Last year, the adidas Consortium Tour visited a selection of the planet’s most influential sneaker retailers, travelling through North America, Europe and Asia to bring us a lineup of collaborative footwear.
Now, Consortium is continuing the party with the Sneaker Exchange program, through which select adidas partners will be bringing us even more limited sneakers over the duration of 2017. Kicking off the festivities, adidas loops in Sneakersnstuff with Social Status to create collaborative versions of the classic Superstar and the ever-popular Ultra Boost.
As Consortium's Senior Product Manager Jimmy Manley explains, "Consortium started because these smaller accounts, mom and pop shops, offer a platform to express themselves as well, and often the minimums for ordering are quite high. So with Consortium, the idea is to have a group collection of five shops that could say 'When you do a project, we all support you, and take a range of pairs. I do a project, you support mine, and so on,' so we started from that small place to where we are right now."
For the second installation in the Exchange, Stockholm meets North Carolina, bringing us limited edition versions of the Ultra Boost and Superstar Boost. To find out even more about the adidas Consortium Sneaker Exchange, we sat down with Erik Fagerlind from Sneakersnstuff and James Whitner of Social Status.
First, how was the process of designing between three parties?
James: It's wasn't difficult at all. The key was understanding what we wanted, and then communicating it to the adidas team. Once we got the design ideas off of the page, it honestly came together without any stress at all. The biggest issue, if there was one at all, was the time differences when we needed to talk, as all three sides have very busy schedules, so at times it took days to get on a call to set up reviews, or to make sure we were aligned on feedback and approvals.
Erik: There will always be a risk of having too many chefs in the kitchen, but it was super smooth. We talked to James about what we wanted and it was almost scary how alike our thought processes were. Then when talking to the adidas team about that, that was the easiest part. They have such a talented team.
Walk us through the color scheme and details of the Ultra Boost and Superstar
James: The story behind our project is sports/luxury, so we wanted the color scheme to lend itself to both shoes. The shelltoe (Superstar) is actually a basketball shoe, but since adidas added the Boost sole, we wanted to make sure it married in well.
Erik: Initially this was supposed to be launched around the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte, NC. So the Superstar was a perfect fit, seeing as it's getting the Boost treatment and all. To connect everything with the Ultra Boost was just an easy choice, as the adidas Superstar was created as a basketball shoe, but it became super popular in the streets back in the '70s and '80s. The Ultra Boost of course is a great running shoe, but also huge in the streets. You could say it's the adidas Superstar of our generation.
What did you learn or take away from working with another retailer?
James: The Sneakersnstuff team has been around for years, so it was good to get closer to them and get to know them well enough to call them family. I also learned that even though we are from different parts of the world, our grind is still the same. We have the same stresses and we get excited about many of the same things. I guess adidas deserves credit for playing match maker and knowing we would be a good fit to work together.
Erik: I think this is the beauty of the Sneaker Exchange program - although we didn't know James all that well walking into this, it turned out to be one of those guys you just click with. Not surprising of course - we might have different backgrounds and come from different parts of the world, but we share the same values and think the same way about so many things.
Have you had the chance to visit the other's respective shops?
James: I've visited the Sneakersnstuff boutique in Paris and London. I'm looking forward to checking out the others too.
Erik: I'm afraid not. We have had the pleasure of hanging out with James and his team on several occasions, but we have yet to visit any of his stores. Hopefully we can put that on the agenda for 2017.
Which other retailer partners are you excited to see with Sneaker Exchange?
James: I'm a huge fan of Stine from Naked in Copenhagen, she's a great person and does an amazing job, so I'm looking forward to seeing her project come to life. I also have another project on the exchange with Atlanta's A Ma Maniére, so I'm obviously excited about that. Overall, I'm eager to see how the world responds to it.
Erik SNS: We have been a part of this family for a long time now, and many of the partners are now close friends. It's always exciting to see what your friends are up to. Looking forward to seeing what our friends at Naked will do, and also Sneakerboy out of Australia. Packer Shoes always brings a good concept too. It will be another great year for adidas.
The Sneakersnstuff x Social Status x adidas Consortium Ultra Boost and Superstar Boost drop globally on February 18 from Consortium accounts.