Subverting the boundaries between fashion and streetwear, adidas Originals by Al- exander Wang is a unisex apparel and footwear collection inspired by the idea of overturning commonly accepted rules. Wang ipped convention by tuning the adidas Originals’ iconic trefoil and ‘Originals’ logos upside down, making them playful symbols of de ance. Ri ng on reseller culture, Juergen Teller photographed the campaign that starred Rocco Ritchie, aka Madonna’s and Guy Ritchie’s 16-year-old son, along with more familiar Wang faces from the ‘Wangsquad’ including Hanne Gaby Odiele, Binx Walton, and Lexi Boling. Alexander Wang is famous for his street and sportswear-in u- enced designs, so the collaboration with adidas Originals was a sure t.
A close-up look at adidas Originals by Alexander Wang reveals the “Originals” logo is upside down. Why did you decide to with the idea of what’s authentic and what’s fake?
Everything about the collection, from its design, to the way it is communicated, stems from the idea of ipping brand conventions on their head. I felt that the most interesting and disruptive approach to the collaboration was to incorporate the heritage of an iconic brand like adidas by overturning commonly accepted rules and traditions of iconography and branding. In today’s culture of shorthand and immediacy, signs and symbols are more powerful than ever. With this collection, my impulse was both to exalt the iconic adidas Originals logo which is pervasive throughout the entire collection, while simultaneously having fun with it by turning it upside down.
Is the culture of the fakes changing the way we look at products?
I’m really intrigued by the culture of reselling, the values of youth culture, and the perception of what’s authentic and what’s fake. This is why I incorporated the NDA into the design of the rst drop, as a print on t-shirts and sweatshirts. This also alluded to the way that the product was rst made available out of the back of trucks in Manhat- tan, Brooklyn, London, and Tokyo.
What do symbols mean today? What is our perception of logos?
In today’s culture of shorthand and immediacy, signs and symbols are more powerful than ever. With this collection, my impulse was both to exalt the iconic adidas Originals logo which is pervasive throughout the entire collection, while simultaneously having fun with it by turning it upside down.
The 84-piece collection of apparel and footwear is unisex. Has genderless fash- ion changed retail?
I don’t think of fashion as changed, so much as people’s mindsets have. There is de nitely a movement towards gender uidity and the fact that this collection is unisex is simply a re ection on this.
Why did you choose to sell your collaboration collection out of unmarked trucks in trash bags during New York Fashion Week last September?Selling the collection out of the back of trucks was a take on reseller culture, which is all about authenticity, and Canal Street, where numerous stalls sell products of dubious provenance. This was our way of having fun with the idea of real (original) versus fake and luxury versus mass. In today’s highly saturated marketplace, anything that is original, that generates excitement, that breaks from the norm is really necessary to do in order to stand apart. And I love coming up with ideas and concepts that challenge convention with integrity.
Growing up as an American boy at the time when streetwear, sportswear and skatewear were becoming a culture per se, what did the brand adidas mean to you?
I have been a fan of adidas for as long as I can remember. To me, there is no brand with a richer heritage. I’ve also always felt that no other brand is as equally strong in apparel as it is in footwear; brands tend to be stronger in one category than the other. This was an important factor in why I’ve always wanted to work with the brand.
What adidas pieces did you like to wear back then / do you like to wear today?
adidas Superstars (the shell toes) were what I wore all throughout high school. At boarding school, I was required to wear a uniform every day, so footwear was really our one and only opportunity to express our individualism. Everyone who wore Superstars personalized them in their own way, including me – I spent hours doodling on them. I wish I had kept a pair for posterity’s sake!
Photos by Iurgen Teller