When I started this project,
I was … nervous. I had no idea what to expect. There was so much stuff about “They’re going to film this
and they’re going to do that,” and “blah blah blah blah blah.” And, like, I was scared! I didn’t really know what to expect. And, honestly, to meet all you guys,
to get to know you, and to feel comfortable
to talk to you and to be myself in front of you, is like,
it’s a massive thing for me. I want to hug you. I want to hug you, too! Group hug! Group hug!
Group hug! There’s something about shoes
that we have a connection with. When you wear them,
they become broken and dirty, and they pick up all these marks
and all these stories alongside them as you wear them. I’m really into the process of wearing. I think if you can take your products,
and especially shoes, on some sort of journey with you, and you feel like they have
a part in your life… that’s what I want to try
and get across. I was always looking at shoes being inspired by design
and aesthetics. A good friend of mine
I was working with, he was customizing shoes. I was kind of taken by it. I didn’t know that there was
a world like that out there. I have no room in my mind
for anything other than shoes. Balance is a shape
that’s comfortable to me. Or…maybe, I think… I think about shoes all the time. I dropped out of college
when I was 20. I started working
at a local cobbler shop. I was told that I was good with my hands
but bad at customer service… and I got fired from that job. When I was 26 years old,
I opened a shop in Kokubunji, Tokyo. As a cobbler,
I repair shoes for my customers. But I also enjoy reconstructing
their shoes and adding my own style
with a new design and fit. I like architecture. So I enjoy walking around Shibuya,
checking out the buildings. Some people say that shoemaking
and architecture are alike. They both involve design,
structure, durability. I’m interested in all of these things. I’m Helen Kirkum. I’m a footwear designer and artist
based here in London. I work on mostly recycled footwear, deconstructing and reconstructing
old, secondhand shoes. I’m always taking pictures
of people’s shoes. The way they tie their laces,
all those sort of things. When I’m on the tube, I try and draw
little silhouettes of people. I just sketch them as much as I can
until they get off. It stops when the person is gone. There’s always something
creative going on and something unusual. So if I feel stuck with what to do, it’s a nice way to express yourself and get out of your comfort zone
a little bit. Yeah, you never know what to expect. My process is definitely about playing, and I have to keep myself
in that mind-set, because if I get too worked up
about something, then the product isn’t going to feel
so authentic in the end. So, yeah, I think just mess around
and see what you can make. In my early childhood, I would break toys,
and they would stay broken. As I got older and I was interested
in how things came apart, I would break them and fix them. I was quite badly dyslexic, didn’t really fare
very well at school, and left quite early. And then my girlfriend at the time
got pregnant. It’s probably the best thing
that happened to me. I was one of a few people
that started the pioneering of this style of customization:
destroying and rebuilding. If I see something
and I have a vision, I want to get to that vision. It’s just finding the outlet. I’ve got all these ideas.
I just want to knock them out. Looking through my notebook,
“I want this, I want that!” You don’t understand
how my brain works. All of a sudden
you’ve got like 15,000 ideas. Having kids was a blessing because it forced me to be driven
and to have a goal. People study design and stuff, they study to design to a brief
or for other people. I’ve never done that. I’ve always designed for myself,
for my loves and my likes. I enjoy creating for myself. And if people like it,
then that’s a bonus. The Campus was so synonymous
in the ’80s, and it became
like a kind of cult shoe. It’s got cues from basketball
and from skate, and it really combines
all those elements to make such a classic shoe. It’s iconic because it’s about
being free, being expressive. It’s about the mind-set
or the personality of the person that wears it. MakerLab is a destination
where we welcome all creators who bring their ideas to life. The platform
is about giving a window into what it takes to make a shoe and inspire designers out there
to want to be a part of it. The goal was to go from ideation all the way to manufacturing
in a very compact timeline. That’s why we chose
the Campus 80s, the perfect canvas
for transformation. We picked three designers with three
totally different approaches to one
very iconic piece of footwear. MakerLab is basically
everything you could imagine. You can embroider,
you can heat press, laser cut. You’ve got the fabrics.
You’ve got the meshes. You’ve got the machines,
just everything. To be able to be there with all
the different types of machinery, it just opens up
so many possibilities. It’s just surreal. What I was really interested in
when I started working on the project was how you can take something
that’s so classic and adapt it and play with it
but keep it iconic. Each of them have answered this
in slightly different ways. They all have
a very different creation process. Helen comes from a very pure area
of what she represents. The creation process for her is exploration
until it almost feels right. Once I have an idea in my mind, I can just go for it
and I can get on with it. My brain is trying to do
like a hundred things at once. It’s quite useful for this process. Alex is interesting
because he has this vast knowledge of sneakers
and the sneaker industry, and has a passionate love
of it all. And everything he touches,
he wants to bring in the influences of the products that he loves
and wants to be part of. I’m always buzzing with ideas. Always trying to seek perfection. Some people might say
it’s a bit annoying. And then Shun is
a very, very thoughtful character. It’s interesting watching him sit
for 30 minutes just looking at a shoe, and then all of a sudden you hear
from his translator, “He’s ready.” And then, okay! Deep down, for the balance of shoes,
