To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the GEL-Lyte III, ASICS hosted a sneaker sketching masterclass in Sydney with designer Shigeyuki Mitsui. The statesman of sneaker design imparted his 35 years of wisdom and experience during two intimate sessions. Lucky attendees got to hear stories about Mitsui-san’s early years with ASICS, and his approach to design. Of course, the main subject was his cultural magnum opus, the base of countless collaborations and one of the catalysts of modern sneaker culture.
Speaking at the class, Mitsui-san said of the GL3, ‘I’m really glad it hasn’t disappeared. Younger consumers still love the design. Maybe it’s because there are many good collaborations for the GEL-Lyte III, so there are still people drawn to these designs.’
As a decidedly old-school product designer who has spent most of his time drawing by hand, Mitsui-san imparted some valuable advice for budding sneaker designers. He said, ‘The most important thing is to enjoy drawing’.
The Sydney pop-up also displayed many of Mitsui-san’s original GL3 sketches, plus a display of significant colabs from over the years. The real star of the show – aside from the man behind the sneaker – was the 30th anniversary re-release of the OG ‘Citrus’ GL3. Visitors to the pop-up were among the first in the world to own what has been said will be the last-ever retro of the ‘Citrus’ colourway.
On the origins of the ‘Citrus’ colour, Mitsui-san said, ‘By the time I worked on the GEL-Lyte III, I knew consumers wanted a different colour… So, I decided to make my own swatch! Using a little bit of green plus yellow, it made "Citrus".'
Also at the pop-up event were local sneaker ateliers BespokeIND, who are back in their studio to create a special one-off custom GL3 for one lucky customer. Pop-up attendees who bought a pair of ‘Citrus’ were entered into the competition for this very unique opportunity.
For everyone else who missed out on the special event, the OG colourway will be available at ASICS.com and select ASICS retailers on December 6.
Mitsui-san has plans to continue the 30th anniversary celebrations of the GEL-Lyte III by also touring America and Japan. After that, he wants to keep drawing and working on his personal art.
‘If in 10 years’ time, younger consumers still love the original [GL3] colour – I’ll be really happy.’
Stay tuned for Sneaker Freaker's interview with Mitsui-san...