Smalltalk:
Alexander Wang on his latest Adidas-Collab

On March 1st Adidas Originals and Alexander Wang’s second collaboration hit the stores. We sat down with the designer to talk the collection, vacations and his relationship to fashion.

The partnership between Adidas and Wang continues with the 14-piece collection that includes tracksuits, t-shirts, shorts, and footwear, all of which are unisex. The lookbook is the work of Juergen Teller and features Rocco Ritchie in his first-ever campaign, alongside long-time Alexander Wang models Hanne Gaby Odiele, Binx Walton, Lexi Boling, as well as Luke Storey and Chris Fernandez.

I’ve read an article about your collaboration with Adidas saying, “The designer has promised a return to tradition, albeit with a distinct, Wang-ian twist.” What does that mean?

Everything about the collection, from its design, to the way it is communicated, stems from the idea of flipping brand conventions on their head. I felt that the most interesting and disruptive approach to the collaboration would be to incorporate the heritage of an iconic brand like Adidas while overturning commonly accepted rules and traditions of iconography and branding.

With this collection, my impulse was both to exalt the iconic adidas Originals logo which is pervasive throughout the entire collection, while simultaneously having fun with it by turning it upside down. This, in a nutshell, is what the Alexander Wang brand is all about – to celebrate, but not to take things too seriously.

You did collaborate with Juergen Teller on the occasion. How did that come about?

This collaboration is rooted in reality and streetwear, and in my mind, there was no better person to capture this look authentically than Juergen Teller. Juergen is originally from a village near the Adidas headquarters in Germany and has collaborated with the brand in the past, so it made sense to work him on multiple levels.

How has your relationship to fashion changed from when you first started to now?

I am still very intrigued by the values of youth culture, by the perception of what’s authentic and what’s fake; these have been central ideas to me from the moment I started.

To this extent, I don’t think fashion has changed so much; what has changed is the way that it’s communicated.

What do you think is every designer’s most important trait?

Point of view.

Do you think timing is everything?

Today’s culture is about shorthand and immediacy, so signs and symbols are more powerful than ever. The marketplace is highly saturated too so anything that is original generates real excitement, so it is more imperative now, more than ever to create things that break from the norm in order to stand apart.

There was a time you did so many things (Alexander Wang, T by Alexander Wang, Balenciaga, etc.), how did you do all of that and still kept the creativity flowing and not get overwhelmed?

It’s an honor to be given the opportunity to work on projects outside my own brand, and frankly, I am incredibly energized by it. It isn’t easy to design for brands that have distinctly different visions, but I’ve been fortunate to work with ones with incredibly rich archives and heritages. Being able to tap into these resources is really the key to inspiration.

Do you vacation?

Yes.

And lastly, do you wear your own designs?

Yes.

The collection will be available at selected stores such as:

Barneys (New York), Colette (Paris), Antonioli (Milan), Storm (Copenhagen), Dover Street Market (Ginza), Boon the Shop (Seoul), and Joyce (Hong Kong).

For more information check Adidas Originals and Alexander Wang websites.

Text: Katja Horvat

Photo: Juergen Teller for Adidas Originals x Alexander Wang