Adidas x Donald Glover = Grungy Shoes?

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In the world of retail, where many legacy brands are fighting to remain in business, staying relevant is almost as important as the products companies push to customers.  Enter the mega-brand and mega-celebrity partnership. Although not a new concept, collaborations between well-known brands and A-list celebrities have seen a revival in recent years, particularly as social media has become more influential in the way people shop.

Adidas, the storied sportswear manufacturer, is partnering with Donald Glover, a.k.a. Childish Gambino for a new shoe line, with a twist.  While most customers value the crisp, clean nature of a new shoe, Donald is making the case for quite the opposite. With the launch of Donald Glover Presents, he takes three well-known Adidas styles (the Nizza, the Continental 80, and the Lacombe), and redesigns them to look as if they are shoes you would typically be ready to throw away.  Each shoe intentionally looks “worn-in,” featuring frayed laces and faded fabric colors.  “With this project,” Glover says in the official Adidas press release, “I wanted to encourage people to think about how their stories can be told on their feet.  Value isn’t quantified by what you wear, rather the experiences from them.”

To be clear, Adidas is not the first company to market shoes to customers that look like they’ve been through their fair share of long nights.  In recent years, other brands such as Gucci and Saint Laurent have provided the “worn-in” look to consumers.  However, the new Adidas styles, available for purchase on April 26th, offer the trend at a more affordable price point (between $80 and $100).

This is not Adidas’ first time at the rodeo when it comes to partnering with a well-known star.  Their relationship with Kanye West, producing the now iconic Yeezy collection, continues to increase the company’s competitive edge with industry titan Nike.  The question of if Gambino’s collection will reach the level of success of Yeezy’s has yet to be answered.  However, is the case Donald is making with these “worn-in” offerings, emphasizing the value of your experiences wearing sneakers versus the status associated with buying them compelling, absolutely!

Check out this video directed by Donald Glover featuring Mo’nique below.

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