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Eddie Cruz, Kevin Poon and Edison Chen Discuss the Undefeated x Nike "Bring Back" Packs and Street Fashion

Earlier this year, a collaboration between two of the sneaker industry’s most recognizable names — Undefeated and Nike — resulted in a duo of “Bring Back” packs that featured both the classic Dunk and high-performance Hyperdunk 2012. The “Bring Back” and “Bring Back 2003″ packs showcased both sneakers in beige and olive drab, respectively and were some of the better sneaker pairings to release so far this year. For more insight into each collaboration, we sat down with Eddie Cruz of Undefeated at the recent re-opening of JUICE Taipei to discuss the retailer/brand’s collaborations, the reason for a Nike Dunk/Hyperdunk combo, and a possible expansion into Asia. Meanwhile, we also managed to catch up with JUICE’s Edison Chen and Kevin Poon for a group chat on the current state of street fashion, CLOT’s various collaborations, and the differences between the North American and Asian scenes. Read on for the interview in its entirety and let us know your thoughts below.


The story of the “Bring Back 2003″ Pack, the latest return of “Bring Pack” and a new Jordan UNDFTD…

What’s the story for Undefeated x Nike “Bring Back 2003″ Pack?

Eddie: It’s a shoe that Nike gave us when we opened our second shop in Santa Monica, in California. They didn’t let us sell it; they gave us 48 pieces to just let our staff have and maybe seed to a few friends, so we thought it would be interesting to do our own shoe that never released to the public but was very much sought-after. It was an easy idea, a no-brainer. It was easy to execute but then bring in the Hyperdunk because it was kind of like the son of the dunk, so it just made total sense.

We’ve seen the white/beige Dunk earlier this year. How did a second colorway come about?

Eddie: It’s just a color that we actually…I’d like to say we invented it. We tried to develop a color that no one else was using in a specific way and Nike was able to do that so we’re just kind of synonymous with that color. And it’s inspired by the military obviously.

Will we see another Jordan UNDFTD type of collaboration again?

Eddie: Good question. The answer right now is no, but we’re definitely gonna beg to do one because we have a good idea. Something’s in the works.

“We thought it would be interesting to do our own shoe that never released to the public but was very much sought-after. It was easy to execute but then bring in the Hyperdunk because it was kind of like the son of the dunk, so it just made total sense.”

Eddie Cruz speaks about the story for Undefeated x Nike “Bring Back 2003″ Pack


An UNDFTD store in Asia, why the Hyperdunk & how the relationship with JUICE came about…

It’s been five years since UNDFTD opened the Tokyo store, have you ever thought about opening another store in Asia?

Eddie: Yeah, 100%.

EDC: We’re looking at opportunities to bring UNDFTD to Asia but we want to make it organic and a lot of the hip kids know what UNDFTD is, but we want a more mass public to know so we’re working on some projects right now that you’ll see at the end of this year or early next year that will bring UNDFTD to the forefront of more consumers. Today is just one step of that; UNDFTD is our idols, I mean we used to want to fly to LA just to go to UNDFTD, so I believe that a lot of people look up to me and Kevin and what we aspire to and what we like, so I think in due time that an UNDFTD branch will open in our region.

Eddie: If we do it, we’ll do it with Ed.

With both “Bring Back” packs, you included a Hyperdunk to go with each Dunk. What was the reasoning behind this? Do you feel that sneaker enthusiasts need to embrace those shoes?

Eddie: Yeah, they should embrace those shoes and I think a lot of people have. What I notice happening is what kids are wearing on the court – the shoes are so good now that you could wear them off the court in a fashionable way. So you know, the Hyperdunk being the son of the Dunk, it just kind of made sense to do it but it also looks good off the court. It also acts as a lifestyle shoe as well. Kids seem to be collecting them, because whenever we have Hyperdunks they sell out. So that’s telling me something. People look to us for lifestyle, not necessarily on court, technical shoes.

How did your relationship with JUICE come about?

Eddie: I met Edison and Kevin I would say about 8-9 years ago in Tokyo. I was at an exhibition, I met them and we have a lot of mutual friends. Edison moved to LA, we became friends in LA. Kevin and I have known each other from the scene; we have a lot of mutual friends, so everything I do, I like to have a relationship with you and it has to come from a real place and that’s what this is. It’s kind of like a family. We don’t really think business so much, it’s more lifestyle and culture and it comes from a real place.


On current trends and their impact on the future & the most enjoyable collaboration either has taken part in…

Any current streetwear trends that you think will have a huge impact on the future?

KP: I think now it’s interesting because brands are starting to be a bit more progressive with how they make their clothes and still keeping it friendly on the price. So maybe that’s a trend that will impact streetwear in the future. Not really price-driven, but like, before there were great quality clothes for great prices.

EDC: I just feel like, what is street fashion now? I don’t know what street fashion is. Is Givenchy street fashion? The lines are blurred. I feel like a lot of the stuff we sell in the store is called maybe “contemporary” fashion. But I feel like there’s a more edited look in street fashion now, if you want to still call it street fashion – I just call it fashion. It’s a new culture or a new movement. There are people wearing kilts; I’m wearing this kind of weird kilt thing today. Is that street? I don’t know. But it’s what we like, it’s what we do, it’s what we wear. But there are still kids who love the tees and the shorts and stuff like that, so I feel like it’s grown into a bigger thing that we can’t just generalize it as street fashion, you know? Some people are wearing Tom Ford suits with UNDFTD kicks, you know? Is that street? Yeah! But no. You know what I mean? I just feel like it’s all melting together and we should stop labeling things, it’s just more like fashion. Fashion-driven.

