These days, adidas partnerships are more plentiful than ever, as the German sportswear brand maintains ongoing co-ops with fashion designers, skateboarding brands, musicians and more. The brand’s inline offerings are also extremely diverse, with Originals to underpin classic adidas products and provide a platform for collaborations, Consortium as a more limited top-tier range, and EQT which traditionally signifies performance products. These three main segments provide a steady trickle of products for adidas fans, but it took adidas some time to get the formula right.
As successful as the sportswear giant is currently, adidas’ SLVR collection is an example of a diffusion line that didn’t fare so well. The range of premium, technical sportswear products was pulled from production in 2014, after SLVR was initially established in 2009 with the tag line “Simply Perfect,” and shown at premium trade fairs around the world, including Pitti Uomo in Florence.
Concept and design for SLVR was handled by Alexander Schaper, a German designer with a background in sportswear, who directed the range’s experimental yet functional apparel and footwear, and has since moved on to work for Filippa K. Dirk Schoenberger was also involved in the range, handling design, although he now oversees creative direction for the adidas Sport Style department.
Explaining SLVR’s fencing-inspired SS12 collection in an adidas press release, Dirk noted “SLVR relies on the technical excellence of adidas as a brand, but pushes the limits of sportswear and does not look back. Something that is right now.”
Some SLVR flagship stores around the world were closed down permanently, like those in New York and Los Angeles, while others were repurposed and reallocated for other adidas collections – the SLVR space in Miami became a home for Stella McCartney’s line with adidas, and Berlin’s storefront was eventually dedicated to adidas Originals. The line was also stocked in high-end department stores like Galeries Lafayette, and smaller, independent boutiques around the world.
Aesthetically, SLVR wasn’t a far cry from the Yohji Yamamoto-headed Y-3 range, as both were characterized by heavy use of black and informed by a futuristic, forward-thinking design ethos. In the wake of SLVR, adidas started to truly tackle the high-fashion market, freeing up resources to emphasize more focus on collaborative ventures with designers such as Raf Simons, Rick Owens and Tom Dixon.
Given the success of these celebrity-driven collections, and those with the likes of Pharrell and Kanye West, it’s unlikely that any of adidas’ top brass are lamenting the choice to shutter SLVR.
In a way, SLVR’s tailored sportswear was ahead of its time, and the brand would likely have fared better if it was introduced in today’s athleisure-savvy market. Most info on the range has since been scrubbed from the web, and adidas declined our requests for updated quotes on the now defunct range, however, a quick search will still reveal images of SLVR footwear and apparel, which you can see above. R.I.P. SLVR, we hardly knew ‘ye.
For another dose of streetwear nostalgia, read up on the time Louis Vuitton sued New York City skate brand Supreme.