On the back of the launch of their latest collaboration with Onitsuka Tiger, Simon Lister from End Clothing sat down to give us the 411 on their Colorado 85 'Bluebird', the inner workings of a colab and their thoughts on the current state of the sneaker scene.
Now into your third collaboration with ASICS, how did it all unfold?
As always it was a fairly organic process. We’ve been in dialogue with the ASICS/Onitsuka Tiger guys for a while before the collaboration came to light. We’d been talking over various concepts and silhouettes, when the OT team then asked us to pitch something for the Colorado 85 given it was the sneaker's anniversary year.
The Colorado 85 has a strong history, but is not your typical colab material. What was the biggest challenge to rework the model?
For me it is a nice clean running silhouette, but one that perhaps has been criminally overlooked in the ASICS/Onitsuka Tiger portfolio. We wanted to make sure we kept the aesthetic clean and not too dark in colour as we didn’t want the sneakers to appear heavy.
The story behind a shoe is often as important as the colourway itself, can you break down the concept for the 'Bluebird'?
There are so many colabs around in the marketplace. Whenever we put our name to a project, we try to have a point of difference so that the project isn’t just a colour-up. A back story that people can latch onto, really helps elevate the colab and then after the colourway it is down to creating some added value to complete the package. This time around we focused in on premium boxes and lace eggs for the additional laces.
The shoe is called the 'Bluebird', where did the name and inspiration come from?
For our bespoke make-up of the Colorado 85, we looked to the namesake of this classic Onitsuka Tiger silhouette. It is an area packed with fascinating wildlife, Colorado is home to three species of Bluebirds, creatures whose striking blue hue is created via tiny pockets of air in their feathers that transform the light that hits them, only letting blue light escape. Inspired by this mind blowing evolutionary adaption, we utilised reflective 3M – one of the sneaker world’s most loved materials and one that equally places with light and perception – deploying highly reflective blue 3M panels across the signature form stripe, embossed heel panel and customised rope laces.
Do you think that collaborations can bring 'forgotten' shoes back to the consumers mind?
In my mind yes! The colab brings heat, and more importantly exposure to the shoes, which in turn drives sales around that silhouette and down into other areas of the range for brands.
What do you think about the current state of the sneaker industry?
It is really healthy at the moment. From the luxury and premium brands down to the old guard, everyone seems to be churning out killer product. Unfortunately the lack of space in the wardrobe dictates that not everything gets purchased.
When it comes to models, which ASICS/Onitsuka Tiger one would you also like to rework one day?
Personally I love the Gel Kayano, but to be honest any of the Gel series would be a honour to work on.
What else have you gotten hidden up your sleeves for 2015?
We have a few projects lined up for 2015 and beyond, but I don’t want to give the game way too much just yet!
Interview by Pascal Prehn.