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adidas Consortium - United Arrows & Sons x Slam Jam

Japan’s United Arrows & Sons and Italy’s Slam Jam were both established in 1989. Since then, United Arrows & Sons has opened 100 stores throughout Japan while Slam Jam has grown into a European menswear institution with stores in Ferrara and Milan. Both retailers have become the standard-bearers for contemporary fashion in their home countries.

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As partner in the Sneaker Exchange 2017, adidas Consortium challenged the two to communicate, collaborate and discover common ground upon which to deliver a sneaker pack. An early conversation topic was construction, and in particular, the textiles used to make great footwear. Together, United Arrows & Sons and Slam Jam present two luxury leisure shoes: a Gazelle and a Campus, each created using materials with a regional context and locally-sourced materials. The execution is experimental – an exploration in how repurposing high-quality textiles can result in outstanding sneakers.

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The Campus is the opulent of the duo with an all-white upper. The 100% organic cotton used here is a reference to high-quality Japanese IKEUCHI ORGANIC towelling. The area around the ankle and its interior are also made of terry cloth, giving it a ruffled, distressed appearance with a luxury feel. In Japan it is customary to remove your outdoor shoes upon entering a house. With these Campus one gets the “always at home” feeling. They are even softer than most indoor slippers.

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IKEUCHI ORGANIC towelling is used again on the interior of the crimson Gazelle. Its upper is made of Alcantara®, the high-quality and innovative material utilised across countless applications. Founded in 1972 by a joint-venture between Japanese and Italian companies, Alcantara® represents one of the leading Made in Italy brands with a contemporary lifestyle approach. United Arrows & Sons’ design partnership with Slam Jam nods back to a previous collaboration between two companies from their respective nations. There is further modification: replacing the original Gazelle tongue with a ribbed Samba tongue leads to a hybrid that - given the choice of materials - still works harmoniously.

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While materials and colours are subtle, branding on both models is eye-catching. Besides logo detailing on the tongue labels, “United Arrows & Sons and Slam Jam” appears on the white Campus’ outsole and laces, while “Gazelle” and “Gat-zelle” - the original Japanese name for the model – is printed on either side of its crimson counterpart.

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The adidas Consortium - United Arrows & Sons x Slam Jam collaboration will be available October 7th in store and online.

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