How Designer Colabs Are Introducing Sneakerheads to Fashion
Designer collaborations are in no way a new thing, yet in the past few years we have seen sneakerheads become more involved in the fashionsphere then ever before. Whether it’s Raf x adidas or the Sacai Blazers, us sneaker moguls are becoming more knowledgeable about the world that’s all about collections and couture.
As someone who’s involved in both worlds, fashion and sneakers are my life. I love both simultaneously, and have noticed that in recent years more people like me have been popping up. Sneakers have now become a gateway into the wider world that is fashion, and designer colabs are the drug. As soon as you start, it’s hard to turn back. So let’s take a look at how designer sneaker collaborations are introducing sneakerheads to the world of fashion.
Raf Simons x adidas
Now, if you’re anything like me, you rocked those Ozweegos and Response trails everyday circa 2015. You sat at that shop window as a kid, not wishing for Jays but for that sweet Raf. You could spot that ‘R’on the side of a Stan Smith from a mile away, and you couldn’t wait until someone asked to see your precious Ozweegos.
Raf Simons wasn’t the first designer to collaborate on a sneaker — not even the second, third or fourth — but he changed the game when it came to high-fashion collaborations. With the help of people like A$AP Rocky and Ian Connor, the Raf Simons brand rifled to the top, as did his collaboration with the Trefoil brand, quickly becoming an important part of both sneaker culture and the fashion world. Also, he became very prominent among the streetwear world, because of his instantly-recognisable silhouettes and out-there design. This was probably one of the first tastes that sneakerheads got of high fashion.
Yohji Yamamoto is one of the most articulated men on planet earth. His clothing has a deep connection with the street, and his designs are well thought-out. If you’re not well versed in Y-3, make sure you check out their five most influential sneakers.
Y-3 is another one of those first tastes that us sneaker heads got of fashion. Whether it was the Qasa, Ekika or Kubo, Yohji created silhouettes that resonated with us. With heavy roots in tech wear, and fixated on the colour black, Yohji’s designs made you think about what you were putting on your feet. If the Qasa, when it first came out, didn’t make you want to dress in an all-black fit and go full Yohji-goth, then I don’t know what will.
The thing about both Raf Simons’s and Yohji Yamamoto’s sneakers is, they were both inspired by youth and street culture. So it’s no surprise that they resonate with sneakerheads and streetwear enthusiasts alike.
Comme des Garçons
As you may already know, Comme des Garçons have done countless sneaker collaborations. Whether it’s with Nike, Supreme or Vans, CDG certainly mix it up, bringing that avant-garde flavour to the table. While many sneakerheads wouldn’t really be considered the avant-garde type, they do buy into collaborations. Arguably, their Air Max 180 made the biggest splash on the sneaker scene. With its instantly recognisable bright pink colourway, everyone knows exactly what you’re rocking on-feet. The craziness and uniqueness of the collaborations force people to ask questions, and delve into the wild world that is Comme des Garçons.
CDG have also given sneakerheads the ability to be more experimental with what they put on their feet. Through this, fans of the sneaker scene may also get involved in experimenting with clothing, and maybe even purchasing diffusion lines like CDG Play.
We can’t talk about high-fashion and crazy sneaker design without mentioning Mihara Yasuhiro. While he may be a lesser known designer to the streetwear world, his work with PUMA spanned over many years. In that time, Mihara has created a lot of unique and wayward designs — such as the MY-72 which was part brogue, part sneaker. Crazy right!
Mihara started a wave in the fashion industry that encouraged brands to be more experimental, creating shoes that were out of the ordinary. Along the way, he also managed to expose sneakerheads to something greater than just classic kicks and retros.
Sneakers within the fashion world have become more prominent than ever before. Recent collaborations that have sparked keen interest include the Martine Rose x Nike Air Monarch and the Kiko Kostadinov x ASICS drops. These two examples saw younger designers getting sneaker colabs, bringing their designs and brands to a more mainstream audience.
Are collaborations the the best way for designers to get their brand out to the world?
Without doubt, the merging of fashion, sneakers and streetwear has caused some anger amongst purists in each of the three worlds. However, for the newer generation, it seems to have allowed us to experiment with everything, mix and match, and effortlessly switch up our styles.