To those of us foreign to hypebeast sneakers, the Asics x Vivienne Westwood collection is making it rain with their unlikely pairing.
The collab has reimagined and given us Asics tiger Gel-Mai Knit MT and Gel Kayano 5 OG — both gender-neutral pieces that were racking up ‘ones-to-watch’ credentials among the streetwear style elites (the sheer amount of international KOLs repping the sneakers was overwhelming).
While we were in Shanghai for an early launch of Asics x Vivienne Westwood, we picked the brain of Global Brand Director of Vivienne Westwood, Christopher Di Pietro on the collaboration, the luxury market’s relationship with consumers and more.
What are the defining characteristics of Vivienne Westwood’s aesthetic?
The main things about her [Vivienne Westwood] is that she is always offering up a choice even in the world of conformity. She’s totally unique as a designer; she looks back at tradition and even the traditional crafts of making clothes and accessories. Vivienne’s sensibility would be her most prominent characteristic in terms of design — she takes it into a completely futuristic mode that you’ve never seen before.
It sounds like her designs are rooted in history.
Yes, definitely. Even until now, she is all about sustainability. Pattern-cutting, for example, she considers the shape of the design so as to waste as little fabric as possible. Something she has been doing since the 80s.
A sustainable route that’s definitely needed more in this industry.
She applies this environmentally-friendly practice to all her works. Vivienne was also a child of the 2nd World War and she remembers what it was like not having anything — to have to rely on recycling and conserving what she could. It’s a principle she carries with her.
Let’s talk about the collaboration. How did it come about?
We really wanted to work with Asics. For this capsule, we weren’t interested in redesigning a trainer from scratch, but more of using a similar silhouette that already existed. We loved their designs, well-priced items and the performance aspect that came with it.
What is the design ethos behind this collaboration?
We focused on using design aspects from both Asics and Vivienne Westwood’s heritage. We wanted to create products that looked equally modern yet celebrated our long years of history. The result is Vivienne Westwood’s incorporation of the squiggly pattern print from their 1981 Pirate Autumn-Winter show.
Would you say consumer demand in the luxury market has changed?
We are dealing with a very new generation whereby their relationship to brands and reasons for buying are very different. I mean fashion brands have to readjust the way they have a dialogue with their consumers. Before in the ’80s or even the ’90s, luxury houses dictated fashion to people, unlike now. It’s important for a brand to have their integrity and mind, but also represent the values of the people. Yes, consumers want to buy a well-made product but they also what to understand the dynamics of what the product stands for — something I believe will stay for the future.
Asics x Vivienne Westwood collection is available online and at Plaza Singapura.
The ASICSTIGER GEL-MAI Knit MT and ASICS GEL-KAYANO 5 OG retails for $339 and $289 respectively.
For more information, visit Viviennewestwood.com