Onitsuka Tiger celebrates the cat, an animal that according to Japanese folklore, came last in a race organised by the Jade Emperor. They asked StudioAnti and Washio Tomoyuki to create trainer designs inspired by our feline friends and here’s the results.

The cat collection will be available at selected retailers in Europe from December 2009.
Sub zero (Amsterdam and Utrecht), Onitsuka Tiger store (Amsterdam), Solebox (Berlin), The Good Will Out (Cologne), Onitsuka Tiger store (Paris), Sneaker & Stuff (Stockholm), Stereotokyo (Las Palmas), Non Stop (Madrid), Numero Uno (Valencia), Onitsuka Tiger Store (Paris) & Shinzo (Paris)

The cat story

According to Japanese folklore, the Jade Emperor held a race to determine which animals would represent each sign of the Asian zodiac calendar. Thirteen animals battled against each other to compete for the 12 places available. The cat finished last and didn’t get a place. The legendary zodiac race was the inspiration behind Onitsuka Tiger’s 2009 campaign. To find out more, go to onitsukatiger.com

“I wanted to create what I call the ANTI-cat design – a design which represents the dark and mysterious life of the alley cat. The trainer features urban graffiti camouflage in a drip pattern, rather than the more traditional stripes, as this fits better with the alley cat’s surroundings. I also chose grey nubuck for the material because it’s quite a dirty colour, reminiscent of the grimy conditions in which stray cats live. I love the spontaneous energy of subcultures, something which can be represented visually by flashes and zigzags. So I chose to put a scratch motif on the heel, as a reference to vibrant life in the urban jungle. Of course, it could also represent a scar which a cat has earned from a street fight over food.”

Washio Tomoyuki
This trainer design is based on a fantastical land created by Washio: “In this land, humans go through a special sizechanging portal which makes them smaller than cats, and turns them into soldiers, who then try and take on one legendary feline. To establish the cat’s whereabouts, they follow the red and white spotted underwear which the cat has left behind.”