Talking Shop: A Brief History of Engineered Garments Collaborations
For over 20 years, Daiki Suzuki has carved out his creative vision at Engineered Garments, immersed in the Americana flavours of his youth. While you’re more likely to spot EG at Pitti Uomo than Sneaker Con, the American–Japanese menswear label has flirted with the sneaker world in recent years.
EG aren’t strangers to collaborating with both large- and small-scale entities, having worked with the likes of Uniqlo and Mark McNairy on the garment front. Similarly, their footwear has involved both obscure brands and household names. This is a brief history of Engineered Garments’ sneaker collaborations.
SoCal brand Vans are one of EG’s longest-running collaborators, with efforts dating back to as early as 2013. The mismatched material motif associated with contemporary EG pieces carries over to classic Vans silhouettes like the Slip-On and Sk8-Hi. Suzuki’s love of surfing makes this colab quite Authentic (pun intended).
In 2019, EG tapped indie Finnish brand Tarvas for three tonal suede editions of the outdoorsy Explorer. Looking anachronistically straight outta mid-70s Japanese magazine Made in U.S.A., this colab exercised understated Nordic style, with only subtle insole co-branding to distinguish the pairing. Those blue suede joints are pretty sweet.
Within three years of its original 2015 release, adidas brought back version 1.0 of the game-changing UltraBOOST. As part of those 2018 festivities, they tapped EG for a Consortium-tier remix. Sticklers for detail will spot the material menagerie at play, such as the embroidered stripes, variable Primeknit pattern, asymmetric contrast, and tasty gum sole. There was also a F&F Campus that will never see the light of day…
Revisiting an American icon he grew up with during the 70s, Suzuki/EG reworked three editions of the Converse One Star in 2017. Instead of going to town on the materials, four variations of the brand’s logos were used, including the ‘Stars ‘n’ Bars’, chevron, and two different stars. That said, they went with the mismatched theme on a three-way effort with BEAMS on the Chuck Taylor All Star around the same time too.
HOKA ONE ONE
Continuing Suzuki’s athletic aspirations, EG began collaborating with HOKA ONE ONE in 2018, creating six different versions of the lightweight Hupana runner. Not long after, they released the chunky, trail-munching Tor Ultra Low in tonal sades. 2019 bore their most distinct colab: the chunky, funky Bondi B that HOKA brought back from 2011, just for EG. That rainbow pair is absolutely crazy, and perhaps a fitting final hurrah of the ‘Dad Shoe’ movement.
British heritage brand Gola was a somewhat unlikely partnership in 2017, with EG executing two tonal colourways each in the Harrier and Aztec models. While EG’s other collaborations from that year were visually engaging, this four-pack – in relative terms – was quite unremarkable in its tonal execution.
Running shoes seem to be the (ahem) running theme for EG colabs. While sneaker culture was at critical mass in 2019 when the New Balance 990v5 colab released, back in 2013 EG actually collaborated with the Boston brand on the 993, as a Nepenthes NY-exclusive. The asymmetric execution was simple and effective, so they did the same thing on the 990v5, but with some extra materials and tonal colourways. This marked arguably the most prolific time EG have spent in the sneakersphere.
Outside of sneakers, the trademark EG touches have been applied to plenty of footwear partners. KEEN x EG kept toes steezy and breezy earlier this year, while DMX was enlisted as the face of Timberland x EG’s 2017 effort. While Tricker’s, Danner, Dr. Martens, Trippen, and G.H. Bass have held down the ‘grown-up shoe’ front.
One thing’s for sure, whatever collaborative creations Engineered Garments have cooking up next will be distinctly theirs.
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