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How and why adidas is bringing back the Superstar

2020 will be the year of "Shell toe"

How and why adidas is bringing back the Superstar 2020 will be the year of Shell toe

In recent months adidas has begun to unveil some projects designed to revive one of the most beloved silhouettes ever: the Superstar, which in 2020 celebrates its 50th anniversary. Only in the last month three highlights have reinforced the importance of Superstars in the streetwear, above all the collaboration with Prada, but also the transparent model designd together with Blondey McCoy and the photo published on Instagram by Sfera Ebbasta.
The choice of adidas to revive the Superstars a few years after the last release has three main reasons, linked to its historical and cultural role in the sneaker game and to a precise strategy of the German brand. First of all it seems that adidas wants to go back to being part of the black imagery after being overtaken by Nike, and for this reason have collaborated with Beyoncé, Childish Gambino and Kanye West. Part of the strategy is also the desire to strengthen a bond with Gen Z, through artists and influencers who communicate directly to new generations, such as Sfera Ebbasta or Gully Guy Leo. The aesthetic aspect is not to be underestimated in the new success of “Shell toe”. The fact of being a white canvas over the years has led to numerous collaborations, such as those with Palace, Rick Owens or BAPE, keeping intact the street credibility that makes it the most underground adidas sneaker.

The decision to focus on Superstars in 2020 goes beyond the pure anniversary, the nomination of Beyoncé as adidas Creative Partner was a clear sign of how the brand has every intention of recovering black culture. The cultural success of the Superstar was born in the '80s hip-hop, in particular the New York-based group Run DMC and that way of wearing them without laces with the tongue out, which will also lead to the single "My Adidas" (1986), in response to the anti-sneaker track by Jerrald Deas "Felon Sneakers".
If you think that this was the first time that a sportswear brand used music, moreover coming from a subculture, to market a product, the story of the superstars takes on the traits of the true founding act of streetwear in the modern sense, and probably also of new luxury. The initial success, linked to its origin as a basketball shoe, is due in large part to another icon of black culture, the former Los Angeles Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, record of all-time points of the NBA and another reason to look for the roots of Supertar in African American culture.

Conceived then as a basketball sneaker, over the years the Superstar has gradually consolidated its influence in fashion, with a path similar to that of the Converse All-Star Chuck Taylor. The photos recently posted by Sfera Ebbasta or Gully Guy Leo are the rye of how adidas is trying to re-launch the Superstar through reference celebrities of Gen Z and Millennials - as in the case of Blondey McCoy - maintaining a line of continuity with the origins 80s underground. Compared to the contemporary streetwear scene, the "shell shoes" is probably the adidas sneaker with the most street credibility, widespread (30 years earlier) with the same premises with which Kanye West released the Yeezy line in 2015.

In addition to the historical importance, the Superstars are one of the cleanest silhouette of adidas and for this reason they have inspired a good number of collaborations over the years, including the one with Yohji Yamamoto, Palace, Rick Owens, BAPE, Slam Jam, Pharrell Williams, Undefeated , or Neighborhood. The most significant in recent years, however, is certainly the one with Prada, a mirror of the level of contamination achieved by high fashion and streetwear as well as an extra definition of the phenomenon of new luxury. Speaking of collaborations, it is no coincidence that for the great anniversary of 2005 adidas called artists, musicians and designers to create 5 Superstar series for a total of 35 models, thus expressing the maximum versatility of this sneaker.

As in the 1980s, streetwear in the last decade has returned to being pulled by rappers, who also signed the hot releases in 2019. From Kanye to Travis Scott, from Tyler the Creator to Rihanna, the role of the artist has merged with that of the designers, sneaker trends pass first of all from the stages and video clips, while the adidas Superstar remain a big deal for adidas, credible and current because OG.