It seems like ages ago when Run DMC was kicking down doors in the fashion world while rocking crowds with their adidas “Superstars” on. This was only the beginning of what was to come, “The Brand with Three Stripes” endorsing popular figures of culture outside of the sports world. The brand managed to maintain relevancy consistently through its synonymous association with the global religion of soccer. Outside of that enterprise, the lifestyle appeal of adidas in the past was mostly overshadowed by one giant swoosh conglomerate. There was a general indifference amongst the public toward the designs. Sure it was classic, but it wasn’t guaranteed to break necks.
Those days are long gone. In the present, Adidas has managed to compile a seemingly indestructible design team that traverses all aspects of the fashion world. From top to bottom, the team is stacked with ambassadors of high fashion, streetwear and most importantly music.
It did not take place overnight. The German brand strategically plotted a silent takeover that began with the signing of the world famous designer Yohji Yamamoto in 2003, along with an equally influential Stella McCartney following suit the year after. At the time it was hard to swallow the selling point on the Y-3 collection. Shelling out a handful of benjamins for a single piece or sleek pair of kicks from the collection seemed downright absurd in the early ‘00s. This was long before the sneaker culture entered the “hype beast era,” which has seen retail price on kicks inflate beyond imagination.
By landing partnerships with two of the biggest names in fine fashion, adidas went left field with their next major signing, the especially boisterous Jeremy Scott. Scott’s collection brought innovations in design that were previously unfathomable. His eclectic apparel and footwear collections seemed more acceptable for cartoon characters to wear than runway models. However, this opened the door for a new chapter in adidas history, one where anything original went.
Rather than following trends, adidas carved their own lane. The brand became a school of creative thought. Style gurus could now express their artistic vision on athletic wear, packing function and fashion into one appealing punch. So what was next? Why not let musicians have a hand in creative direction.
No musical artist is as aesthetically influential as Kanye West. So when his relationship with Nike soured, adidas was there with open arms. Mr. West now has fans and attire addicts alike anxiously awaiting the release of his first collection. His reason for joining adidas was simply an ability to create product on a wider scale, a need that couldn’t be satisfied in his previous design ventures. The signing of Yeezus himself led to a slew of other signees including Rita Ora, Big Sean and pop superstar Selena Gomez.
As if that wasn’t enough, rumors are spreading like wildfire that Pharrell Williams is set to join the adidas team. He was recently spotted sporting a pair of custom Stan Smith’s on numerous occasions. Other evidence which would lead us to believe that Skateboard P is about to join the “Three Stripe” brigade is today’s announcement that Nigo has inked a deal with the company. Nigo’s notoriety stems from the iconic BAPE label, along with his hand in the BBC/Ice Cream companies alongside Pharrell. The plot thickens.
It is now clear that the global influence of adidas is beginning to take shape. A roster that features Yohji Yamamoto, Jeremy Scott, Raf Simons, Rick Owens, Kanye West, Nigo and possibly Pharrell is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with. Surely this team belongs in the same conversation as the ’92 USA Olympic Basketball “Dream Team.” An eminent changing of the guard is approaching. Nasty Nas might even have to rewrite rap history for us and spit, “Three Stripes on my feet keeps my cypher complete.”
Yo! Adrian’s been rocking shell toes since he was a rugrat.