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PARIS — Double acts are the way forward for Adidas Consortium in 2017.

The program will launch in late January its new Sneaker Exchange concept involving two limited-edition sneaker models — each codesigned by a pair of retailers culled from Adidas’ network of 84 accounts — to be released monthly through November. The first designs will be unveiled during men’s fashion week in Paris, with the names of the cross-continental retailers behind them yet to be disclosed.

Adidas Consortium accounts participating in the initiative include Colette in Paris, Overkill in Berlin, Footpatrol in London, Fruition in Taiwan, Undefeated in Los Angeles and United Arrows in Tokyo.

The idea, explained Jimmy Manley, Consortium’s senior product manager, is to pair retailers on different continents and from across different domains — such as matching a women’s wear store with a sports retailer — to create “a juxtaposition of influences and ideas” in a shoe. All of the Adidas Consortium retailer partners will have access to carrying the shoes, he said.

“It’s all about that exchange of cultural currency. To have accounts from two countries come together and work on a project through the lens of Adidas’ history, heritage and innovation — mixing all of these things together in one common place, it was always going to be pretty unique,” he said‎.

“You’ll see, throughout the course of the release, that we have some really interesting pairings. Even accounts who have known each other for years were still able to learn new things. And some of the new accounts that have just been introduced to each other, that’s probably going to be the biggest [revelation].”

Just like the program’s inaugural 2016 Consortium Tour, where 12 retailers in key cities were invited to revisit their choice of Adidas model, spanning archive designs, rereleases and fresh products, the Sneaker Exchange will draw on models new and old, Manley confirmed. Most of the models will be unisex, with the occasional women’s-specific launch.

The idea for the Sneaker Exchange initiative, he said, was sparked out of a B2B event organized by Adidas Consortium in Paris a year ago to which all of its accounts were invited. “It was interesting to watch them interact and meet each other, there were the new accounts who had never met some of the industry’s elder statesmen,” Manley said.

The Consortium program, traditionally geared around Adidas working on a one-on-one basis with retailers to customize shoes sold only in their stores, has “evolved immensely” over the years, he added. The program grew out of an initiative in 2005 when Adidas invited a range of retailers to revisit the Adidas Superstar for the shoe’s 35th anniversary.

Said Manley: “Back when it first started you would have accounts working on established products; now we see accounts breaking new ideas and silhouettes and really creating. It’s not so much of a coloring book set up anymore.”

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