Jeremy Scott for Adidas: Slave to Fashion

These aren’t just your regular hi-tops; designer Jeremy Scott has especially created these new ‘fresh kicks’ for Adidas. Scott’s previous collaborations with the sports brand have seen him adorning wings and teddy bear heads to the front of the sneakers, which come in an array of hyper colours. But this time around Scott has taken a more radical route with his vision, in the form of a bright orange plastic cuff. Designed to look like a shackle, with a chain connecting the trainer and the cuff, on each ankle these trainers are causing quite the stir.
The shackle immediately brings to mind slavery and prisons; neither of which are very fashionable I have to say. The violent transatlantic slave trade is a deeply upsetting topic for many people, so what is Scott trying to achieve with his latest creation?

There’s no doubt in my mind that Jeremy Scott is making a statement about the enslavement of human beings in today’s society. Why else would he of use a shackle-like ankle cuff with all of its implications? But what baffles me most is why did Adidas green light these high tops in the first place? It seems extremely odd to me that a group of intelligent people would have thought these shackled trainers would be a good idea.

Scott appears to have designed a pair of trainers that actually carry a deep social statement about the enslaving nature of consumerism. From a creative point of view his vision is mocking the allegiance people pledged to brands such as Adidas, and his point of view is both understandable, and in my opinion, one which deserves an applause. What is most shocking however, is that by selling these as the hot new must have trainers, Adidas are actually revealing a great deal about how it views its customers. Adidas are taking the term ‘slave to fashion’ quite literally. It’s not news to us that brands seek to turn customers into “brand evangelists”, encouraging them to avidly show off their products and thus increase sales, but when a brand suggests its customers wear a shackled shoe the message is no longer as empowering as Scott’s, the message is, pardon the pun, utterly enslaving. Adidas wants to make its buyers slaves, and to the younger people who these trainers are aimed at, I ask whether or not in this economy anyone needs to be more enslaved by material goods, psychologically or indeed, in this case physically.

I feel that this is a shoe that belongs in a gallery somewhere, as part of a thought provoking artistic collection, rather than on the shelves of a high street brand and the feet of our youths.

Sophie Maguire

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