Thursday’s opening of the Adidas Originals flagship in Chicago will be the largest in the world, and the seventh one in the U.S.
With nearly 5,000 square feet of shoppable space, the 10,000-square-foot store at 1532 North Milwaukee Avenue is taking a hyper-local approach. In the never-ending chase to bridge the online community with the in-store experience, the company is playing up the city’s heritage through design accents. A fitting room reflects the materials and route of the L train, with walls wrapped with ribbed brush steel reminiscent of the elevated line’s cars. There is also a bench that is modeled after the ones found in all CTA stations.
The city’s transit system was also the inspiration for custom signs displayed throughout the store, which are similar to the ones displayed on the L train line and in its stations. The Adidas versions direct shoppers to silhouettes from the brand’s past, highlighting the year each model made its debut and other information. Wednesday night’s opening party, featured performances from BJ The Chicago Kid, Knox Fortune and DJ ELZ. The site is near two other streetwear and sneaker stores, RSVP Gallery and Saint Alfred.
A Community Wall will highlight local events, concerts and releases specific to the store. Designed with a metal etching of the Wicker Park area as a backdrop, they will also have Adidas stickers and postcards for shoppers as well as books and magazines to encourage them to linger. An “activations manager,” who lives in the area, will be on staff to create customized events in the store that will engage creatives from the surrounding Chicago area, a company spokesman said.
For the opening, the EQT Support ADV Wicker Park will be sold exclusively in Chicago, with only 350 pairs being produced, of which 300 will be sold in the new store. The remaining 50 will be gifted to friends of the brand in the Chicago area. The Wicker Park label references the crossroads in the district and the blue stripe on the label symbolizes the store’s North Milwaukee Avenue address and the Chicago Blue Line train.
The store will also be one of the few to sell Consortium products and special collaborations in a Statement area. The opening-week offerings will include ones with Mastermind Japan, Alexander Wang, Spezial and White Mountaineering.
There is also an assortment of customized artwork. The artist known as Pose has created a sculpture using reclaimed materials and quarterly installations will be curated by the local nonprofit IPaintMyMind, which Adidas has partnered with. Twenty to 24 pieces by up-and-coming artists will be featured on the wall in the store’s Statement area. Paintings by Tubsz, a Southside Chicago artist, will be on display using his Calligraffiti style. And another local artist, Nathan Keay, who is also a photographer, has set up an installation of repurposed audio speakers. To remind partygoers of the local focus, Adidas turned to Nine’s Deli and Harold’s Chicken for the catering.