In 2016, Reebok has made a series of power moves, will they shake the game up like their parent company Adidas did a few years ago?
In recent years, the vice grip that Nike once held on the sportswear and footwear world has loosened. There was a time in the not-so-distant-past that a vast majority of the youth wanted to be athletes. Michael Jordan, Lebron James, and Michael Vick were all at the tip of the spear that helped Nike reach the top of the mountain at different points in time. However it was their reluctance to allow a growing presence in pop culture an opportunity at his own sneaker. The story is well-known, the Swoosh doesn't allow Kanye West the ability to collect royalties on the most sought after sneakers possibly of all time. He jumps ship to join rival Adidas and the two partner to create a highly sought after clothing line and as well a line of men's and women's footwear that is doing very well. This is simply the latest example of how successful brands can be when they do not corner themselves into one space.
Kanye was the most publicized of the Adidas collaborations and partnerships but he wasn't the first and the argument can be made that he was not even the most influential. The three stripes ha partnered with the likes of Raf Simmons, Yohji Yommamoto, Rick Owens, Palace Skateboards, Jeremy Scott and Pharrell to name a few. All of these partnerships, including West's, combined innovation with distinct stylings unique to each partner. From Boost technology in Palace Skateboard's trainers or a leather slip-on shell toe Superstar for Rick Owens, the collaborations are proudly Adidas. It has been easy to see the success Adidas has had from taking concepts and ideas from these partnerships with these renowned designers and applying them to their more economic offerings. The Tubular and Stan Smiths are currently two staples for the brand.
It seems that the heads of Adidas are now in a position to take this formula that has lead to massive success and apply it to another classic brand that has found itself on hard times of late, Reebok. While competitors like Puma have signed new talent like Kylie Jenner and the wonderful Rihanna, Reebok has been the lucky winner of a retro style renewal that plays into their hands in an excellent manner.
At a time in fashion where aesthetics and silhouettes have taken an interesting turn. Brands like Vetements have taken the fashion world by storm, designers like Gosha Rubchinksiy have the backing of powerful houses like Comme Des Garçons, brands like Palace, Bianca Chandon, Babylon and Brain Dead are shifting the street wear aesthetic to influences from much different places. Artists like Kendrick Lamar and Future are finding themselves in a new realm too. The Diamond Supplys and Pacsuns of the world have been replaced. Gone are the days of artists being limited in their influence on a sneaker. Reebok is ready for the renaissance.
This week alone, we've seen big news regarding the classic English sportswear brand. Demna Gvasalia revealed images of a Vetements inspired Reebok Instapump Fury. The classic, '90s futuristic sneaker has had cultish followings prior to this, but with a Vetements inspire collaboration, the demand for this sneaker could go through the roof.
While Vetements was preparing the world for what could be one of the doper collaborations of the year, Palace got Jonah Hill to show the world the next trainer collab for the English skate brand. Snagging two of, if not the hottest brands into collaborations wasn't good enough, this comes in the same year as the Gosha Rubchinksiy and Reebok partnership. Reebok has stepped their game up and could be on the verge of something big.
This past weekend Reebok announced a partnership with GOAT, Future. Reebok now has collaborations with two of the most prominent artists within the hip-hop community. They've joined the hip-hop/sneaker arms race by adding Future to an already solid collaboration with fellow GOAT, Kendrick Lamar. This is a fearsome duo to add to 2016 collaborations with Palace, Gosha Rubchinskiy, and Vetements.
If we have learned anything from Adidas and their return to prominence in the pop-culturesphere, it's that by pairing your classics and under loved shoe models with the right brands or people at the right time, then you could be in for a massive reward. It wasn't too long ago that Adidas had halted the production of the Stan Smith, and right now you can only cop