A Brief History of Overkill Collaborations
Starting out as an iconic graffiti magazine in Germany in 1992, Overkill have grown to become one of the world's most respected sneaker stores, renowned for keeping things close to home!
Based out of their 'Kreuzberg' location in Berlin, the crew are well-accustomed to curating wild exhibitions, parties, festivals and, of course, some of the best sneaker collaborations we've ever seen.
With an ever-expanding catalogue of projects, Overkill have shown they prefer to work closely with their Bavarian brethren.
American brand KangaROOS have a such a strong presence in Germany that you'd be forgiven for thinking they were founded on the streets of Berlin. Their popularity owes a lot to their continued collaborative partnership with Overkill, which has conceived numerous sell-out drops.
Leaning towards the Coil R-1 silhouette, the duo have produced stunners such as the 'Abyss' and the 'Abyss Flip' (which appeared on the cover of Sneaker Freaker Issue 14), as well as the classy 'Adam and Eve' pack from 2018.
In honour of Pride Month – and the rich, diverse character of Berlin – Overkill linked with New Balance to drop the 'City of Values' pack in 2019.
Featuring both the 1500 and the more contemporary 1530, the UK-made pack references Berlin's multifaceted electro culture, highlighted with 'equality, unity and diversity' embroidered into the tongues using tonal hues.
Overkill finally teamed up with ASICS in 2015, joining forces for a 'Desert Rose' take on the underrated GEL-Sight silhouette. Speaking with the crew, they told us the inspiration for the collaboration came from a source very close to home.
According to Thomas from Overkill, 'The very basic background idea came from Amelie, who works with us at Overkill. She showed us a jacket and said that she'd love to see a sneaker in the jacket's colours, with some nice contrasting details.
'From there, we tried various colours and options and finally came to this mix of salmon with sand and pastel mint against the dark red. We searched for one more kicking colour to go with it and found this tone called "Desert Rose". This kind of pink was the perfect foil to the combination. Then we thought, "DAAAMN!", that's a wicked name for a colab.'
Overkill's projects with countrymen PUMA come through with some of the quirkiest inspirations we've seen.
Case in point, the 'Pfeffiboys' pack. Featuring a Disc Blaze and Blaze Cage, the project is an homage to a Downtown Berlin favourite: a peppermint liqueur called Berliner Luft. Referred to as 'Pfeffi' on the streets, this drink is local party-goer staple.
Then things got even wilder with their latest Big Cat collaboration. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the CELL Venom in 2019, they brought out a 'Radiant Venom' colourway, which re-imagined a Y2K crash at the turn of the millennium. In their own words:
'The Y2K crash actually happened. A computer failure on New Year's Eve 1999 led to launching all nuclear missiles on the planet. Mankind woke up the next day in the year 19100. Only few have survived. The simulation of nature had developed, technology has not. Our story plays in what used to be Berlin, a few years after the nuclear big bang.'
The resulting kicks are imagined as 'a contaminated beast', and one that puts a nuclear-inspired spin on the OG CELL Venom colour palette.
Unsurprisingly, Overkill's most prolific collaborative partner over the years has been adidas. The German duo's creative juices first got flowing back in 2010, when the retailer hosted a special exhibition to celebrate the return of the OG colourway of the adidas Support EQT. Since then, things have gotten even more wunderbar.
In recent years, Berlin sneaker stalwarts have very much embraced and pushed the renewed popularity of the ZX series. In 2019, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the iconic four-digit ZX series, they dropped a stunning ZX 10.000 C ‘I CAN IF I WANT’ colourway, and shortly followed it up with a toned-down video game–inspired colourway just months later.
Their statement-making 'No Walls Needed' ZX 8000 continued the good vibes, with just 1989 pairs releasing, paving the way for their latest project with adidas: the ZX 8500 for the ongoing A-ZX initiative. Looking back at their first love, graffiti, Overkill deck the model out in solidly-coloured neon panels corresponding to the bright spray paint favoured by Berlin's bombers.
It's always nice to see things come full circle.