The North of England is adidas territory; and the brand has demonstrated how important the region is to its DNA with the choice of northern cities to host its Spezial collection launches. The latest event, to celebrate the SS16 launch, took over The Hip Store in Leeds. adidas devotees queued at the illustrious sneaker heads’ store to get their first look at the latest incarnation of the premium, deadstock-inspired collection, and their hands on the latest covetable Spezial book.
adidas Spezial is spearheaded by brand enthusiast-guru -marketeer-curator Gary Aspden’s vision to feedback adidas’ own traditions into a premium collection for the aficionados; the fans who nurse a very traditional idea of what adidas ought to be. The archive-inspired capsule collection identifies adidas’ core European roots, and then offers up its reflection in an updated vision of the brand aesthetic. The resulting product launches see collectors queuing around the block.
Mining the rich vein of adidas heritage, the inaugural Spezial exhibition took place in July 2013 at Hoxton Gallery, East London, and the range of deadstock adidas pieces reworked in premium fabrics and updated cuts was launched globally for Autumn/Winter 2014 in Manchester.
Moving on, the adidas Spezial latest drop for Spring Summer 16 was celebrated with a launch event last week at The Hip Store, Leeds, made extra special by the surprise attendance of Gary Aspden himself. Raising anticipation amongst the growing line outside the store, as the only Spezial stockists in the city, The Hip Store displayed the new pieces like artefacts in glass cabinets. Spilling in from the startlingly chilly Leeds night, it was a meeting of North of England adidas devotees with Aspden as squad leader. The camaraderie in the store was enjoyed by all; and of course the uniform of choice was adidas. In fact, I think you’d have hung, drawn and quartered – or at least refused entry – if you’d dared to rock up sporting another brand.
The devotees were rewarded with a copy of the latest adidas Spezial book, combining a review of the Spezial ranges to date, with a preview of the SS16 pieces. The review half features interviews with brand insiders, collectors and celebrity ambassadors (notably Ian Brown, Bobby Gillespie, Remi, Bernhard Sumner, Goldie and many more), imagery of heritage inspiration pieces, and the wonderful story of a discovery trip to a forgotten Argentinian retailer.
The preview half gives us a glimpse of new pieces, with a nod to the role of the French leisurewear of the Cote d’Azur jet set and its adoption by British subcultures. The link fits with the Spezial focus on European design affecting emerging British leisure style. The French influence can be seen in the new Harwood anorak which links Antibes yachtsman to mid-80s football fans, and in the footwear range with the Cote SPZL inspired by the adidas Beach. Vive La Spezial!