Going Behind ASICS’ PFW Pop-up with the New GT-2160™ Silhouette

A two-part interview with Eriko Murakami and Kenichi Kawano explores how the brand is celebrating SportStyle in Paris.

Events 
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For the release of the GT-2160™, Japanese footwear brand ASICS hosted a week-long pop-up at Paris Fashion Week. Held in the city’s Marais district, the event gave visitors the chance to get up close with the new sneaker and experience the feeling of being “uplifted” like never before.

Inspired by the 2010 silhouettes of the GT-2000™ series, the recently revealed model landed on the scene as an emblem of classic ASICS running innovation. However, with its merging panels of bright and metallic hues that are also present in the brand’s vintage tech sneakers, the GT-2160™ signals a new era of the brand where sport meets style. Carefully developed by following the series’ functionality and design, it shows how the brand has cultivated new trends by harnessing sports technology to create a more fashionable, everyday sneaker.

To celebrate the cutting-edge SportStyle line, the brand invited the likes of Cecilie Bahnsen, Dime, AIREI to put their spin on the new GT-2160™. Meanwhile HAL STUDIOS® joined the group with its collaborative GEL-1130™ too. The fashion labels’ unique interpretations of the sneakers were unveiled for the first time at the event, highlighting the various possibilities of the silhouettes. As well as the booths of each collaborator, a sound installation was also set up at the venue where attendees could practice movement of the mind. This took place alongside performances from artists and DJs such as Nosaj Thing and Wondagurl.

In a two-part feature, Hypebeast goes behind the scenes with the person in charge of PR activations Eriko Murakami, discovering how the theme of “Nothing Feels Better Than Moving with ASICS” came to life in Paris.

Hypebeast: Tell us about the event and why it was so successful.
Eriko Murakami: The event consisted of three parts: an opening party with musicians, a pop-up of inline and collaborative items, and a brand experience zone. We were so happy that so many people came out and had a great time, we had an amazing response. We’ve been trying to connect with our consumers more culturally and emotionally and we believe this was one of the reasons in which we could deliver a successful event. We would love to continue to hold events in Paris and connect with our consumers more.

What was the purpose of the pop-up?
People’s mindsets are uplifted when they move, see, hear, or experience something. We wanted to recreate this at the event. For everyone to have a new experience through ASICS SportStyle, not just the items themselves.

What challenges were you faced with during the organization?
It was important for us to create this event not only for the brand, but for the collaboration partners. We initially found it difficult shortlisting the partners, but we decided that we wanted to bring in collaborators from all over the world such as Cecilie Bahnsen from Europe, Dime and AIREI from North America and HAL STUDIOS® from Oceania. From there, we had discussions on how to showcase their individual design expressions under one roof. It was a lot of hard work but in the end, it was worth it.

Why was the event held during Paris Fashion Week?
We believe that Paris Fashion Week is an event that is not only about fashion, but also the center of all culture. We thought it would be a great opportunity to connect with culture – which we see as one of the most important elements of ASICS SportStyle – and uplift people’s minds by offering an experience which moves your mind and body. Sharing this message at Paris Fashion Week means sharing it with the world.

What can we expect from ASICS SportStyle in the future?
We hope to continue to hold more events in the future that “Uplift” our customers in each country, so keep an eye out for them. ASICS SportStyle has Instagram accounts in various regions, so you should be able to find the relevant information from them once they pop-up.

From his work developing the GEL-LYTE EVO™ and GEL-KAYANO KNIT™, a second interview with ASICS SportStyle manager of design direction Kenichi Kawano unpacks the new GT-2160™. As well as reflecting on the work done to elevate the SportStyle identity, he delves further into the ASICS SportStyle brand message.

Could you start by telling us about the new GT-2160™ series?
Kenichi Kawano: The GT-2160™ is a shoe from the ASICS SportStyle category, which proposes sports technology as a lifestyle. The characteristics of the model are tailored to look less technical compared to other models from ASICS SportStyle. With its initial variety of colors and materials, consumers can find the perfect pair to match their individual style.

What does the line-up of sneakers look like?
In addition to the collaboration models presented, we also had a line-up of models in white, black, and gray with silver added to the base which are “core” colors inspired by the OG running series. In the future, we plan to release a version with an outdoorsy feel inspired by gorpcore fashion.

And what about its functional features?
This model is based on the GT-2060™, a running shoe released in 2011, and has been updated as a lifestyle sneaker, so the outsole material has been changed from the original (GT-2060™) with the expectation that it will be worn on the street. Also, the Trusstic structure that stabilizes the shoe in the midfoot sole was developed with walking in mind, rather than running. In other words, the GT-2060™, originally a running shoe, has been updated as a modern lifestyle sneaker.

So within the lifestyle-focused ASICS SportStyle line, these are considered items with a strong fashion element?
That’s right. I think the design is suitable for a variety of styles, especially those who are into fashion. Also, the construction allows you to feel the high level of functionality that ASICS prides itself on. I would urge as many people as possible to try the GT-2160™ on their feet and experience the benefits with their body too.

You visited Paris specially for the GT-2160™ event, why does the city resonate with you?
I visited Paris a few years ago for the launch of the GEL-KAYANO 5 360 collaboration model with Awake NY led by Angelo Baque, and compared to that time, I got the impression that there were more ASICS SportStyle shoes on the feet of people on the street. I was very happy to see that the efforts of our team members were reaching our customers.

Finally, do you have a message for the readers of Hypebeast?
We have many other items in the brand’s inline line as well as the GT-2160™, so I hope you will look around and try on the shoes you like. We have some exciting collaborations in the works, so please continue to look forward to the second half of 2023. Thank you very much.

To find out more about the collaborators at the Parisian showcase, stay tuned to Hypebeast for their exclusive interviews.

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