adidas Spezial SS21 Is a Glance at Styles From Years Gone By

Curator Gary Aspden speaks on the inspiration behind the collection.

Fashion 
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After linking up with British band New Order for a unique Fall/Winter capsule last year, adidas Spezial returns this season with an apparel and accessories collection that continues to draw on styles and design details of years gone by, and rework them into modern hybrid garments.

Curated and designed by Gary Aspden, Spezial has become renowned for its utilisation of the rich adidas archives, borrowing references from years gone by in each of its collections. For Spring/Summer 2021, Aspden continues this trend by taking notes and inspiration from the 1970s through to the early ‘90s, and mixing them with a distinctly ‘80s color palette.

“The neons on the mood board led us to thinking about an array of ideas from adidas’ ‘80s catalogues and the adoption of graphic-led surf tees by British football casuals, to the color palette of clothing worn by original Italian Paninaros,” Aspden tells HYPEBEAST. “The collection doesn’t overtly reflect the references of its inspirations, which I feel is positive — I always believe we should glance at the past rather than stare at it”.

As is always the case with Spezial, the collection is made up of both apparel and footwear, as well as accessories. The footwear comprises five unique silhouettes, including a mix of new hybrids, as well as tweaked versions of lesser-known silhouettes from the adidas archives.

The Marathon 86 — arguably the stand-out shoe from the collection — is bold with fluorescent yellow suede and textile upper with navy stripes, but has been updated with additional suede overlays and a deep red line that adds depth to the EVA midsole.

“We had considered doing a version of the Marathon 86 in earlier seasons,” continues Aspden. “But It was a tough shoe to merchandise cohesively in a small range. I was adamant I wanted to do something with that shoe so needed to think about the products they could sit amongst”.

adidas’ city series is also visited with a revamped take on the Malmo silhouette. The updated Malmo Net SPZL trainer takes inspiration from an ultra-rare 1976 version of the Malmo that used a nylon mesh upper. Rebranded with the adidas Spezial graphic on the tongue and heel, the sneaker is finished with a traditional gum sole and uses the iconic yellow and blue colorway that takes inspiration from the Swedish flag.

Apparel is about as spring-ready as it comes. Led by the Aldrington Anorak that was inspired by an outdoor jacket first popularised in Japan almost 30 years ago, the piece features signature “Neon Pink” panelling, a half-waisted drawcord and zip pullers. A “Deep Red” Todmorden smock also stands out with its oversized chest branding and array of drawcord pockets.

“The collection doesn’t overtly reflect the references of its inspirations, which I feel is positive — I always believe we should glance at the past rather than stare at it”.

“We sent a prototype of the Todmorden smock from this range to Liam Gallagher and he has been seen out and about in on a number of occasions recently,” says Aspden. “He has a very healthy collection of smocks so the fact he loves Todmorden suggests we have done something right”.

“The Aldrington Anorak takes inspiration from a vintage adidas anorak that was apparently popular in Japan,” he continues. “We wanted it to still have a generous ‘90s fit but with a slightly reduced volume in its pattern and a drawstring through the back of it”.

Accompanying the collection is a short film shot by longtime Spezial collaborators &SON, alongside stills from music photographer Kevin Cummins. The film features an outdoor shoot in the Cotswolds cut into footage of Liverpool musician John Power recording a new acoustic track in London’s legendary Abbey Road music studios.

You can take a look at the full SS21 offering in the lookbook above, with the collection set to drop on July 22 via both the adidas webstore and other retailers, including Well Gosh.

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