By Meg Burgess
It’s no secret that Adidas remains a giant in the sportswear-fashion industry, with the brand holding many iconic models and lines to its name, as well as endless successful collaborations with other fashion brands. So, the internet was excited to discover that the brand would be releasing a collaboration with the fashion icon – Prada. As a brand, Prada are known for their originality in design, aiming to make everyone feel like an individual – no matter their style. They are constantly pushing the boundaries of fashion, releasing new lines every year that experiment with various new technologies and textures. After the collaboration was announced, Prada stated: “The aim of this partnership is to investigate the realms of heritage, technology and innovation. Prada for Adidas is a laboratory for ideas, a new vehicle for creativity.”
The collaboration brought further excitement amongst fashionistas and hypebeasts alike; when it was revealed that there would be two products released on December 4, 2019 – a shoe and a handbag. The shoe is modelled after the iconic Adidas “Superstar” line, with the rubber-shell toe and the three stripes alongside. However, it is made out of the same full-grain leather Prada use in their products, with the Prada logo alongside the three stripes and on the tongue of the shoe. The bag is modelled after the iconic “Prada Bowling Bag”, made in leather with a sports nylon strap, also featuring both the Adidas and Prada logos. Both products are white with black detailing, giving off a very clean silhouette. The line was evolved from their sports and subcultural roots into modern luxury, where clean simplicity and timeless lines are constants throughout the design.
The decision to have high-end fashion brands collaborate with sports brands is a wise one, because it opens the products to two different types of consumers. People that gravitate towards sportswear often have a very distinct image, and shop for items that will reflect their style, something which is seen in high-end customers too. So, for these brands to collaborate enables consumers to be exposed to new fashion styles that they might not have previously considered. This idea aligns with Prada’s mission statement – being original in their design, and making everyone feel like an individual regardless of their personal style.
Adidas as a brand are known for their footwear, with the original Adidas “Superstar” being made 50 years ago where it became a popular item amongst more than 75% of NBA players within a few years of its launch. Likewise, Prada’s “Luna Rossa” line – established after the Luna Rossa sailing team in 1997, gave Prada a chance to participate in the “America’s Cup” (the oldest trophy in sport, and the most prestigious international sailing competition.) Prada have also stated that they have “the perfect laboratory to test new materials and technology, and offers the ideal conditions to perfect the science of sailing.” Regarding this, it makes a lot of sense for Prada to work with Adidas, because of both of their roots in sports fashion. Also, Adidas has had a lot of experience working with high-end fashion brands (including Stella Macartney and Yeezy), so a collaboration with Prada would only add to their extensive repertoire in high-end sports fashion. This way, the consumer can get a product that has influences from both older, more recognised design alongside newer innovation. In the press release for the collaboration, Prada stated that the shoe “does not require being re-designed because it has crossed boundaries and challenged definitions through five decades.”
On social media many were excited about the news of the collab, but when the line was released, it faced some backlash. This is because many thought that the design was too basic for the price point, with one Twitter user even saying: “it looks like an adidas all white superstar with the prada brand slapped on it”. Many also said that the release was quite underwhelming, implying that Prada’s input was quite lazy, especially on the shoe design. People were also disappointed to learn that the collection would cost £2345, and would be limited edition, with only 700 pieces being released, each having a unique serial number. The worries behind this stem from something that is ever-developing in the fashion industry and consumerist culture in general – reselling.
Reselling often makes the collection very inaccessible to many consumers, because these products are often sold at a very high price inflation from the retail price. In the “Adidas x Prada” case, some products are being sold at prices over £4000, almost double the price of the original product. The products are then treated like collectible pieces, rather than clothes and accessories to wear which defeats the object of fashion for most people. Personally, I don’t believe that the collection is worth buying, purely because the designs on both the shoe and the bag are so simple. Also, the fact that the price of the product is so high makes it inaccessible to many consumers which is something I think needs changing in the industry.