Eddie: I’m finding that kids want functional, interactive, technology-inspired clothing. Look at what Nike’s doing with the Lunars. People want to wear something that’s comfortable and functional that might possibly work with their technology. Like with Google, people have inserted that into their gear now, so if you’re asking me what do I think is happening, I see that — technology collaborating with clothing.

Out of all the collaborative projects that UNDFTD or CLOT has taken part in, which have been the most enjoyable?

Eddie: From my perspective, everything we’ve done has been on a small level. We’ve done a couple of tees and a hat together, but we’ve never quite done a capsule and we have something coming out soon.

EDC: We have something coming out at the end of the summer, so it’s gonna be interesting. We have a bunch of sneakers, we got shoes, tees, pants and shirts and stuff but for me, I think the best thing that has come out of UNDFTD and CLOT is our friendship. Our relationship, I mean. Like he said before, when we work, it might take a long time for us to do something because we’re not putting work first. We go watch movies, we eat and it just organically becomes something. We’ll be like, “Yo, this is cool, this is what we want to do,” and all of a sudden it becomes a reality, so…

Eddie: Yeah, like we’ll just do a T-shirt because we’re just talking. As he said, it’s more of a friendship. But this time we put our minds to it, so the new capsule coming out is quite extensive, quite well thought-out. It was just, “Hey, let’s do a tee. Do you wanna do a hat?” because we’re just hanging out. We’re not really thinking of making money off each other and we’re not doing that with this capsule. It’s just something that made sense. UNDFTD is a sport-inspired brand as interpreted by CLOT, so I thought that was really interesting. This capsule is more focused, as I said, it’s sport-inspired, but as told by these guys coming from a street to high fashion perspective so it’s something that UNDFTD has never dived into. So it’s going to be interesting to see how it’s received when it drops.

KP: The most enjoyable is yet to come.

“I think now it’s interesting because brands are starting to be a bit more progressive with how they make their clothes and still keeping it friendly on the price. So maybe that’s a trend that will impact streetwear in the future.”

Kevin Poon speaks about current street fashion trends that will have a big impact on the future.


Approaching collaborations, about the sneaker culture and scene in Asia & direction/strategy of keeping a fresh outlook for the store…

What brands have you considered to collaborate with?

Eddie: We’ve all done collaborations with many brands, so, I don’t know. Hard question.

EDC: We collaborate with everybody. Right behind you, there’s Brooklyn We Go Hard, there’s Bleu de Paname – we collaborate with them all. I think me and Kevin are in a very lucky position because we’re supposedly the forefront leaders in China, right? A lot of people look to us not only for collaborating but breaking through their brands, so we tend to like to work with everybody. We’re usually pretty easy to get along with.

Eddie: I just try to work with companies that are coming from a real place. Something that started organically, from the streets, from hip-hop culture usually – just a company that’s keeping it real, you know? If you’re asking me who I wanna work with, I’d like to work with Odd Future and that’s something that very well might happen. We’ll see.

What sneaker would you personally choose to “bring back” (that hasn’t already been retro’ed)?

Eddie: I’d love to bring back the Air Jordan 4 we did in the same exact color and everything and sell it because we didn’t get to sell that. That was just a giveaway. So that’s something I’d like to do.

What do you guys think of the sneaker culture and scene in Asia?

EDC: Street culture I believe in Asia is much crazier than in America. America is full of diehard fans, but I think in Asia everyone has a small sneaker fetish. You can go to Hong Kong, you can see a whole street of just sneakers, you know? We’re doing an Asia release for Frank151, it’s a book and we talk to two or three of the craziest sneaker collectors. They have warehouses and warehouses full of sneakers. I believe that there are sneaker fans but they take it to a new level in Asia. They spend a lot of time not only collecting them but trading sneakers and selling sneakers. I think it’s a whole culture that people, especially young kids aspire to be a part of even if they can’t be.

Eddie: In America that goes on but in the little time I’ve spent out here, I noticed everybody rocking their kicks. Some people are real protective about it in America.

As one of the popular select shops in Taiwan, how and what’s your direction/strategy to keep a fresh outlook for the store?

EDC: Kevin and I travel around the world all the time. Kevin goes to a lot of trade shows; we may go with a lot of interesting people. And we just pick up on things you know? It’s just part of us I guess, you know? It’s just in our environment.

KP: I think we’re really kind of natural-born, like to curate things you know? When we see different brands that are doing well, we wanna get involved, wanna bring it to the store and just try to infuse all our different tastes into the place. Hopefully people like it.

Eddie: I know this question’s not about me, but from a marketing perspective, this is the first brand and company that has penetrated into the United States. There’s nothing else penetrating. So…

EDC: We’ll work hard to penetrate deeper.

Eddie: They’re in. And that’s not an easy thing to do, so that’s my perspective.

“Street culture I believe in Asia is much crazier than in America. America is diehard fans, but I think in Asia everyone has a small sneaker fetish. You can go to Hong Kong, you can see a whole street of just sneakers, you know? We’re doing an Asia release for Frank151, it’s a book and we talk to two or three of the craziest sneaker collectors.”

Edison Chan speaks about the sneaker culture and scene in Asia.

Date: /Author: Staff
Category:  Fashion/Tags:  Nike, Undefeated, Edison Chen, Juice, Style, Kevin Poon, Eddie Cruz
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