NEW YORK — In the hypercompetitive world of athletic brands, customization remains a driving force. With Tuesday night’s launch of its Athletics category, Adidas indicated it won’t be walking away from the trend any time soon.
Newly minted gold medalist track star Tori Bowie, Minnesota Timberwolves’ Andrew Wiggins, New York Knicks’ Joakim Noah and junior tennis star Coco Shilin helped a host of Adidas executive unveil the business unit at Clarkson Square here. And musicians Metro Boomin and Fetty Wap performed at the press event.
Athletics now has dedicated product design, development and marketing staff at both the Adidas Group’s home office in Herzogenaurach, Germany, and Adidas’ North American headquarters in Portland, Ore. The assortment is meant to bridge the gap between athletes’ styles on and off the playing fields.
With that in mind, the ZNE hoodie, for example, is a reworked version of traditional pre-game outerwear. The heavyweight cotton style was designed with an oversize hood to help athletes tune out any visual or audible distractions. Athletes will also find a few words of encouragement imprinted on the garment’s interior label. Future collections will feature a zippered sleeve for wearers to stash motivational handwritten notes or lucky charms.
When the $100 ZNE hoodies launch Sept. 7, they will be offered in white, ice blue, collegiate navy, black and olive cargo for men, and white, black, blue, red, vapour steel and collegiate navy for women. Shoppers will find them in Adidas stores, on its web site, and at select retailers such as Champs, Kith, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Macy’s. In addition to Bowie, the brand has photographed U.S. soccer player Morgan Brian, DJ and model Hannah Bronfman and U.S. Open competitor Ana Ivanovic wearing the item to help shoppers.
Rob Lee, vice president of design for Adidas Training, and Kate Ridley, vice president of training for Adidas North America, were on hand to explain the ideology behind the new Athletics division.
Speaking from Rio de Janeiro the day before the start of the Summer Games, Adidas Group chief executive officer Herbert Hainer predicted 2016 would continue to be a year of stellar growth for the company. The athletic juggernaut is counting on the latest sneaker models in its Adidas Originals lifestyle division to help keep the momentum going. Having recently extended its partnership with Kanye West beyond its current lifestyle focus to encompass performance designs, Adidas also sees further sales growth in the Pharrell Williams-designed NMD shoes. Earlier this month the company opened its new Adidas Originals flagship at 115 Spring Street and its Brooklyn Design Farm Studio is scheduled to be unveiled this fall.
Building on the importance of DIY designs, a New York specific colorway of the NMD style was offered solely through Adidas Confirmed APP for the SoHo store’s opening. Adding to the enhanced focus on exclusivity, reservations were required for purchases, which, if approved, required an in-store pick-up.