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How adidas Forum came to dominate the sneaker game in the last year

When a great classic takes it to the next level

How adidas Forum came to dominate the sneaker game in the last year When a great classic takes it to the next level
adidas Originals x Arwa Al Banawi Forum Low
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@mose.cov
@ilariabigg
@ilariabigg
@andreafaccio
@mecna
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Bad Bunny x adidas Forum White Low
adidas Originals Y-3 Forum Hi OG
adidas originals x YEENJOY STUDIO collection
adidas originals x Monster Inc. Forum Low
adidas Originals x HUMAN MADE SS21 Collection
adidas originals IVY PARK RODEO collection
A$AP Rocky wearing Prada x adidas Originals Forum Low
A$AP Rocky wearing Prada x adidas Originals Forum Low
A$AP Rocky wearing Prada x adidas Originals Forum Low
Michael Jordan
Mark Whalberg
Kendall Jenner
Keith Haring & Run DMC
Kareem Abdul-Jabar
Bella Hadid
Beastie Boys

2022 hasn't even started three weeks ago and we might already have the sneaker collaboration of the year, courtesy of adidas and Prada. While the two brands had collaborated before, it was the Prada x adidas Forum that attracted the most attention since it appeared on A$AP Rocky's feet last September. Realeasing today, it can be expected with some accuracy that the luxury reinterpretation of the adidas Forum will dominate the rankings of this year's sneaker collaborations, after having been the protagonist of an unprecedented slew of collaborations in 2021. The reason is simple: in a world of increasingly loud collaborations, the minimal-functional remake of such an iconic sneaker has already made it a classic. The announcement of the collaboration, after the 2021 release series, had already inflamed the Forum-mania in 2021 and represented the culmination of a strategy of collaborations that made the adidas Forum originally introduced in 1984 a real field of cultural experimentation throughout the past year, bringing it back to the forefront of the sneaker scene.

A$AP Rocky wearing Prada x adidas Originals Forum Low
A$AP Rocky wearing Prada x adidas Originals Forum Low
A$AP Rocky wearing Prada x adidas Originals Forum Low

To name just a few seen last year, we had the appearance of the second Forum co-designed by Bad Bunny last January 5, a hand-painted version by renowned Chinese ceramist YiRan on Christmas Eve, a fuzzy version dedicated to the movie Monster Inc. last September, a Forum Low co-signed by Beyoncé for IVY PARK in August, another created by Saudi Arabian designer Arwa Al Banawi in May presented back-to-back with a model dedicated to The Simpsons, two other Forum signed respectively by Nigo and Yohji Yamamoto in April and before these the previous collabo with Bad Bunny and Beyoncé. While in between all these collaborations, there were also releases of classic models and new colorways.

Bad Bunny x adidas Forum White Low
adidas originals x YEENJOY STUDIO collection
adidas originals x Monster Inc. Forum Low
adidas originals IVY PARK RODEO collection
adidas Originals x Arwa Al Banawi Forum Low
adidas Originals x HUMAN MADE SS21 Collection
adidas Originals Y-3 Forum Hi OG

The strategy of adidas Originals, here, certainly concerns the desire to make the Forum talk to every segment of the huge audience of the brand, through every possible aesthetic, cultural and geographical placement. But the most interesting fact remains the ability of the Forum to be an icon malleable enough to be adapted to any type of creative process: from celebrity collaboration, to avant-garde design, from emerging creators to multi-disciplinary artists culminating, as we said, in the clean slate of luxury that has now signed Prada whose reinterpretation is both the cleanest and most recognizable of all. This constant readjustment of Forum's aesthetic has to do with the classicism of its design but it also sets a benchmark for sneaker collaborations across the industry. In activating global communication strategies, among other things, the brand has also been able to maintain a balance between the international market and the hyper-localized market, as when at Christmas it collaborated with Foot Locker and with some local talents in Milan with the interactive map The Forum Digital Experience.

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In fact, it is clear that the huge amount of collaborations coming out every month represents an element of potential disorientation for the public that, increasingly connected and attentive to the constant evolutions of the sneaker market, finds an antidote to release fatigue in the search for silhouettes that are impervious to the trend cycle. It is no coincidence that, over the last two years, in which fashion has increasingly questioned itself on which structural models to adopt in order to face the future, the value of timelessness has become increasingly central to the cultural debate: a timeless design is, almost by its very definition, a culturally rich design that can also be continuously enriched through a series of progressive iconographic stratifications. This explains why a brand like adidas, which pushes so hard on the creative output of its production, has bet in the past and will bet in the future on a silhouette like the Forum - rethinking in some cases also the heritage with releases such as the recent Jersey Pack, which presented a new iteration of the historic adidas Forum silhouette exploring its athletic legacy, with a new construction inspired by basketball jerseys with a central panel that reproduced in a maximalist version the texture of the mesh of the uniforms that can be seen on the court.

In the course of this act of collective rethinking of its methods and meanings, the fashion system as a whole has opened up the question of iconicity. The iconicity of a product, far from referring to the somewhat empty and constant use that is made of it in press releases, is actually a fundamental value on which entire brands have built their fame and success, sometimes for decades. The growing interest of the public in the field of the archive, of the elevated basic, of the researched silhouette, testifies precisely to an important process of research and consolidation of meanings on which the entire question of design creativity is based. A search for meanings is, above all, a search for values - values that, as never before, are assigned, especially for sneakers, to items that bear witness to a certain continuity between past and present but that, in the light of the important generational shifts that have taken place in the last three years, also require continuous updating, a dialogue with the new generations whose aspiration is to restructure the world, correcting the errors and flaws of a culture that can and must speak to everyone.

Michael Jordan
Kareem Abdul-Jabar
Keith Haring & Run DMC
Mark Whalberg
Beastie Boys
Bella Hadid
Kendall Jenner

This is where the adidas Forum comes into play, which adidas has transformed from an icon crystallized in time to a vehicle of virtuous dialogue that connects all the different and distant points that dot contemporary culture. The idea of self-expression but also of cross-sectoral and inter-cultural dialogue are basically all represented by the sneaker itself as well as by the wide range of collaborations in which the Forum has been made the protagonist: the most striking cases, in this sense, are for example the collaborations with YiRan and with Arwa Al Banawi that enrich the concept of sneaker release with a discourse on craftsmanship, on multidisciplinarity, on emerging design niches ignored by the Eurocentrism of contemporary fashion, but also with a multicultural discourse that introduces the Italian sneakerhead to the work of a Chinese artist and the American sneakerhead to the aesthetics of a Saudi designer. The rest of the collaborations, on the other hand, involve the Latin American public with Bad Bunny, the African-American female community with Beyoncé but also the trans-national avant garde circle with its dialogue with Japanese designers. At the center of it all remains always and in any case the Forum - which thus becomes the blueprint of every future ambitious sneaker collaboration strategy.

The whole adidas Forum line-up is available online at Footlocker's official website.