MILAN — Two powerhouses are joining forces, each bringing its unique expertise.
Prada and Adidas are launching a long-term collaboration with the goal to “investigate the realms of heritage, technology and innovation — and to challenge conventional wisdom through unexpected strategies,” the two companies said in a joint statement exclusively revealed to WWD. “The new vision draws inspiration from the rich legacies of both to reengineer timeless icons, and leverages the houses’ technological footprint to innovate. The path is an evolving and dynamic structure composed of key milestones, marking a significant departure from existing patterns while building on the houses’ strong milieu of shared approaches and pursuits.”
The initial result of the collaboration will be the release of two limited-edition Prada for Adidas styles, with a first model to be launched for men and women globally in December and made entirely by Prada in Italy.
The announcement follows a social media tease on Thursday, when both companies posted a photo on Instagram of Adidas and Adidas Originals shoe boxes peeking out of a classic white Prada shopping bag. The hashtag read #pradaforadidas.
The Italian luxury goods house and the leading Germany-based sportswear brand are keeping details of the Prada for Adidas partnership under wraps for the time being, but it is understood that design, technology and luxury craftsmanship are expected to be shared and combined.
Leveraging the rich archives of both brands, the two limited-edition Prada for Adidas styles will “draw on the rich patrimony and iconography of both labels, representing a tribute to timeless classics. Originating in the realm of sport, transposed to street style and now translated to luxury, classics from each are here re-contextualized, visited anew,” the companies said.
Prada and Adidas will also release the new Luna Rossa performance sailing footwear in 2020.
The Italian brand last month celebrated the christening of the new Luna Rossa yacht for the America’s Cup after two years of work that went into the sleek boat. The Luna Rossa sailing team was established in 1997 and the boat will represent Italy and the Sicilian Sailing Circle at the America’s Cup, the oldest trophy in the history of sports and the most prestigious in the sailing world. Races to determine the winner of the Prada Cup will take place in Auckland from January to March 2021. The winner of the Prada Cup will then line up against the America’s Cup defender, Emirates Team New Zealand, in a 13-race series beginning in March 2021.
This is the sixth America’s Cup challenge for Prada chief executive officer Patrizio Bertelli, who is investing 65 million euros in the sailing venture and who privately owns Luna Rossa. At the christening of the black AC75 monohull, asked about the potential development of a dedicated Luna Rossa apparel collection — not to be confused with Prada’s Linea Rossa line — Bertelli said it was not in the pipeline. The executive’s passion for sports and sailing in particular runs deep and is at the heart of the creative partnership with Adidas. Luna Rossa “is the perfect laboratory to test new materials and technology, and offers the ideal conditions to perfect the science of sailing,” Prada and Adidas said.
The luxury and sportswear worlds have increasingly crossed paths, but this collaboration will surely tickle curiosity, given Prada’s thought-provoking and innovative, leading design styles, combined with Adidas’ sportswear expertise and technology. This is the first time Prada has joined forces with another brand for such a partnership.
Adidas has been working on multiple projects and this week confirmed its outlook for 2019, boasting that it is on track for another record year. Revenues in the third quarter rose 9 percent to 6.41 billion euros, besting its forecasts, with a 6 percent gain for Adidas and 2 percent at Reebok. Despite some pressure on margins due to increased operating costs in the third quarter, the company predicts net income will rise between 10 and 14 percent by the end of the year, to between 1.88 billion and 1.95 billion euros.
Adidas last month unveiled a new digital store in London, which will launch exclusive products, including a collaboration with artist Lucy Bryant. The brand has a history of partnerships with designers and artists ranging from Stella McCartney, Raf Simons and Rick Owens to Pharrell Williams. In April, Adidas said it had forged a wide-ranging deal with Beyoncé for footwear, clothing and an Ivy Park relaunch, bringing a new power partnership to the industry. The sporting goods industry as a whole is set to grow around 10 percent this year, according to analysts at RBC Capital markets.
This week, Adidas said it is teaming with the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory to bring its sneakers outside the confines of Earth and test footwear in the extreme conditions of space. This summer the company signed a new franchise with the Arsenal soccer team, as well as events like the ongoing UEFA European soccer club championships, the most watched annual sporting competition on the planet, with television audiences of around 3.7 billion. The final is in July 2020.
Prada and Adidas also share an increased interest in sustainability. In April, Adidas unveiled Futurecraft.Loop, a completely recyclable performance running shoe that is the latest move in its mission to reduce plastic waste. The shoe’s components are made from 100 percent reusable thermoplastic polyurethane that is spun to yarn, knit, molded and clean-fused using the company’s Speedfactory technology. Once the shoes are ready to be replaced, they are intended to be returned to Adidas, where they will be washed, ground to pellets and melted into material that will be used to create a new pair. Willow Smith, a champion of environmental causes, was tapped by Adidas as the face of the project and the artist last month also teased and launched Prada’s Linea Rossa fall 2019 collection with a surprise performance at the London Underground.
Prada, which is holding its “Shaping a Sustainable Future Society” conference in New York today at the group’s headquarters in Manhattan, has just signed the first sustainability-linked loan in the luxury goods industry; joined the Fashion Pact earlier this year, with the objective to stop global warming, restore biodiversity and protect the oceans, and it vowed to go fur-free starting with the spring 2020 women’s collections. It has also spearheaded the use of regenerated nylon for the production of goods.
As reported, full-price sales, a positive trend in wholesale and a strong performance of its ready-to-wear and footwear collections helped Prada SpA see gains in profits and revenues in the first half of the year. In the six months ended June 30, net profits jumped 46.6 percent to 155 million euros, benefiting from the Patent Box tax relief relating to the years 2015-19. Sales rose 2 percent to 1.57 billion euros, compared with 1.53 billion euros in the prior year.