We first recounted the Argentinian odyssey of Gary Aspden and his squad of adidas aficionados in Issue 31. That treasure hunting trip would serve as a fact finding mission for Aspden, who has been charged with leading the design of new products under the Spezial banner, a concept that began as an epic exhibition of adidas' sneaker history that has since parlayed into its own retro-styled footwear and apparel line. Items in the range seek to recapture the flavour of the adidas' Leisure line from the 1960s through to the '80s, with additional mod cons. One of the suavest models to release in the current crop of footwear releases is the Albrecht SPZL. It's an adaptation of the obscure Sevilla model – which you're going to struggle to dig up a picture of – and features a premium brown leather upper, with comfy tooling drawn from the Gazelle OG. We spoke to Gary about the genesis of this new (and old) model...
Why did you want to adapt the Sevilla in the way that you did?
The Sevilla is one of the least known of the Leisure series and I wanted us to create a new shoe using the Sevilla as the main source of inspiration. The tooling for most of the Leisure series soles does not currently exist. Creating new moulds is very costly so I wanted to get the look of a Leisure shoe upper and marry that with the tooling of a trainer. We went with the Gazelle OG and when I saw the first prototype I knew it was going to work. Coincidentally, adidas collector Robert Brooks happened to be in the London office when I received that first proto and he nearly had a meltdown when I pulled it out of the box.
For the upper, I had looked at Sevilla photographs with the design team in Germany as we knew no one who owned a vintage pair. Then about a month after we had finalised the samples for production, I ended up buying a pair of Sevillas in my size from a guy in Frankfurt through a random Instagram post. He had posted them, as he had no idea what they were and had been on various forums asking around until I contacted him. After doing the deal I put the vintage Sevilla alongside the Albrecht SPZL and there is no comparison – for me, the Albrecht SPZL is far more relevant in its look and feel. We have definitely improved on the source of our inspiration.
What do you love about this shoe and what you think it adds to the Leisure range?
Marrying a Leisure shoe upper with a trainer tooling was done in the 1980s on a couple of styles – the adidas Melboune and adidas Brisbane – but never with Gazelle tooling. I feel we have kept the spirit of the original Leisure series but have created something new. I hope it renews interest in and perhaps opens the door to other Leisure series styles in the future.
Can you give us an idea of the supply and demand for the SPZL models?
The retailers that have access to the range placed their orders for SS15 before the AW14 adidas Originals x Spezial launched. After the buyers saw the queues and the customer reaction, a number of them immediately tried to increase their SS15 orders. One of my favourite UK stores wanted to double their order for SS15 as the footwear for the first season sold out in hours, but we had passed the cut off for orders by that point. Oi Polloi in Manchester said that on the first day Spezial AW14 went on sale the demand was like nothing they have ever seen from any brand. In short, but I may be wrong, I don't think the supply is going to satisfy the demand this season.