A Sartorial City by adidas Originals
Last Saturday, adidas Originals celebrated an exclusive and momentous Gen Z pop-up party in Berlin, following the credo: “The past remixed. The future created. Define our new age of originality.” Local and international friends and brand ambassadors as well as live music acts, including Lil Yachty, Pajel, Juju, and others came together to celebrate the iconic brand just in time of their 50th anniversary.
The internet seems to birth a new copy-cat, whether in fashion, music, or art, every day – or, considering its pace, every hour. However, it has simultaneously also alienated the notion of originality. Often falsely misused, it does not necessarily imply that an idea, design, or object has to be groundbreaking by its very nature. Rather, it means there is a freshness to something that already exists. Originality solemnizes heritage and newly contextualizes seemingly dusty historical relics. Last Saturday, the three stripes company, or in this case trefoil company, built a pop-up city at a secret location in the German capitol. Celebrated with more than 700 exclusively invited friends and ambassadors of the brand, “made Originals Berlin” was a fusion of summer party with live acts, festival character, product drops, and selected partnerships. In collaboration with local Gen Z creators and partners, the brand gathering did not just function as a commemoration of adidas’s emblematic history, but as a first taste of what the brand’s future holds.
Guests convened at the East Side Gallery, where river boats, adorned with branded blue balloons, shuttled them from Friedrichshain to the adidas city location at Funkhaus, the former headquarters of GDR Broadcasting. Sailing along the Spree, we passed by perfectly sleek waterfront houses – or the reason why Berlin’s government tried to pass the Mietendeckel that was declared as unconstitutional a year later. My friend Shelly and I ponder over which apartment would be best to live and display art in, and whether this guy on the top floor is naked or just wearing baby pink swimming trunks. Arrived on-site we get off the boat and walk on suspiciously green grass where a wooden sauna with glass front (that shall not be used) is located. Funkhaus was completely transformed by the adidas team. Inside the long industrial halls, guests found an adidas branded beauty salon and a “Späti” stocked with a special adidas newspaper and customized sneakers that were dipped in blue and green paint on-site. After the paint dried and had formed an individual tie-dye pattern on each shoe, the sneakers could be picked up next to the Zola’s pizza store. A fish tank-style swimming pool, shimmering in watermelon, was placed in the center of the city and had an equally pink Bentley parked next to it. Pop culture references like these were ingrained in many of the attendees’ outfits. Next to the popular franchise models NMD V3, Superstar and Stan, the Samba football shoe was a likewise desired sneaker models of the evening. First launched in 1949, the recent Y2K craze has reignited the shoe’s prominence. The same night, adidas also raffled away 27 ZX8000 Ø27 – a collaboration between “Ø27 - Not Your Ordinary Kebab“ and adidas Originals – and dropped some of the limited LJUBAV x NMD_V3 sneakers. A limited amount of the latter was presented on a shiny white pedestal in a mini store – or oversized shoe box – and could be won through a ticket system at the ice cream parlor. Beside the mini store one could wait in line to get a beauty appointment at the in-house salon, which alongside tooth gems also offered more permanent treatments such as tattoos.
Guests were treated to far more than trainers and apparel products throughout the evening, and many in attendance flaunted self-crafted chunky pop art rings, courtesy of the adidas jewelry station. The rings came together in four steps — small acrylic trefoils were arranged on a metallic shelf, similarly to how sneakers are presented in an adidas store. After you chose a color, the trefoils were dipped in hot water, causing them to melt, making it possible to mold them around one’s finger and coat them in as many rhinestones possible to create one’s own Barbie moment to go. We were quite preoccupied for a while, although I’m not sure if it was ten minutes or an hour, having lost a sense of time at the 3pm–3am happening. The jewelry manufacture’s silvery kitchen counter appeared like a designer pharmaceuticals lab, particularly as it was also repurposed as a tray for the free unlimited Moscow Mules served that day. While, of course, no décor was edible, unlike the truffle fries and espresso martinis in blue logo cans opposite the lab. Our rings ended up too chunky and too wrinkly, even though some Depop girl might be able to sell them for 30 bucks each, labeled as a La Manso dupe. To stay up to date throughout the evening, we frequently checked adidas’s CONFIRMED app. As a CONFIRMED user and adiClub member one additionally gets priority access to curated collections and receives invites to other exclusive physical and digital events.
Originality also requires creativity, and the event provided ample opportunities for guests to explore their own creative sides. In the pharmacy close to the jewelry station, one could design their own adidas shirt with a print, in the same signature blue as the entire city, hand painted by a robot.
But the highlight of the “made Original Berlin” evening was the many live performances from a number of Berlin-based and international artists and DJs. Pajel performed his new song “So Wie Wir”, which simultaneously launched with adidas’s official “DFB” jersey for this year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar. $oho Bani and Domiziana also performed on the stage next to the pool until “The Factory” opened after a long-awaited countdown. The stage in the factory, separated in a different bunker-like room, hosted BHZ and Juju before one of the biggest names of the night, Lil Yachty, appeared. While the room was tinted in the, at this point, notorious adidas blue, which could also be Yves Klein’s blue, during BHZ’s performance, the “bunker” was glowing in a glaring red when Lil Yachty was on stage – behind them both, the gleaming trefoil logo. The night was capped off by WOLFRAM, who closed the party. Most people finished the night off with a strawberry slushy next to the pool, while the Austrian DJ performed his set.
The Gen Z event successfully introduced adidas Originals’s next chapter that weaves together sport and culture to create the future of lifestyle apparel and footwear. If “made Originals Berlin” was the aphorism under which the party took place, then it is without question adidas showed the intertwinement of the brand with music, pop culture, and streetwear, diversely influencing the past, present, and future.