adidas is no stranger to collaborations — after all, they changed the game with their Run-DMC co-sign back in the 80s — but lately they’ve been moving away from musicians and sports stars to tap into ideas from other disciplines, including modern artist Daniel Arsham, pro skater and illustrator Mark ‘Gonz’ Gonzales, and even Transport for London, the operators of the London Underground tube system. Continuing this curative approach to collaboration, this season the Herzogenaurach brand introduce their ‘Gallery Series’ of artist collabs from across the globe, with the first stop in Japan with pop artist Keiichi Tanaami.
Born in 1936 as the son of a Tokyo textile worker, Tanaami grew up in the aftermath of World War II, and translates a lot of his experiences into his psychedelic work, mixing bright American-influenced pop imagery with nightmarish monsters and mutations of familiar iconography. As a contemporary of Andy Warhol, Tanaami holds an eye for both artistic and commercial expressions, so the esteemed artist’s partnership with such a large entity as adidas makes perfect sense. The Three Stripes commissioned the collection alongside a gallery show at Tokyo’s NANZUKA, which showcased the artist’s expertise in multiple media, from large-format paintings to sculpture, all depicting the signature Trefoil logo in different interpretations and contexts.
The capsule collection of apparel – “wearable art”, as Tanaami puts it – continues in a similar vein, taking familiar adidas pieces and splicing them with Tanaami’s garish and discomforting characters, inserting them into the Trefoil to uncanny effect. Keeping the overall colour palette limited to black and white makes Tanaami’s creations stand out even more on pieces like the rugby shirt and classic hoodie, while keeping them safely in wearable territory.
A collaboration in the truest sense of the word, the Keiichi Tanaami for adidas Originals collection will be available instore and online from the 21st of March.