Japan´s United Arrows & Sons and Italy’s Slam Jam were both established in 1989. Since then, United Arrows & Sons has opened 100 stores throughout Japan while Slam Jam has grown into a European menswear institution with stores in Ferrara and Milan. Both retailers have become the standard-bearers for contemporary fashion in their home countries.

As partner in the Sneaker Exchange 2017, adidas Consortium challenged the two to communicate, collaborate and discover common ground upon which to deliver a sneaker pack. An early conversation topic was construction, and in particular, the textiles used to make great footwear. Together, United Arrows & Sons and Slam Jam present two luxury leisure shoes: a Gazelle and a Campus, each created using materials with a regional context and locally-sourced materials. The execution is experimental – an exploration in how repurposing high-quality textiles can result in outstanding sneakers.

The Campus is the opulent of the duo with an all-white upper. The 100{1be1ed28972943da73d0e0db83bead14ceba6511cbee988c4d477f2dab0c1bed} organic cotton used here is a reference to high-quality Japanese IKEUCHI ORGANIC towelling. The area around the ankle and its interior are also made of terry cloth, giving it a ruffled, distressed appearance with a luxury feel. In Japan it is customary to remove your outdoor shoes upon entering a house. With these Campus one gets the “always at home” feeling. They are even softer than most indoor slippers.

adidas Campus x Slam Jam x UA & Sons

IKEUCHI ORGANIC towelling is used again on the interior of the crimson Gazelle. Its upper is made of Alcantara®, the high-quality and innovative material utilised across countless applications. Founded in 1972 by a joint-venture between Japanese and Italian companies, Alcantara® represents one of the leading Made in Italy brands with a contemporary lifestyle approach. United Arrows & Sons’ design partnership with Slam Jam nods back to a previous collaboration between two companies from their respective nations. There is further modification: replacing the original Gazelle tongue with a ribbed Samba tongue leads to a hybrid that – given the choice of materials – still works harmoniously.

adidas Gazelle x Slam Jam x UA & Sons

While materials and colours are subtle, branding on both models is eye-catching. Besides logo detailing on the tongue labels, “United Arrows & Sons and Slam Jam” appears on the white Campus’ outsole and laces, while “Gazelle” and “Gat-zelle” – the original Japanese name for the model – is printed on either side of its crimson counterpart.

Understated with subtle low-key elegance, Japan and Italy shake hands via this highly conceptual sneaker pack.

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