An Ode to Adidas
Written by: Kwesi Adjin Images Courtesy of: Adidas

It’s almost impossible to choose an angle to describe a brand with such iconic gravitas as Adidas.  Does one talk about the corporate entity that owns Reebok and has its origin dating back to 1940s Germany?  Do you talk about the ravenous attention seeking omnipotent creature that vows to reside on the cutting edge of all that is “culture?”   Or do you opt to query the intentions of the institution that has sometimes been accused of diluting art forms and sports with meticulous product placement? The answer is “Yes” and “No” and “All of the above”.  All these perspectives tackle an aspect of Adidas but in order to do this brand full justice, the complete mosaic has to be beheld.

Adidas is both vintage and modern. It is hard-edged, and at the same time refined.

All corporatocracy, marketing schemes and conspiracy theories aside, it is hard to deny the fact that Adidas has been willfully invited into our lives and our psyche.  Adidas, like very few other brands, is a welcomed presence.  It feels familiar but also fresh and new.  It is both vintage and modern.  It is hard-edged and at the same time refined. The word “Adidas” can be substituted with other words like “classic”, “timeless” and “cool” and there would be no objections. It is really hard to look at those three ageless parallel bars of the Adidas logo and not think about innovation, individuality and independence. The brand has managed to unobtrusively cut into and embed itself sternly within world culture and we are all very okay with this.  We have all accepted this fact because we all know and feel that Adidas “just belongs”. Track suits, sneakers and sports gear don’t begin to describe the impact that Adidas has had on most people. DJs, hip-hop, hipsters, minimalists and renaissance people have drank from the Adidas trough, and it is important that this brand is paid the respect it deserves.  

Certain things such as good craftsmanship, great value and a strong aesthetic can never be overlooked, especially in the current era where all that used to be sacred has now become somewhat “throw-away.” This is a big reason why the brand Adidas is still relevant after all these decades.  Adidas is a store of fashion value. Adidas apparel can be viewed as a non-depreciating currency that will be accepted far into the future.  Knowing that this value exists gives those of us who patronize the brand a sense of comfort that is becoming increasingly harder to find. Adidas products feel real and those who embrace them come across as authentic.  It would be great if there were more ways to explain why this is so but the best things need very little explanation and the people who will understand this need very little coaxing.

Adidas has been accused of infiltrating the purity of many art forms and attempting to make them commercial.  However, the truth remains that the talent of artists like Run DMC and Missy Elliot is irrefutable, and it is also undeniable that Adidas helped these celebrities standout in live shows, music videos and other appearances.  Adidas merely served as their coat of armor – a distinct uniform that helped engrain certain artists into your subconscious.

Another Adidas related sound bite that has been making the rounds on the news is the November 2013 announcement of the Kanye West partnership.  In this circumstance Adidas was actually the shining knight swooping in to save a distressed Yeezus from big bad Nike.  Adidas proves here that although it is a corporate entity that is obviously concerned about its bottom line, it has its fingers so firmly on the pulse of culture and creativity that is willing to step in boldly and act for the furtherance of both (which will also likely lead to a larger bottom line).


Adidas is currently in the midst of re-launching its iconic Stan Smith trainers making it an appropriate time to pay homage to this creator of stalwart style. Rick Owens and Adidas also continue their fruitful relationship with the release of a clean and futuristic silhouette called the Tech Runner. The timing of the release of the Tech Runner could not be more perfect as the murmur of Rick Owens’ Fall/Winter 2014 collection that debuted in Paris remains in the head of fashion enthusiasts everywhere.  Another worthy mention is the Adidas collaboration with Yohji Yamamoto.  The ongoing Y-3 collaboration has been phenomenally successful and is just another feather in the hat of Adidas as it proves that the brand is always sniffing around for renewal, perspective and influence.

The Stan Smiths, The Adidas Originals Superstars, The Firebird tracksuits and  The Sambas are just a few of the timeless items that Adidas has bestowed upon us hungry consumers and for that we say “THANK YOU” , because without these, skaters, Japanese street fashion kids, futurists, startup entrepreneurs,  hipsters, rappers, sports stars, indie bands and I would probably have to traverse this world in birthday suits.  No one wants to see that.

For all things Adidas, visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *