Dubai shoppers queue at 4am to buy adidas x Ravi Restaurant shoes

The limited-edition footwear is now on sale online and at select stores

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Some people will do anything to get their hands on something they really, really want.

Tooshank Sharma is such a person. He woke up in the middle of the night to make sure he was front of the queue to bag the adidas x Ravi Restaurant trainers when they went on sale at 10am at The Dubai Mall's flagship adidas store on Thursday.

"I have been here since 4am," he tells The National. "This sneaker gives me a lot of nostalgia. I have been in Dubai for 10 years and I believe this is a piece of history, one you have to have."

His patience has paid off. He's the first inside the store and is able to grab a pair of the limited-edition trainers for Dh549.

For the launch, the flagship adidas store has been transformed into a Ravi Restaurant, complete with faux kitchen, table and chairs, chai cups and even a tuk-tuk, decked out in Ravi's famous green and white.

The walls are lined with adidas x Ravi T-shirts, with face masks and paper waiter hats on display; they are the same as those staff wear at the beloved Satwa institution.

One whole section of the store is given over to those wanting to customise their purchases, with patches and stickers laid out.

Buyers are able to have Ravi stickers pressed on to the T-shirts, including the same snippet of Ravi's menu and price list that is on the tongue of the shoe, from Dh129.

The collaboration has taken more than 18 months to bring to fruition, from conception to execution.

Another shopper, Sabi, explains why he finds it so attractive. "I think this is a one of a kind. It was the collaboration with Ravi Restaurant that prompted me to come here, as this is something to collect," he says.

A self-confessed "sneakerhead", Sabi saw this as a unique chance to get hold of something special. "I am sure we are never going to get this opportunity again, and that's why it's special. I actually only wear Nikes, so I am buying this pair to collect," he says.

Unlike with other brand tie-ups, which tend to draw a teenage crowd, the mixed demographic buying this shoe is noticeable.

When we visit the store, there are Emirati women, twenty-somethings in shorts, middle-aged men and even an elderly German couple looking mildly perplexed by the whole thing — all waiting patiently for their chance to be allowed in.

With the store decorated to look like Ravi Restaurant, there are even themed cushions. Sarah Maisey / The National

Another shopper, Saeed, joined the queue by accident. "I learnt about these trainers on Instagram a few days ago, but wasn't really paying attention. Then, by sheer coincidence, I was just walking past, so here I am. I am very happy," he says with a broad smile.

While adidas will not disclose how many pairs are available, the range is expected to sell out on Thursday.

Although an informal policy of five pairs per customer is in place, the general mood is less stressed and more laid-back than other high-profile drops. Everyone is content to wait their turn, and there is no pushing or shoving. People are politely snapping up one or two pairs each, and all are leaving with big smiles.

It's a nod to the role Ravi's has played in Dubai society for so many years.

Heena, who only recently moved to Dubai, sums it up. "This restaurant was recommended to us so many times," she says. "And then, this month, the whole campaign started and I realised this has some sort of cultural significance. So here I am."

Scroll through the gallery below to see pictures of Ravi Restaurant in Satwa

Updated: June 23, 2022, 3:59 PM
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