How did this partnership start?
Pharrell is very similar to our brand. He's very authentic in what he does and what he represents. January 2014 was our first meeting with him where we went through our archives, and he was really acknowledging some of the footwear from our past. He remembered how people had a huge connection to the Superstar from back in the day, which was great. So a few weeks later over lunch, we’re talking about ideas and he just says, “what about 50 colors of the Superstar?” And within the next 6 months we fleshed that out.
How involved was Pharrell in the collaboration process?
Whenever we partner with someone, we’re looking for originality and new ideas. And one of the best moments we’ve ever had with Pharrell was making the Supercolor. When he told us his idea, my first thought was “what does it mean to bring something like this to life?” So we gave him a PANTONE color book. And over the weekend, while he was on tour, he built a circle of color chips that would then come to life via our sampling process. Three months later, with a suitcase full of shoes, we went to meet him backstage while he was on tour at his show in Dusseldorf, Germany. That’s where the initial picture, which was our most tweeted image of the year, came from--Pharrell sitting in a circle surrounded by the Superstars, pulling together the shoes to recreate the PANTONE colors he chose.
What’s proven to be the biggest challenge?
When you’re presented with an idea like that, it's not just about creating the product. You’re thinking about so many things: how do we display them? How many boxes can I fit in a store’s back stock and still sell all the colors? And we also gave ourselves a very tight deadline—from the moment that picture was published, we had about 6 months to bring it to market. So it was really about trying different things and pushing the boundaries. We had never done anything like this before, and that’s what was so exciting about it.
Why do you think the collection was so successful?
This project just really blew everyone away. Pharrell is all about individuality and wanting everyone to be themselves, and I think that’s what made Supercolor so special and successful. You’re signing up for something original, different and fun. Lots of people could be part of this thanks to the price point [around $100] and you didn't have to look like your friends. You could choose whatever color you wanted. When there's a special moment, everyone wants a piece of it.
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Were you shocked by how quickly they sold out?
Yeah, we expected them to last a little bit longer. Literally within a weekend everything sold out. It was really exciting that the consumers just wanted the product straight away, but that also meant a lot of us at Adidas missed out on colors we wanted (laughs). I only ended up with one color actually…
How do Kanye's Yeezy Boost's fit in with Pharrell's collections?
What we do with Kanye [West] is very different from what we do with Pharrell. We create based on what they believe is next in the industry, and both have very different and unique ideas. But what we're see happening in sneaker culture right now is just so exciting; there's so much anticipation for the next release.
So what’s next for Adidas and Pharrell?
We have some very exciting stuff coming out in May. I can’t tell you much more that that now, but we've been working on it with Pharrell for the last 6 to 12 months. New concepts, new ideas. That’s what’s so great about collaborating with Pharrell—he’s always looking towards the future.