NOW, I slide the focus towards a pairing of key years in Asics history – 2007 and 2015.
2007 welcomed back the GEL-Lyte III. A collection of bright, zero-boundary collaborations in partnership with both well-renowned and fresh-faced designers. Patta and Alife both hit the target with their shots, with these iterations being amongst the most sought after within ASICS circles. However, it also marked the year that Ronnie Fieg took his first step towards the limelight, forming a duet with New York, Soho, based store, the late David Z. His two pairs in question, featured metallic gold and silver uppers to pay homage to ASICS early days; the bright and vibrant 90s.
After Fieg in essence, revitalised the GLIII, ASICS went from strength to strength. Following a string of strong seasonal general releases, spotted partnerships and an ever-growing presence, 2015 marked the model’s 25th anniversary. What better way to celebrate, than one collaboration per month to run the year’s length?
One pair per month was perhaps, being too precise. It was more so, ‘see how many collaborations, exclusives and general releases’ we can pass off this year in celebration. To put it bluntly, ASICS held nothing back.
The official 12 ran as follows; Mita, Packer, Titolo, Concepts, AFEW, Colette, Atmos, Footpatrol, BAIT, HAL, Hanon and finally, Ronnie Fieg.
All pairs were limited to 1,990 pairs worldwide, which as custom would include a poster alongside the occasional small, gimmicky treat. To be expected of such a high-profile release, the first handful of customers would have access to an ever more limited special edition box. A number of these, sit amongst some of the most accomplished GLIII colourways to have been made available for general sale.
Beneath this almighty dozen, endless celebratory packs were released to coincide with their allotted retailer. Size?, for example, dropped a 2 part collection with reference to traditional 25th Anniversary gifts; Tsavorite and Iris. The Iris took on a lavender palette with yellow accents, whereas the Tsavorite maintained a distinctly all-grey upper, welcoming a splashing of green and 3M accents.
ASICS didn’t allowed their rollercoaster year to cross the finish at this point. On August 8th, 255 pairs of a vegetable tan, hand crafted leather GEL-Lyte III released. This wasn’t like any ordinary drop, no one left with a physical reward, merely informed that there would be a short wait for their pair to arrive. Would they be posted out from Japan? Informed to collect in-store? No, those lucky enough to obtain an opportunity to purchase, were invited to wine and dine with Shigeyuki Mitsui himself.
The shoe itself was encapsulated within a transparent box, brandished ‘ASICS, GEL-Lyte III, ‘Made In Japan’’, and accompanied by numerous hand-drawn sketches throughout the evening. This was ASICS’ Mecca.
The history of GEL may not be as well-known as that of Air, but this doesn’t mean it’s any less glamorous. From a cultural and revolutionary perspective, it was leaps and bounds ahead of anything previously released by the brand – 2017 saw the Quantum 360 model boom in popularity due to comfort alone. Our current ‘Dad-sneaker’ trend has worked wonders for Tiger Stripes, with the likes of Kiko Kostadinov and Wood Wood dressing up and raising awareness of relatively unknown silhouettes. There’s a lot to come from the brand this year, possibly revivals or follow-up renditions to previously popular collections.
—Back to PT. 1—