With Reebok‘s Classic Leather 30th Anniversary in full-swing, and many of the collaborative model’s now out in the wild, we caught up with Yusuki Ichikawa of Head Porter to discuss the brand’s collaborative effort with Reebok. Clad in the brand’s signature MOMBASA print, the Head Porter Plus x Reebok Classic Leather 30th Anniversary is one of the bolder designs we’ve seen on the classic silhouette. The design may be wild but the process behind it is quintessentially Head Porter Plus. Read the quick interview below to get Ichikawa’s thoughts.
The concept of Head Porter Plus and how it was translated to the sneaker…
For those who don’t know, can you introduce yourself?
My name is Yusuke Ichikawa. I have been working with various specialty stores such as NIKE 1LOVE, the Nike NSW, and then I moved over to HEAD PORTER thanks to NSW by Head Porter Plus collaboration I worked on previously. I have been taking care of sales and planning at Head Porter for the last two years.
How did you get involved in the collaboration?
I gave Reebok my vision and they ran with it. I chose the upper’s fabrics very carefully and wanted to preserve the elegance and the color of each part. I was happy when I saw the sample, which was very close to the image I had in mind.
How would you describe the concept of Head Porter Plus and how it was translated to the sneaker?
I basically translated HEAD PORTER’s standard bag series to the sneaker. I described Head Porter Plus’s brand concept as a combination of “SIMPLE & FINE.”
How does Reebok differ from other footwear brands in your opinion?
Reebok has such a rich history. I think they do a good job in connecting with their customers through the ages, as shown with their iconic models like the Freestyle, Classic Leather, and the Pump Fury.
“I gave Reebok my vision and they ran with it. I chose the upper’s fabrics very carefully so as not to lose the elegance and the color of each part.”
Yusuke Ichikawa speaks about how he got involved in the collaboration
The first experiences with Reebok…
What was your first experiences with Reebok?
My first Reeboks were the original Pump Furys. I was shocked at the Pump system, which allowed wearers to adjust the fit by pumping air into a bladder that surrounded the foot.
Having collaborated with different brands and products, how does footwear differ?
The approach is similar… This is our first time collaborating with a brand of such history. Both our brands’ are committed to quality, so it did not take much time to execute.
What are your thoughts on the CL and some of the collaborations that have been released this year?
I haven’t actually seen every other collaboration but from the ones I’ve seen, I like the designs, colors and attention to detail.
How do you feel about being chosen in the Reebok Certified Network?
I am really happy we were invited to participate in this special project.
How do you usually approach conceptualizing ideas for design?
As a store based in Harajuku, we are always striving to make products that customers want and appreciate. We also want to make products that will last and that are stylish enough for our customers.
Can you talk about the design of your shoe and inspiration?
We selected our popular leopard pattern for the upper with good texture, and we chose the original model’s side stripe design to bring back the look and pattern of that era. We just kept things simple and elegant by choosing the same color throughout the shoe tongue and side logo. Since it’s a collaboration, we put the Head Porter Plus logo on the insoles.
Any last words?
We hope people can see the shoe in-person and really feel the quality of the materials used.
“My first Reeboks were the original Pump Furys. I was shocked at the Pump system, which allowed wearers to adjust the fit by pumping air into a bladder that surrounded the foot.”
Yusuke Ichikawa speaks about how his first experiences with Reebok