NEW YORK — To play into its New York state of mind, Adidas Originals is counting on born and bred New York rappers to help unveil its new U.S. flagship at 115 Spring Street.
And the company, which also has an Adidas store on lower Broadway, is about to make its footprint considerably larger with this fall’s opening of the Brooklyn Farm Design Studio. A company spokesman declined to say where that will be. Nor would he confirm that will be a 20,000-square-foot facility above the Brooklyn Brewery in Williamsburg, as reported by The Real Deal last year.
To make Tuesday’s opening night party for the Spring Street store more memorable, the company will have a private panel discussion with Joey Bada$$ and his fellow members of the Pro Era collective Kirk Knight, CJ Fly and Nyck Caution in the new space. Ahmed Klink, who filmed the four musicians returning to the streets of their respective Brooklyn neighborhoods for an Adidas video, will moderate the talk.
Afterward, select guests will join the four musicians at the Adidas Originals’ just-closed Wooster Street space for a farewell concert. The party won’t just be a one-time thing — Adidas is planning to use the new SoHo address for special events and installations as a way to try to connect with “streetwear lovers” and “urban culture enthusiasts” beyond branded product. Another sign of that is the Adidas-financed Zine, which photographer Chad Moore shot and Jenna Sauers wrote an essay for.
Zine will be available in the new Spring Street store, along with limited-edition runs, capsule collections and designer collaborations for women, men and children. For the store’s launch, a New York specific colorway of the NMD style will be offered solely through Adidas Confirmed APP. Adding to the enhanced focus on exclusivity, reservations will be open starting Monday in all five boroughs.
But creating an Adidas Originals account and selecting a preferred size doesn’t guarantee anything. Once a reservation is confirmed, customers will be invited to pick up their reserved shoe at the new Adidas Originals flagship. The process highlights not only how hyper-competitive sneakerheads can be, but also how brands are melding the digital with in-person shopping.
Having worked for the Adidas brand in the past, Klink also has done work for Nike, Smirnoff, Bacardi, Under Armour and French Montana. He has known Joey Bada$$, Kirk Knight, CJ Fly and Nyck Caution for a few years, and shot them in music videos for Pro Era. “They’re born in New York, they’re raised in New York — we want to explore how it impacted them throughout their life so we actually shot a lot of it in Brooklyn, in the original neighborhoods where they grew up. So it was Bed-Stuy, Flatbush, Mill Basin,” Klink said.
To relay a more relaxed vibe and universal feel in the 90-second video, Adidas had Klink trail the four musicians roaming their old neighborhoods set against a voiceover that doesn’t indicate who is speaking. Instead of pro athletes talking about training, the spots feature such statements as, “There’s women on the block, was crime on the block — blood, sweat and tears on the block — a lot happened on that block.”
This project was one of the first for Sunday Afternoon, which Klink cofounded with Shane Griffin and Juan Carlos Pagan in March. Unlike in the sneaker wars of the Nineties, athletic companies are more inclined to share creative talent. “I’ve shot Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook and Andrew Wiggins who are signed by Under Armour, Nike and Adidas, respectively. These are the rules of the game to a certain point,” Klink said. “I do the same work for each of them and I pour just as much of myself for any of them. It’s not that I don’t have brand loyalty, but I wear Adidas and I wear Nike. If I have a meeting with Adidas, I show up wearing Adidas. And if I shoot for Nike, I show up wearing Nike.”