Adidas or Nothing 26 April 2016


Self Expression ≡ Brand Dedication ≡ Identity ≡ Community

Living in our post-internet world we are able to define our ‘unique’ identity though various outlets online and display them for the world to see: sharing an article of a cause close to us, an image of celebrity we admire, a piece of music. Not anything new by far, we have just exhibited ourselves on a smaller scale within a more immediate community before we had the technology to instantly share it with the world.

Interestingly, social media and branding has made us less original: we are pigeon-holed into ways of expression through proxies of design, the ‘sub-culture’ is dead. A ‘sub-culture’ brings people together of similar interests, a choice has to be made, the obvious being which side of the fence to sit on, dependant on which subject the community is built around e.g. Manchester United or Manchester City, loving or hating Kanye West, being a ‘Mod’ or a ‘Rocker’. This being an old model of society; black and white being the only way to define oneself, whereas the younger generations allow themselves to invest more in the grey area of this model to include themselves within multiple outlets without quarrel. The world is still catching up with this development as ‘sides’ do still exist and there is still something important about where our fundamental choices are made as they will define who we are, something to do with authenticity one expects as we value people who remain the ‘same’. Objects in the world now are very much culturally loaded and our immediate associations reveal the owners’ assumed interests and choices. And as all good evolution goes, as a species we buy into this as it benefits the development of community.

A classic example of this is the band t-shirt. It once meant that you were an avid fan of the band; if someone else was in the same band t-shirt you had an instant friend. But when a Guns ‘n’ Roses t-shirt is seen as a (low) fashion item in Topshop, the whole culture is boiled down into that single object, appropriated and removed by people who gauge it on the aesthetic alone or false inclusion by solely knowing ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ (as you can see, sides do still exist). Our inability to think that we can create something completely original due to our extended history of culture may be the reasoning for this endless recycling of culture. Just look at the current state of the film industry: endless superhero movies adapted from over 50 years of comic book characters from the 1940’s onward; reboots, remakes and re-releases (I’m looking at you, George Lucas). Even the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens is nostalgiagasm, trapped within itself and what its fans would only let it be or become.

On the flip side, the Adidas brand, who champion themselves on reinterpreting the past and being true to their roots doesn’t seem to have the same reputation as the re-releases of the original Star Wars trilogy. If anything, to see someone in the same shoes as yourself gives the indication that they ‘know what’s up’ or equally, you aren’t as original as you once thought you were. But that all depends on the choice that was made when purchasing the shoes: in personal preference or the idea that they in some way will change one’s presence.

The Adidas NMD in the image above, created using the technology in Publishing Rooms from Foxall Studio, is a rarity in today’s sneaker culture. To own these is to be recognised by those in the know, it brings the satisfaction of taming such a rare beast with resell values now double the price. Although nothing on the Yeezy Boost range it still means something culturally: these shoes are noticed, and not just for the 4 or 5 logos on the actual shoe.

So where does this leave us? In a world saturated with everything our choices are evermore important if we care about how people view us, because as insincere and shallow as it is, the reality of the situation is that if you aren’t ‘on fleek‘ in one way or another you may be passed by. This unfortunate event in society – only caring about surface value – is tragic, but you can’t deny that you have (at one point or another) judged someone at face value. It’s instinctive, and in my opinion benefits the development of society.


‘You’d be sick if you saw my Adidas collection…you would be physically sick if you saw it. I’m not gonna say where it is.’ – Ian Brown

Reece Straw

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