Designer: Onitsuka Tiger

Location: Tokyo

Season: SS19

Key Pieces: The Kill Bill-style yellow and black tracksuit (slide 9) has a very obvious source of inspiration and brings back memories of Bruce Lee rocking Onitsuka Tiger.

Editor’s Notes: Onitsuka Tiger, under the creative direction of designer Andrea Pompilio, showed its SS19 lineup in Tokyo recently. The highlight of the event, which showcased both apparel and footwear, was the Bruce Lee-inspired tracksuit mentioned above. In addition, we were given a great look at what’s to come from the Japanese brand. Check out imagery from the show above.

Highsnobiety’s Footwear Editor, Chris Danforth, had the chance to sit down with Onitsuka Tiger Creative Director Andrea Pompilio to discuss the new collection and more.

On his first memory of Onitsuka Tiger

I think the first memory is of Bruce Lee wearing that iconic tracksuit.

On the key themes of the SS19 collection

I think it's a very unique collection. In this collection there is a melting pot of different cultures. There’s the Japanese because Onitsuka Tiger is one of the the biggest and strongest and oldest companies in sportswear. On the other side, there is a European mentality in the form of me bringing over all my experience, but especially my Italian or European taste. So these two things, they are melting pot to create a new world.

On how the partnership evolved from collaboration to collection

We’ve been collaborating for probably four or five years, so now I thought it was time to grow from both sides. At the moment, that's the reason why we moved to a different level [of collaboration], so now I'm a little bit of a coordinator of all the projects at Onitsuka Tiger.

On deciding which sneakers to include in the footwear offering

There is one part of the collection that is completely redesigned and new. Those we call a seasonal collection of shoes. But there is another collection, almost like 75 to 80 percent of the entire collection, that is made up of historical pieces. These historical designs have been changed completely because we change details, color, and materials. Most of the shoes you see [above] are one of Onitsuka Tiger’s first basketball shoes, I think from the fifties, but we're recoloring them and putting a new patch on everything. So these look like completely different sneakers, but in reality, the design is straight from the fifties.

On his favorite piece from the collection

I’ve always loved the one piece tracksuit, it looks straight out of a Kill Bill movie. I love that material because I remember when I was a child, the polyester was used by everybody in sportswear. But at the same time, I think it's a piece that represents this company so well, which is why I really love it.

On the obvious Bruce Lee references

I always love that, in any season, we try to make references like this. Even when we started this collaboration, I think the main color we use — even for the label — was a strong yellow transparent paper with Onitsuka Tiger branding. So since the beginning, for me, the main color of this company is that iconic that black and Onitsuka Tiger yellow. Sorry, I mean the Kill Bill yellow.

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