I want to be consistent, like the causal relationship
in mathematics. Day one, we set out who we were,
what we were trying to achieve, and how they could be part
of making that happen. And then, set them free. When we first got there,
it was all still like a little bit of a mystery. We kind of knew
we’re going to make a shoe, and that was about as much information
as we had. I thought I was just making one shoe. And then I get there,
and then they’re telling me I can make as many shoes as I like. Then I start panicking, because I want
to make as many shoes as I like. When I was asked
to customize the Campus, I was actually a bit worried, because the Campus
is a perfectly designed shoe with great functionality,
down to each stitch. So I figured I needed
to make something imperfect. It was a totally open canvas. We didn’t want to narrow them down. We wanted to see where
their processes took them first. When I arrived, I had no idea
what I was going to do. It all starts from the product itself. I take an old shoe.
I take it apart and make a new shoe. Everything I do, my work has
that kind of playful element. It’s quite spontaneous,
quite free. And everything that I’m making
is a product of what I learned yesterday. We’ve never in our time
seen stripes folded down onto the tooling of shoes. That’s why you’ve got me in here. I had like eight concepts written down with a mood board and pictures
and images and fabrics. Very fast, we were like, right,
actually we need to kind of like… just forget those eight ideas. Lock it down to like two. So I found this shoe called a Compass. It’s kind of like a modern boat shoe
that was made in the ’80s. I was like,
“I want to do this one!” And then I did a bakery shoe. For a really short period of time
before Adi Dassler started Adidas, he was a baker. And that kind of resonated with me. I just started focusing my energies
on lots of different things. Then my brain is just gone like… Narrowing down is definitely something
that I’m not very good at. There was one that was really cool,
and it was an interesting concept where I had these triple tongue layers,
and it felt a bit safe. So I tried to go for the one
that felt more authentic and more real
and what the project was about. I didn’t have prior knowledge
of the “shoe design” process It’s not something I usually do. But I came here, so I might as well
do something I’ve never done before. I wanted to defy their expectations. Each of them had two or three options
that they wanted to get in, and so we started to refine
each of those areas, talking about, “Hey, how do we bring these products
that you want to imagine to life?” It really gave us a chance for everybody to see
what each other were doing. We could talk to each other
and see each other’s work and bounce ideas off each other. It was really helpful. Helen and Shun would give their feedback
and be very honest. You know, you can read people’s faces. You know, “All right, he wants to do
a baker’s shoe based on a pretzel.” You know, like, “This guy’s crazy!” With each creator,
it’s a constant dialogue. What is your world today
and what do we need to do? It’s getting them to open up that world, and then figuring out
the communication tools. It’s the only way we can really
be successful. If you understand the design process, you can almost communicate
through the product itself, touching things
and pointing at things. We understand
what each other are saying, even if we’re not speaking
the literal same language. I can’t speak English, but I understood that they were
trying to support me. So it made everything feel easier. -So, leather.
-Leather. Leather. Leather, leather, leather. I work in the studio by myself. So I’m very in control
of everything that I do. It is a challenge to create something that I know is going to be
on a bigger scale. What I want to try and do
is put the logo on the top, so it’s a like a little bit damaged. Okay, that’s going to be
a challenge for us, because this is in a 3D dimension, but I think we can achieve this. Yeah?
That would be really cool. I have never experienced
such a creative environment where everyone is friendly
and shares information with one another to create new
and interesting products. What we could do is we could do
almost like a stitch-and-turn. Like that. That could become
a waterproof material here, and then we could seam seal it. We tried to enhance the thinking around what the story
of their products were and why they were doing it. It’s really important that we grab
the why from these creators so it enables us as the creation team to better build the product
towards their vision or their interpretation
of what the Campus could be. Let’s roll with it, and we’ll figure out
what we can do with it. Cool. The final day,
they had to get everything out and everything over to the factory, and then the whole team
shipped out to Vietnam. Arriving in Vietnam, for a start,
was amazing because I’ve never been there before. It’s quite overwhelming experiencing a new culture
and a new way of life. It was a new experience for me, just the hustle and bustle
of the place. I was in awe, because I just thought, “If this was London,
London would be gridlocked.” It just was such a cool experience. I don’t know how to describe it. I just thought that
the whole place was amazing. I love the food and the smells, and it just goes from sky-rises
to markets and street food. I was really excited to be there. When I arrived in Vietnam,
I experienced a lot of culture shock. But I thought it was a very nice place. It was a very nice experience. When you see sneakers,
they’re so shiny and disconnected
from the process of making. No one ever sees the behind-the-scenes. No one sees who makes the shoe. How many hands touch the product,
how many minds are behind each point. It gives the product a sense of purpose. It’s very human. I was surprised
by the craftsmen’s skills. Each person held different positions,
and everyone was professional. I was very impressed. As a similar craftsman,
I have respect for them. How do you interpret your
design language into a mass product? It’s just difficult to take something
