, I was accompanied by a few serious trendsetters in the street scene, specifically Singapore’s Limited Edt owner, the founder of Freshness and Jules from Streething. The inspiration of these refined runners was taken from the Bunyip, an evil mythical Australian creature that lurks in darkness and is shrouded in mystery, much like the Yeti or Abominable Snowman.

Upon first impression, the Bunyip seems like an unassuming dressy black suede lifestyle sneaker, but take a short time to inspect these bad boys and you’ll realise the laborious efforts that went into making these mythological creature themed pair of kicks. The thick crepe sole is a stern departure from your average 3 gram runners you’ll find taking up the window fronts of almost any sneaker store you may run into, making them incredibly luxurious and cushy to walk in. Sneaker Freaker is notorious for using unusual animal hides on their past collabs, such as shark and kangaroo leather and the Bunyip is no different. Covered in black goat suede, the leather lined Dallas sings in its subtle design details from its waxed laces, extra tongue padding and hints of red on the hang tag and inner label that you’ll find on every Sneaker Freaker x Puma collab.

The launch party the following night took place at the new Hasti Bala Bar in Melbourne’s CBD which was covered in foliage, with a few furry costumed “Bunyips” running around, the event saw an overspill of Carbon speakers partying up, such as the legendary Ricky Powell aka “The 4th Beastie Boy”, one of the city’s biggest sneaker freakettes Mafia, Eugene Kan from Hypebeast, Acclaim Magazine’s Andrew Montell, New York’s 13th Witness and a host of reps from highly regarded publications such as Sneeze, Mass Appeal, Freshness, Streething and New Order.

As Hans DC was dishing out hip hop party beats, the launch party kicked into overdrive with several Bunyip giveaways, a speech by Woody and nonstop partying by Formstripe Fanatics celebrating the long awaited collab! The next day, most of the partygoers from the night before attended Acclaim’s 2-day annual Carbon Festival, a meeting of industry heads, magazine founders, writers, photographers and graffiti artists. Along with inspiring talks by trendsetters and big guns from the street industry, we even managed to score a chat with the son of Futura, street photographer 13th Witness and waxed lyrical with Hypebeast’s first ever editor, Eugene Kan. The manic weekend was topped off the following day with Sneaker Freaker’s Swap Meet at Fed Square, an annual sneaker market that is a must-see for any sneakerhead residing on this side of the Equator. Many thanks go to Puma and Sneaker Freaker for throwing a rad party and making an even radder sneaker for all to celebrate!

The Sneaker Freaker x PUMA Bunyip is now available on Sneaker Freaker’s online store