DARING DESIGNER. Designer Alexander Wang, center right, and
adidas creative director Nic Galway, center left, pose with
models after the "adidas Originals by Alexander Wang" collection
was featured at Fashion Week in New York. Wang has taken his
love of sneakers to a new level, partnering with adidas for a
line of apparel and footwear that seeks, in his words, to
"disrupt" the famous adidas look while still preserving its
familiarity. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff)
From The Asian Reporter, V26, #18 (September 19, 2016), page
Alexander Wang partners with adidas Original on new
By Jocelyn Noveck
The Associated Press
NEW YORK — Designer Alexander Wang is, by his own description, a
total sneakerhead. He once even designed a whole clothing collection
around them, with dresses, tops, and handbags emulating his favorite
sneaks, like the classic white-and-green adidas Stan Smith.
Now, Wang has taken his sneaker love to a new level, partnering with
adidas for a line of apparel and footwear that seeks, in his words, to
"disrupt" the famous adidas look while still preserving its familiarity.
One example: rotating the well-known trefoil logo upside down. Another:
"deconstructing" the adidas sneaker. Also, the entire collection is
unisex: Pants, tops, shoes.
Wang introduced the new line as a surprise finale to his Fashion Week
runway show, in a huge space on a Hudson River pier. After modelling
creations from Wang’s own label, models rushed backstage to change into
new adidas garb, while a one-and-a-half minute film teased the new
Then they marched onto the runway, more than 70 of them, all clad in
black, as the crowd — which included Madonna and Nicki Minaj — craned
their necks and snapped endless photos. It was, Wang said, "the biggest
show we’ve ever done."
In designing the new line, the key challenge was to change up the
adidas look so it feels fresh — but not to the point that it’s
unrecognizable, Wang said in an interview.
"It was really about saying, how do we take something and shake it up
a little, disrupt it, but at the same time not change it so much where
it doesn’t feel right."
The 32-year-old designer is recognized as one of the most talented
and busiest of his generation. He launched his own, eponymous label 11
years ago, at age 21. Last year, he ended a prestigious three-year stint
as creative director at Balenciaga, a job that had him splitting his
time between Paris and New York. Since then, he’s been back fulltime at
his own label, where he focuses heavily on streetwear — and is a
favorite of the celebrity set.
As for adidas, it clearly wanted to capitalize on Wang’s edgy and
"I’ve been a fan for a long time, this connection he has with culture
and New York and breaking down boundaries," said Nic Galway, vice
president of design for adidas Originals, who began exploring a
partnership with Wang the day after attending the designer’s 10th
anniversary runway show last September.
"What I really love about Alex is that he is a really established
part of the fashion world, but he stands for not being elitist," Galway
said in an interview. "He lets people in."
For Wang, it was a chance to work with a brand he often wore as a
child, and especially to work with sneakers.
"I grew up on sneakers," he said. "It’s a very interesting time
obviously for (all) sportswear, the whole market and how people utilize
fitness, incorporate it into their daily uniform. So the sneaker is
something that I’ve always been very close to. And it’s always been
something that’s very hard for us to do in house, to be honest —
obviously adidas has the most innovative resources."
Wang also showed his own label’s spring collection, and it was a
marked contrast to the all-black adidas garb: Colorful, whimsical
warm-weather clothes that would have been just right for the beach.
The designer said backstage that he was going for a "liberating,
free, surfer attitude and sensibility. Everything was put through the
lens of water sports."
"I’m from California," he added. "I love the beach; there’s such a
kind of laid-back attitude and sensibility that I really wanted to bring
into this collection."
Wang’s afterparties are as famous as his shows. As guests left the
runway, they walked into a cavernous space filled with colorful trucks,
some dispensing snacks, Slurpees, or stronger beverages. Partiers could
take a can of spray paint and decorate a van, if they chose.
The adidas collaboration — first available via popup trucks at three
stops in New York City — is yet another effort by Wang to keep moving
forward in an industry that is fast changing. All the recent upheaval in
the fashion industry — including a slew of recent departures of
designers at top labels — keeps him on his toes, he said.
"In the past, I was used to thinking very long term and big picture,"
he said. "But now there has to be a different way of thinking and
approaching certain subjects. You have to think faster, roll with the
punches. I always want to look forward ... especially in today’s world."
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