ACS explore Adidas’ heritage through the lens of resident photographer Matt Monfredi

Text Hannah Vasdekys Photography Matt Monfredi Styling House of Jam Make-up Jessica Hurley

In a brand-crazed world – one in which every piece of clothing, every electronic device, every appliance bears the symbol of some commercial entity – there is no spot more loaded with branding potential than the foot. And, pounding the pavements of any current style capital right now, more often than not, will be trainers brandishing the three iconic Adidas stripes. 

As a brand, Adidas stimulates a refined palate with its evocations of sports legends (recall Jimmy Connors rapturous with victory in his Stan Smiths?) and its legacy of 1970’s styles. Think Bob Marley’s Adidas SL-72; the legendary 1973 partnership with, then World No.1 tennis champion, Stan Smith; RUN D.M.C’s laceless Superstars. Adidas has been the byword for fashion and sportswear for over 60 years. 

While we accept Nike may reign as the unequivocal heavyweight champion, Adidas is more old-school cool. As Nike gobbled up market share in the 1980’s, Adidas was celebrated in Run D.M.C.’s rap hit ‘My Adidas’. 

Now, Adidas’ dedicated retro line up, Adidas Originals, can be seen as the top of the brand pyramid, cementing the bond between their customer and the brand, evoking a feeling of nostalgia towards the label and seducing fashion aficionados by reissuing classic editions.

Having been lucky enough to attend a talk on Adidas’ branding approach recently, interestingly, it seems the brand’s decision to focus on reworking vintage classics rather than designing new styles comes from recognising how much of an effect our generation’s obsession with nostalgia impacts and has impacted on youth culture and even our ability to engage.

“Any brand appealing to young people must evoke their childhood. The more you can create a black and white filtered vision of the trusted past, the more likely young people will buy into your product.”

The observation is astonishing because it’s so shrewd. The brand guys have got our generation nailed. 

Youth culture is full of passivity and reminiscing; we are recreating a familiar world where we feel safe forever. Brett Easton Ellis, one of the pivotal generation X authors, recently coined us ‘Generation Wuss’. But it is a strange period in which to live. To be engaged in the current day’s situation means taking responsibility for issues that feel unsalvageable, like the imminent environmental collapse. So, is it any surprise the masses opt for “a black and white filtered version of the trusted past”?

As Adidas revisit their roots, so too do we. Logo-adorned 70s t-shirts, oversized three-stripe-garnished sweatshirts and classic 90s shell suit jackets all shine in this retro-modern editorial. With an indisputable Normcore feel, the image series showcases a hybrid of 70s and 90s Adidas classics. Lensed by photographer Matt Monfredi we pay homage to the iconic styles that took Adidas from a small sports brand to global giant.