We’ve seen this move before: a long-standing shoe brand installs a next-wave designer and search manufacturer. Last year, designer Kerby Jean-Raymond by Pyer Moss is appointed the global creative director of Reebok. Earlier this year, New Balance called Teddy Santis by Aimé Leon Dore as a creative director. Now Asics has announced this New York designer Angelo Bucke woke up has been undermined for a kind of creative residence, leading a number of collaborative projects that will start later this year and will continue until next year.
His collaborators are all the favorite figures next to the streetwear-names, who may not yet be known to the ordinary love of hype, but influential people with different views. It includes two designers – Tremaine Emory by Denim Tears and Spanto of Born x Raised – allied with photographer Renell Medrano and Jess Gonsalves from Favorite’s favorite vintage store. Interestingly, two of the collaborators are not designers with their own brands of streetwear, the usual suspects for cooperation in footwear. This is a sign that both Baque and Asics know that the future of sneakers lies not only in the designers, but also in the various movers and shakers under the broad umbrella of street culture.
This project, called “The Asics Collective,” is a different approach from, say, Nike a seemingly endless well of the first fashion creative directors and designers in which it is included. (Meanwhile, Adidas tends to benefit high-power celebrities: just look at its partnerships with Pharrell and Jonah Hill.) It will be exciting to watch Baque act as part creative director, part curator (although in 2021, in the era of Virgil Abloh, these roles are blurred into one) for a significant label of sneakers.
So far, the designer’s experiments speak for themselves: starting with the favorite in the center of the boutique Nom de Guerre, before becoming a famous job in Supreme, as the brand jumped into the mainstream. Since then, he has quietly turned Awake NY from the project from a former senior official into a brand that stands firmly alone. Bake knows how to connect dots and produce projects that trigger demand; in Awake, he has collaborated with Timberland, New Era, Merrell and countless others – and of course, Asics. Only time will tell if The Asics Collective can generate the same noise or fury on Swoosh or the Three Stripes. Until then, only the idea made the brand feel instantly more relevant in today’s collaboration-based sneaker environment.