from this to this. Translating the design from
the prototype into the final product is the absolute hardest part. These stripes,
I want it to look like a residue. Look like the glue. Because this looks like
you’ve put a stripe on. And this looks more like
absorbed in the material, and I think that is what is important. I have to stick to my guns
on some stuff because otherwise
it’s not going to be mine. Really, the first week
was about dreaming. But it changes from dream into reality. I was submitting a design
as I land in Vietnam. I’m like three days behind
the other designers. They’ve already kind of locked down
their samples. That was quite a low moment for me. I get there, and then I see the sample. And I was like, “I really like this.
I really do like it.” But it just wasn’t crazy enough for me. I wanted to push my boundaries
and go in another direction. I was going to go for something exciting
that I hadn’t even seen yet. They had machines
that I don’t usually have access to, like 3D printers. And the things I said
would be lost in translation, like the broken telephone game. Designers very rarely
get this opportunity to understand the process
of making the footwear they love. This journey of what it takes
to make a shoe. It’s not one size fits all. It’s not that simple. This week has been super emotional. Missing my family, being homesick. This is not my normal life. I’m fully just letting go
and it’s … scary. I had a bit of a breakdown
at the factory when I received one of the samples. I just suddenly had a moment
of realization that like, “This has got my name on it!” It’s an Adidas shoe that’s coming out
that I’ve collaborated on. That was the moment when everything
kind of clicked into place. I saw when they sandwiched
these shoes in the mold, the sole has this kind of fringe
around the edge. I just loved it. I was like,
“We need to have it like that!” And everyone was like,
“Oh, Helen, please, no!” But that’s how it had to be. There was a lot of roadblocks
that we had to overcome, manufacturing techniques
that had to be changed. But they all say,
“We have a problem with this. We can’t do this because of this.” But then, everyone sits down
and like, “This is what we could do. We could do it like this.
Let’s experiment with this.” My shyness made me anxious
to meet new people. But everyone was
so friendly and helpful. It made me want to open up more. Making a shoe is hard. But Adidas allowed us
to make mistakes and fail, and nobody said “No”
to any idea that you had. We’ve learned so much about
how we can work with creatives. It’s so nice to have people that really understand
what you’re trying to do and understand your vision, allowing you to do it
and being quite free. They’ve really tried
to make everything possible. All the people that work in the factory
were so amazing, and they really pushed themselves
to do a lot of things that they wouldn’t usually do
in normal manufacture. They had to add a lot of processes
to get it real. As soon as they understood
what I was trying to do… Once they were like,
“So hang on, you want it like that?” And I was like,
“Yeah, exactly like that. That’s perfect!” And then they would make it. When you step back, take everything in, everybody is here
because they believe in us three. I think that’s the thing
from this experience that makes me feel so lucky. It’s a testament to all of us,
what we did with this project. We overcame so many hurdles and we got to the end with a product. I’m grateful because they’ve given me
such an amazing experience that I will hold
for the rest of my life. Everybody that was a part of the project
has been so invested. They’ve cared so much about
what we want to do, our vision, our product. Everybody really believed
in what we were doing. I’ve never collaborated
with such a large brand. I felt honored to be one of three
from all over the world. I was really happy. Is that Daddy’s shoe? Wow, that looks pretty cool. Yeah, I love it.
I just love it. I love it so much. Thank you.
Oh, my God, look at the label! Yay!
Oh, my God! Oh, they color-matched that
so nicely. Ah, looks so good! Everything is as authentic
as we could possibly make it. It’s not some fake bits of thread
that we’ve added in there, and is not the fake pattern shape. Everything is real. It looks amazing! It’s so lovely. It’s made as I asked. I’m so happy and grateful. Could you hold on a second?
Just a second. This shoe transformed
during the process, but it turned out to be
exactly what I imagined. It’s given me that confidence
within myself to do what I want to do
and try and make a living from that. So, yeah, it’s great to be back. I love it. I put everything that I could
into the product, and I hope that people can see that. I can’t wait for it to come out,
to be honest. I hope people are going to like it. I used to think
that I’d never use English. I’ve operated only in Tokyo
since opening my shop. But now, I’d rather not stay
in a small Japanese market. I’d like to learn English
and go out into the world. People tend to think that being creative
is making something from scratch. But actually,
a lot of creations are made by putting your own twist
on what already exists. It’s quite scary to take something apart
that you like and change it. It’s just about not being too precious,
and to experiment. There’s so much power in just
having a go and being creative, and seeing what you can make. Just try.

adidas Campus 80s MakerLab Documentary
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3 thoughts on “adidas Campus 80s MakerLab Documentary

  • October 9, 2019 at 4:19 pm
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    MIS FAVORITOS ADIDAS LO MEJOR EN MARCA DEPORTIVA SALUDOS DESDE COLOMBIA

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  • October 9, 2019 at 4:40 pm
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    Colombia

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  • October 9, 2019 at 4:41 pm
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    Hagan un video en español de cómo saber nosotros si sus productos son originales

    Reply

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