Style & Grooming

Craig Green’s adidas Collaboration, Explained

The results of Craig Green’s collaboration with adidas arrive at Dover Street Market and Comme des Garçons Trading Museum today. Here, the designer explains the story behind the covetable collection of trainers

adidas is a brand that I’ve always dreamt of working with,” says designer Craig Green of his collaboration with the sportswear giant, which launches at Dover Street Market today. “I think there is a kind of emotional connection from growing up with a brand like adidas, especially when considering the huge significance they have across many different areas of culture, including music. So when I was approached by them to collaborate it was an easy decision.” Debuted as part of the designer’s Spring/Summer 2020 collection, the colourful trainers – named the Polta Akh II – are Green’s reimaginings of adidas’ Kamanda model.

According to the designer, the trainers formed part of a collection that considered skin and the male body. “At the beginning we were thinking a lot about skin; skin as a protector, as a layer you could put on top of,” he told Another Man after the show in June 2019. The Kamanda is defined by its ridged reptilian sole which, for Green, worked for his S/S20 vision. “I was conscious to pick soles which I thought I could potentially do something interesting with. The beginning stage of any project we do is always centered around textile development and how to push and develop new techniques,” he says. “There was a strong focus in the collection on trying to make something which looked moulded, and the Kamanda sole in particular stood out for this reason. Although the Kamanda is an existing adidas silhouette, it is also in some way lesser-known to a lot of people. It felt removed from everything else and like a challenge.”

The Polta Akh II comes in six colourways – brown, red, blue, green, grey, and yellow – each grounded by that distinctive Kamanda sole. For the shoe’s upper sections, Green wanted to “create different kinds of transparencies”. “The idea was to use iconic adidas shoes as prints and moulding patterns, like ghosts of adidas shoes which overlap each other, working together to create something new,” he explains. This plays out in a series of translucent layers that, on closer inspection, recall the details of some of adidas’ previous trainer styles: like the zig-zagged edging of the Gazelle’s three stripes, or the central panel that covers the toe of the Samba.

Accompanying the shoes in Dover Street Market stores and at the Comme des Garçons Trading Museum are installations devised by Green and crafted in collaboration with David Curtis-Ring. “The installations are inspired by the iconic adidas Trefoil as I’ve always loved the branding elements of adidas – symbolically powerful and yet brilliantly simple,” Green explains of the colourful sets, created in a series of hues to match their footwear counterparts. “The thought process and approach behind the footwear collection, of moulding objects, was also used to create a series of suspended sculptures made from shaping pipes into hanging mobiles.” The textures and colours of the Polta Akh II are echoed in the striking, sprawling sculptures.

“I’ve always wanted to design shoes, because I think there’s so much you can do with footwear that you can’t do with clothing,” says Green, who garners acclaim season after season for his beautifully wearable clothes. “At first it was a bit daunting as there are so many trainer collaborations, and such a history of designer collaborations with many different trainer brands, including adidas. So the first thing to consider is ‘how do you do something that feels very new but also very much about both brands coming together?’” With the covetable Polta Akh II, Green has done just that.

The Polta Akh II, from adidas originals by Craig Green, is available now at Dover Street Market stores worldwide and online and Comme des Garçons Trading Museum.