Na-Kel Smith is more than just a skateboarder and Adidas helped show that this weekend when its skateboarding division put on its 3 Rooms immersive experience for fans, which aimed to bring to life the multihyphenate’s diverse interests.
“From the skateboard side of things, a lot of our activations, events and experiences really include the active skateboarding [demonstrations],” said Patrick Tullos, senior manager of global retail and activation for Adidas Action Sports. “This one is a little bit different for us because it brings in that culture around skateboarding. Skateboarding can be alienating to some people if you’re not doing it often, but the culture around it — the art and music and fashion — is so broad, and we want to invite those people in and have a really great time here. We didn’t want to do just another skate event.”
If the 3 Rooms concept sounds a bit familiar, that’s because it draws some inspiration from Refinery 29’s roaming, immersive activation 29 Rooms which, at its simplest, is 29 experiential, pop-up spaces dedicated to a various themes, marketers or social statements. Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors were also another point of inspiration, Tullos said.
Clearly, the Adidas 3 Rooms event was far more concentrated on Smith, who has been seen in Supreme videos and also has an album coming out. In addition, he star’s in Jonah Hill’s directorial debut movie “Mid ‘90s.” The 3 Rooms event aimed to show Smith’s different facets with one room showcasing a collaboration with Brooks Brothers — a first for Adidas in working with the men’s suiting brand. There, VIP customers received custom fittings, for the 60 suits made for the collaboration.
“The whole concept is trying to represent how Na-Kel’s not just a one-dimensional skateboarder and how a lot of people view skateboarders as just skateboarding, but it’s so much more,” Tullos said.
A second room, complete with artificial turf and bleachers, highlighted a recently released apparel collaboration between Smith and Adidas. The third and final buildout was themed around the future and highlighted a collaboration between Adidas and Smith’s company F—king Awesome with the 3ST.002 shoe.
The shoe was born out of an internal system within Adidas, dubbed the workshop, that links the skate team with designers to experiment and refine shoes. The 3ST.002 officially launched exclusively at mom-and-pop specialty skate shops the day of the 3 Rooms event ahead of a wider distribution rollout April 5.
While each room highlighted product and there were plenty of giveaways, nothing was actually for sale. That really wasn’t the point, Tullos said.
“We really want to invite consumers in to be a part of Na-Kel’s world and not try to force commerce on them,” he said.
Fans bought into it with roughly 3,000 people who RSVP’d for the one-day event, with groups of roughly 250 cycled at a time through the space.
The 3 Rooms concept continues what will be a series of activations and other events expected to flood the market as part of a key cities strategy by the German athletic brand.
“When we come into a key city like L.A., we don’t want to just do something and then leave,” Tullos said. “We want that constant invitation to the community to make sure that they’re a part of our brand — not just come to an event and have a couple of drinks.”