Update your look for 2022 from the bottom up; start with these shoes that celebrate cultures across Southeast Asia
What we wear and how we look has an impact on our mindsets. Moving forward to the new year, we aspire to renew ourselves. An easy first step to our personal transformation begins with the wardrobe, footwear included, of course. As we update our closet, we must remember to shop sustainably and to support local.
Last year ended with the first-ever Filipino-designed Adidas Original called Quiccs FORUM being released. The reception was good and the iconic sportswear brand considers it a success so much so that Adidas has once more tapped another local artist to design a pair of running shoes for its collection “Ultraboost DNA City Pack.”
Southeast Asia is the heart of a new world order, rich in traditions, diverse in culture, with myriad beautiful languages and vernaculars, yet united in hope for a greater, better future. It is the land where some of the world’s best talents are unearthed—in sports, the arts, fashion, and music.
The City Pack celebrates just that; the coming together of different cultures and people of the Asian region, presenting the versatility and affluence of the cultures, communities, as well as identities in Southeast Asia.
The series reinvents the popular Ultraboost DNA shoes in collaboration with six local creatives from across Southeast Asia. It consists of six bold designs taking inspiration from the respective local identities of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Channeling childhood memories growing up in the Philippines and connecting his past with the present, contemporary artist Greg Guleserian AKA Egg Fiasco, built his design concept around video games, as seen in the unique sock-liner using design language that mimics that of computer games. Egg included pops of orange and gold against the olive heel and navy upper to represent in-game items, such as potions and elixir.
“The designs we worked on treated the shoe like a blank canvas, where we could apply elements of my work—jumbled patterns, textures, and bright color pops,” says Egg. “We wanted to do this while keeping Adidas’ design language and the wearability of the final product in mind, aiming to make a design that would work on pretty much anyone.”
Eman Raharno Jeman, known as Clogtwo, drew inspiration from Singapore’s futuristic landscape and the efficient, systemic ways of working—an inherent part of Singapore’s progressive identity. The graffiti artist and visual engineer applied an embroidered icon of a processor on the upper and a mechanized version of Singapore’s iconic Merlion scales at the heel.
“Instead of using heritage and tradition, I drew relation to mechanical components, wires, and gears to symbolize the people who run this ever-changing, ever-progressing machine island,” says Clogtwo. “A representation of my country, the processor is the smallest yet most powerful component in the computer. This is what I perceive Singapore to be: a state of the art, well-oiled, and always-in-motion nation.”
‘The designs we worked on treated the shoe like a blank canvas, where we could apply elements of my work—jumbled patterns, textures, and bright color pops.’
Inspired by the diversity and color in daily life in Indonesia, Yeri Afriyani, a self-trained fashion designer and founder of fashion brand Calla The Label, created a colorful pattern consisting of varying shapes, each representing the various personalities one would meet on the streets, with the different colors reflecting elements of the country.
“I see diversity and color everywhere in Indonesia. The blue in my design is derived from the oceans that surround us, while the green is inspired by the tropical rainforests that we are home to. The orange tinge reflects the color of the sand in our beaches,” explains Yeri Afriyani.
Wayang Kulit, otherwise known as shadow puppetry, is a significant part of Malaysia’s cultural identity and heritage. As an homage to the traditional art form, graphic design artist Jaemy Choong fused elements of Wayang Kulit with a modern color palette, in an old-meets-new design.
“I enjoy stories on quirky characters, ancient myths, and innovative execution. Wayang Kulit embodies all these things, and being a pop-culture fan, I weaved in two shadow puppet characters with hand gestures that symbolize peace and love,” says Jaemy.
Saigon-based visual artist Thanh Tung Le or Crazy Monkey merged unique design language and icons to bring a fresh and modern look to the Ultraboost DNA. He used influences from Vietnamese folk culture, Dong Ho paintings that bring three centuries of history, and Bat Trang Ceramics Village.
“This is my chance, as a Vietnamese artist, to put my knowledge into practice with a fashion-culture icon like Adidas to produce inspiring and unexpected products,” says Crazy Monkey. “I used pastel pink and green colors that are typically utilized in the Dong Ho folk painting line of Vietnam, along with winding details from Vietnam’s national flower, the lotus, and finally, iridescent clouds from traditional arts and craft.”
Graphic designer Tanit Likitthamarak celebrates the traditional and charming Thai wicker handicraft. He applied the intricate and sophisticated wickerwork pattern in black and white throughout the midsole and laces.
“I am proud to represent my country and those who love creating all types of art. Thai wickerwork is widely used in many local crafts. Therefore, Thai people are familiar with this pattern and can easily recognize as the Thai craft,” says Tanit. “I have used this pattern to create simple graphics and added more detail and color to reflect the vibrant Thai lifestyle.”
Each Ultraboost DNA City Pack design retails for ₱10,000.