Delight In Every Step: How The Reebok x Adsum Club C Was Born

HIP Delight In Every Step: How The Reebok x Adsum Club C Was Born

This Autumn, New York based menswear label Adsum have worked with Reebok for the second time to create a Winter appropriate take on the ever-popular Club C silhouette. We caught up with Pete Macnee (Founder/Designer) and Christian Rice (Partner/Creative Director) of Adsum alongside Reebok’s Global Collaborations Manager Leo Gamboa to learn more about the chocolate inspired design.

Firstly, how are things going during these turbulent 6 months? 

PETE: I think it’s been tough for everyone individually. I had my first child April 1 when things really kicked off with COVID in NYC, Tommy Wan was isolated in his apartment solo and Matt’s GF got COVID. All that being said, Adsum continues to feel the support from our customers which we really appreciate. The Archive Sale was really successful and it’s something we’ll build on.

CHRISTIAN: Turbulent is the right word. This business is a lot, to borrow a phrase from Pete, like “trying to take a sip from a firehose” normally; so all this this has just taken that feeling to the next level. So much changes day to day but we’re rolling with the punches and remain optimistic about what’s ahead.

What lessons have you taken from isolation and the current state of the world recently?

PETE: Don’t take things for granted. We’re all in this together.

CHRISTIAN: From a business side, I look back and am just thankful for the team we have and the work we’ve done before all this happened. It proves that it’s the work that’s done in the background, that nobody sees, that matters the most. From a personal side it just crystallized what is truly important and what is trivial. As one of my college friend used to say incessantly, “Health is wealth”.

You both collaborated on the Pyro model not too long ago, how did you guys first connect?

PETE: I met Leo through a mutual friend and he was working at Packer at the time. He came by a sample sale event that we had at a rental unit in Soho and we stayed in touch. I’d say we lucked out by having Leo in the position he’s in and him having faith in the vision/product we produce.

CHRISTIAN: Leo is a jacket guy as much as he is a shoe guy so I remember the first time I met him at that event, he really liked one of our jackets and wanted to buy a sample that we didn’t even have for sale. I remember thinking how nice and unexpected that was of someone who we barely knew to want to support a young brand that no one had heard of yet. It didn’t matter to him, he liked the jacket so he wanted to support. It’s a testament to the type of person Leo is and why we feel lucky to have met him.

LEO: A good friend of mine Marcel Pena put me on to Adsum.  He invited me to one of their sample sales and we have been connected since then.

Now Adsum is working with Reebok on the Club C which is a favourite for many, how did you land on this style?

PETE: The Club C is one of Reebok’s most iconic styles. It’s a perfect thing that has stood the test of time so we wanted to reimagine the great shoe. It’s a shoe that is in our weekly rotation before doing the collaboration on it.

Delight In Every Step: How The Reebok x Adsum Club C Was Born
CHRISTIAN: Test run on an old pair of shoes. Looks like dinner that night was a bottle of Cabernet and some perogies. I had to use a hammer and screwdriver to break up the block of chocolate to melt.
Delight In Every Step: How The Reebok x Adsum Club C Was Born
CHRISTIAN: The quarantine approved photo shoot in the apartment.

Tell us more about the concept for the design of the shoe and how it came about?

CHRISTIAN: I think it all started from the desire to make a highly wearable shoe. The Pyro was a specific idea of being true to what a 90s running shoe was to us with the fluorescent hits and a bright optimistic color palette. With this one, we took a moment and looked around the office and, although we like mixing it up, the shoes we reach for day in and day out tend to be casual tonal shoes. I think Pete mentioned how versatile a brown sneaker is through the ages. Whether you’re a kid and trying to be clever by getting away with wearing sneakers instead of a dress shoe with your uniform, or you’re an older chiller who wants a good pair of shoes to go with a pair of jeans, you can reach for it. It’s versatile but you also have to be a certain type of person to want pull off a brown shoe. It’s a design that felt very true to the ethos of the brand.

LEO: It was pretty simple. We both wanted to work on a classic court shoe so the Club C was choice.  We did sample a few different colors but the brown really stood on its own – the color and material execution is really amazing. 

The chocolate marketing imagery is genius and flips the idea of the shoe well – where did this originate?

CHRISTIAN: Like most things, it just came from all of us shooting the shit in the office, talking about things we like and that have caught our eye recently. I had been getting into old skate advertising at the time. Ads from around the 90s when the actual skateboarders, not companies riding what they thought was a trend, were really starting to take ownership of their image, brands and voices. Brands like Droors and World Industries, and anyone taking ads out in Big Brother. I think the stuff they did back then is still some of the best ads I’ve seen. There was one image in particular from that time that I couldn’t stop thinking about. It was a close up of Rob Dyrdek face with a cigarette in his mouth covered in blue paint. I thought we could recreate something similar and maybe even more desirable if it involved food instead of paint. Chocolate worked perfectly in so many ways.

Delight In Every Step: How The Reebok x Adsum Club C Was Born
Delight In Every Step: How The Reebok x Adsum Club C Was Born

Were there any particular challenges in the design process that Adsum fan’s may not be aware of?

PETE: Timelines. We’ve been working on this shoe for a while and it’s taken a few kicks at the can to make sure all materials and colors are exactly what we’re after.

How and where do you plan to wear your Adsum Club C’s?

CHRISTIAN: I think the beauty of the shoe is you can wear it anywhere and anytime and I plan on doing that. I’m not super picky when it comes to matching my shoe to my activity. Age has forced me to wear dedicated running shoes when I go running, but my personality is more akin to people who wear their timberlands to the gym because they’re coming from their construction job and they don’t want to worry about carrying around an extra pair of shoes. I’m probably just as likely to wear these on a hike as I am to wear them to the supermarket.

PETE : You can put them in the microwave, heat them up and eat them if you need to

LEO: It is a great everyday shoe so I don’t see where I wouldn’t wear them!

What’s next for Adsum and Reebok in 2020 and beyond?

CHRISTIAN: Hopefully more shoes and continuing telling our story and serving the people that support us. 

LEO: Adsum and Reebok have been a great partnership for the past few seasons and we really appreciate the stylist approach that Adsum has towards our collaborations. This project is a great mix of amazing design, materials and storytelling. We will continue the relationship and work towards another time to reconnect.

The Reebok x Adsum Club C will be launching at HIP on 25/09/20 online at 08:00am and in Leeds.

Delight In Every Step: How The Reebok x Adsum Club C Was Born