Nic Galway talks adidas Originals Tubular
adidas Originals are smashing it at the minute, aren’t they? With all those lovely tracksuits that the man from Darwen made, those trainers that the really polite German fella and the internet drawing bloke have done, and re-issues named after European cities, that are genuinely getting people excited again. Well, they’re not quite done yet…
Nic Galway, adi’s VP of global design, and man behind those outrageous Ninja-Goth Y-3 Qasas that came out not so long ago, has brought a whole new silhouette to the table. The adidas Tubular, which looks like something Darth Vader might play squash in, is an amalgamation of adi archive designs and fancy new technology, which roots the shoe very much in the here and now. Also, yeah… It’s that one that the Internet wrongly thought Kanye West had dreamt up.
Breaks caught up with Nic to discuss the creation of the Tubular and his commitment to pushing the adidas Originals brand forward…
“What really interests me, about Originals, is that we have such a big archive here. There was a really good series of early prototypes of the original Tubular shoe in there, perhaps ones that hadn’t made it into manufacture. They were a real inspiration for me.” explains Nic “It’s not about re-issuing, as such, but re-appropriating. Taking the past and looking at it through today’s eyes.”
In possession of a refreshingly forward-thinking attitude, in an industry that seems transfixed on faux-heritage and weak rehashing of the past, Nic Galway’s background in automotive and industrial design leaves him perfectly positioned to reclaim adidas’ traditional remit of blending the very best in sports technology with genuinely iconic leisure footwear.
“The Tubular has elements of the past, to root it in the brand’s heritage, but we really wanted to be looking at the innovations that were available to us today. We wanted to explore how the original engineers would’ve done that shoe, if they knew what we knew now” he explains over the world’s worst phoneline. “I think people are looking for a new dialogue. We’ve had the bring-backs for a long time now, and then you have the pure performance product alongside that, but now I think people are looking to be provoked. They’re looking for something unusual. Something new.
Because we have that really strong archive, we have a starting point, but now we’re seeing how far we can stretch it. Really starting to push it, bringing new innovations and starting to challenge what sneakers can look like.”
Training shoes, or ‘sneaker culture’ if you absolutely must, has been guilty of stagnating over the past few years, and the ‘new dialogue’ that Galway speaks of is certainly needed. Will adi be leading the way in this? Are we going to see more risks taken and boundaries pushed by the brand?
“I definitely hope so. That’s my mission. What I want to do with that though is to do it in many different ways. We don’t have to just challenge people visually, we can challenge the perception of how a product feels, or the way that we use materials. We always have to find a balance of course, the archival products are hugely important too and when I bring those back I want to make sure we treat them with respect.
When we bring a new product out though, we’re going to treat it as just that. That’s when we really start to look to the future and to challenge. I think now is the perfect opportunity to do both of those things.”
If Nic Galway, and the rest of the team at adidas Originals, manage to bridge that gap between the strength of their archive and the forward-thinking mentality, that seems so apparent in our very brief chat, it won’t just be the last few months of 2014 that will be a huge success for the brand. Hopefully there’ll be no resting on laurels and 2015 will provide some more pleasant surprises.
Words: Dan Sandison
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