Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Adidas x Hypebeast 'Zeitfrei' - A few questions with Eugene Kan

So I got the chance to ask Hypebeast's Eugene Kan a few questions regarding the upcoming release of the 'Zeitfrei'. Check it out.......

Keeping It Tidy - Solebox have been veterans in collaborative projects over the past few years, how did Hypebeast come to be involved this time around?

Eugene Kan - I think that over the last little while, Adidas has been pretty consistent with their team-ups. However, it seemed as though things were perhaps a bit too predictable and consistent. I think Hypebeast by virtue of being a relevant yet fresh player made for a good selection. Maybe not one you'd immediately associate with the project but I think with the times changing we're inevitably becoming part of the new landscape of fashion and communication.

KIT - What was the blueprint for the shoe once the design process began? And how much input did you personally have towards it?

EK - We weren't really afforded any design say on the actual anatomy of the shoe, that was all set prior by adidas. We did however get the chance to choose the materials and the colorways. As well since it was a collaboration model we were given the opportunity to go a little outside of the box. We sort of maintained a clean timeless aesthetic since contrary to popular believe, we're not exactly splitting images of the prototypical Hypebeast.

KIT - Given that it’s a new style of shoe, how do you think the Zeitfrei stands up amongst other Adidas models?

EK - I would say that it has some nice elements to it. Despite being a “performance” shoe it really doesn't come across as that. The lifestyle element was incorporated nicely I felt. You can transfer seamlessly from one situation to another. Traditionally, Adidas has been less like Nike where there seems to be an inherent need to market the technology behind marquee shoes with visible branding of innovations. But from a fit and wear perspective, it can't be said it's a cycling shoe disguised as a lifestyle shoe nor a lifestyle shoe faking the funk entirely. It is what it is, a shoe with slight compromises for those who ride but want a shoe that can be worn over multiple situations.

KIT - Is the shoe solely for riding or do you think its functionality stretches further? So basically, can non fixed gear riders like myself wear it for day to day use?

EK - I don't really see it being a problem in terms of something that can be worn outside of its marketed thee as a “fixed gear” shoe. The shoe's design as I said doesn't really speak loudly to one audience which was ultimately important I think.

KIT - How ‘into’ the whole fixed gear riding thing are you?

EK - I can't say that I have my own bike or ride often given my situation in Hong Kong. We approached this project as somebody keen on the sport but also someone who wanted to help build and enhance the exposure behind fixed gear riding. It's a touchy subject of authenticity which gets thrown around quite a bit but we've never claimed to be this or that, we just wanted to put together a well-devised product with some neat and exciting execution to it.

KIT - What was the reason you decided to showcase the shoe in ‘previews’ and not all at once? Because you feel it may have become lost amongst the light speed rate at which sneakers seem to be released these days, and therefore that not get the exposure that the shoe deserves? (Apologies if I’ve just answered my own question)

EK - You sort of hit the head on the nail. While I myself don't really miss a beat cause I'm hyper-connected (an unfortunate aspect of my job), I know all too well lots of people don't RSS Hypebeast, or check it every day for that matter. It's a necessary evil to promote it over a few different instances so that the random person can get a glimpse of the product. Everything is so fast these days, its impossible to go against the current and be successful sometimes since these are quickly becoming institutions of communication. We all feel as though 24 hours is a pretty long time in the Internet world.

KIT - This is Hypebeast's first footwear venture, are there more in the pipeline? And is it always something you guys wanted to move towards?

EK - We definitely want to do more footwear projects. Hopefully, a successful Zeitfrei project will really open the eyes and pique the interest of other large companies. We can't be thankful enough for Andy Chiu of Adidas for really trusting us and feeling we were a suitable candidate for this massive project. But I must concede, media product collaborations and especially non-traditional forms of media (blogs) in product collaborations are really rare. Off the top of my head, aside from say Monocle or some Japanese magazines, they really don't happen all that consistently.

Best of luck with the release, thank you very much indeed for your time!

Release info:

The Hypebeast x Adidas Zietfrei will be released on Saturday 30th of May 2am Hong Kong time (2pm NYC, 11am LA, 7pm London - All Friday 29th) exclusively at priced at $1535 HKD ($198 USD, £128) which includes a cycling cap, cordura messenger Bag and a canvas carry all bag.

A total of 50 pairs will be available with sizes ranging from US 6.5, & 7 - 12 (full sizes only).

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