woman greenscreen TikTok over man's dating profile (l) woman holding shoes with caption 'OH HELL NO WE RIDE AT DAWN' (c) woman pointing to shoe rack (r)

@nextlevellexuss/TikTok @nextlevellexuss/TikTok Remix by Caterina Cox

‘Hipster on hipster robbery’: The viral ‘tabi swiper’ video, explained

'Tabi sales bout to skyrocket.'


Sayou Cooper

Internet Culture

Posted on Sep 5, 2023

“NYC fashion girls beware!!!,” TikToker @nextlevellexuss captioned her viral video from a few days ago about a traumatizing date. Digital creator and “fashion girlie” Lex detailed a chance encounter with a man named Joshua that almost led to her losing a pair of beloved Mary Jane tabi shoes. The original video garnered more than 969,200 views and led to the creator recording multiple follow-up videos. Here’s everything you need to know.

@nextlevellexuss Girls and gays of TikTok please get to work 😭 #nycdating #tinderhorrorstories #hingedating #margielatabis #nyc#greenscreen ♬ bad idea right? – Olivia Rodrigo

First, what are tabi shoes?

Costing around $990 and up, the Maison Margiela luxury shoes are fashion’s hot commodity this year. The brand and its shoes are worn by the likes of socialite Kyle Jenner and rapper Cardi B and is a staple in NYC fashion streetwear.

The brand’s tabi-style shoes, in particular, have become popular. Originating in Japan, tabi shoes divide the big toe from the other toes. Maison Margiela sells tabis in the form of boots, sneakers, ballet flats, mules, heels, and more.

How did the tabi shoes get stolen?

Lex met Joshua randomly while walking in Soho, Manhattan. The two would eventually go on a date after matching on Tinder, with no immediate red flags. The pair hung out again at Lex’s apartment for a casual hookup. During the hangout, the two talked about fashion and Lex noted Joshua said, “He really wants tabis.” Funnily enough, located visibly in Lex’s apartment was a pair of Mary Jane tabis gifted from her father. This same pair would mysteriously disappear after Joshua left the next morning and ghosted her immediately after.

“I wonder how many times he’s done this,” a commenter asked in the TikTok creator’s second follow-up video. This video has more than 370,000 views.

Lex also noted that she thinks her date stole the shoes by putting them in his baggy pants.

@nextlevellexuss Replying to @KingAshleyBee ♬ original sound – Lex

Perplexed and obviously frustrated, Lex shared the story of what happened on TikTok in hopes of getting her shoes back. Spoiler alert: she did!

@nextlevellexuss The procurement of the tabis. The chuckling and shrug is very 👹 #nycdating #tabigirl #tabigate #nyc ♬ original sound – Lex

How did the TikToker get her shoes back?

With assistance from the internet, Lex found Joshua’s Instagram to inquire about her shoes. “He finally calls me 2 hours later after he private his account and starts to gaslight me, and tell me that he didn’t steal them,” Lex said.

Unfortunately for Joshua, or the “Tabi swiper,” the evidence was damning. Lex had found his girlfriend’s Instagram profile and spotted her Tabi shoes in a shared story.

“Margiela need to send you free shoes cos i didn’t know what tabis were before u,” someone said in Lex’s final update on the situation. Reasonable, since Lex’s videos would garner many stitches and have everyone talking about the infamous tabi shoes.

“Hipster on hipster crime,” said comedian and TikToker @royce.wynner on the situation.

Joshua reportedly finally admitted to stealing the tabi shoes and asked Lex to remove her video on the incident. As of Tuesday, all of the videos are still up on TikTok. The two publicly met for the shoe return, which Lex recorded.

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*First Published: Sep 5, 2023, 5:56 pm CDT