Tradition and progress have always performed a precarious balancing act in fashion. To get to the next stage in design, there can’t help but be a break with tradition at some point, but abandon it entirely, and you end up with the midcentury science fiction, silver jumpsuits for the entire population cliché. Stick with tradition for tradition’s sake, and we’d be trying to keep our powdered wigs from falling off as we shoehorned hand cobbled riding boots up to our breeches.
The give and take between old and new is at the center of the newest Adidas Consortium Sneaker Exchange release, which brings together Bodega and End, as they take on the Adidas Haven and Iniki Runner two silhouettes inspired by the classic running shoes of the 1970s.
As any sneaker fan knows, the combination of sleek looks, innovative technology and an array of color options made names like the Super Light, Marathon Trainer, Country, and Dragon, among countless others, became prized for their stylistic possibilities as much as their athletic ones, making Adidas the word in sportswear as fashion.
Adidas understands the balance between classic and modern more than most. It’s why the three stripes are automatically associated with both boundary pushing technological performance and a seemingly infinite archive of iconic pieces that devotees have loved for decades. It’s why as many Stan Smiths and ZX runners have been sold for the way they looked with a pair of jeans as for what they can do on the court and on the road.
Bodega and End put their own stamp on the interplay between old and new with a detour through the world of Japanese denim. An in depth explanation of the fashion world’s love affair with Japanese denim would be a matter requiring its own separate publication entirely, but it will suffice to say that the attention to detail and traditional craftsmanship are the distinguishing features that make Japanese denim so sought after.
Boro stands out even among the storied world of Japanese textile production. Roughly translated as ‘tattered’ or ‘ragged’, boro refers to the practice of patching over an existing cotton garment with homespun hemp or scrap pieces of fabric. The boro style was first and foremost, practical in its intent. Cotton was a scarce commodity in Japan, and in pre and early mass industrial ages, replacing clothing or bedding wasn’t exactly cheap and easy. The boro patchwork technique would extend the life of these garments. With the advent of mass production and widespread availability, the boro practice was relegated to the role of quaint, historical tradition.
Although the boro technique fell out of favor as a part of everyday life, the unique, handcrafted style has led to a resurgence of boro, led by cutting edge figures in the Japanese fashion industry. That’s because in addition to being visually striking, the traditional boro method is the perfect visual metaphor for the consumption of fashion in the post-everything internet age. Just as no two boro pieces are exactly the same, every individual is free to piece together their own individual, idiosyncratic style fron the wide world of influences on offer.
The Adidas x Bodega x End Haven and the Adidas x Bodega x End Iniki Runner both utilize patchwork denim inspired by the distinctive look of boro textiles. The Haven incorporates the patchwork look on the shoe’s three stripes, giving the suede upper and gum outsole a clean and classic look, not at all out of place amongst the shoe’s 1970s ancestors, while the Iniki Runner infuses its classic inspiration with ultra modern Boost cushioning and a neoprene upper with an all-over patchwork design.
The Bodega x END. x Adidas Consortium "Patchwork" releases online June 30, at 7pm EST on bdgastore.com / in-store July 1 at 11am EST at Bodega on a first come, first served basis.
Bodega x END. x Adidas HavenWhite/BlueBY2103Retail: $160[in sizes 5.5-13.5 US]
Bodega x END. x Adidas Iniki Runner SEMulticolorBY2104Retail: $180[in sizes 5-14 US]