adidas Superstar Vintage “Union”

  • DESIGNED BY: Union
  • MADE ON: 11/04
  • ART.NO: 133746

For those that don’t know it, the 35th Anniversary Series is one of the largest collections of specialty Superstars ever released. In combination with various partners and utilizing several versions of the silhouette, adidas dropped their commemorative releases in a variety of smaller, themed packs, also (confusingly) called series.

Of all these six sub-series, the Consortium Series is likely the most coveted due not only to its limited numbers and unbeatable model (the Superstar Vintage silhouette) but also thanks to a fantastic choice of collaborative boutiques and designers. The concepts ranged from classy expected arrangements, to safer yet super lush executions, and finally some seriously loud, brave, and ultimately über-successful pairs. The “Union” is just one of those such success cases.

With only four hundred pairs made available worldwide they quickly became one of the hardest releases from the 35th Anniversary to obtain. And funnily enough, much like the shoe itself, the collaborative street brand behind the design wasn’t so easy to track down either.

Represented online today with a simple text logo, the main connection to the brand’s past is a silhouetted figure in a B-boy stance, exclaiming “Yo!” with his body gestures whilst an oddly placed halo hangs above his head. Hard to miss. With the collaboration being so long ago (2005) it wasn’t a surprise when we gave Union in Los Angeles a call to talk about the project and no one there (managers included) even knew whether they were the right Union or not. Luckily enough this trademarked logo popper boy can be found on their Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and even on their physical storefront, but simply not on the website itself. Go figure.

Speaking of locations, Union originally opened shop in NYC as far back as 1989 (talk about old school) and later popped up on the opposite coast in Central L.A., which happens to be the one of their two boutiques which remains open even today. In their own words, their concept is simple: “We walk the line of fashion and function.” They also suggest that while they may be trend setters, nothing that they have carried (or will carry) in their stores is “trendy”.

Possibly the most interesting attribute of the nationally acclaimed street wear brand is the fact that they’ve done what they lovingly refer to as “broken” many smaller brands, meaning that they’ve carried designs by young, up-and-coming designers to help them get exposure, become discovered, and then start up on their own two feet. Quite the community concern whilst still conducting their own fly business.

Beyond commending their behavior we truly believe they embodied these virtues in their collaboration with adidas, allowing the Superstar to remain true to its form (which is inferred, of course, by its function) while pushing the boundaries of the consumer expectations. Incredibly lush leather, wonderfully matched snakeskin to the semi-monochrome purple upper, and some gold highlights to hit you where it hurts, these are head turners like no other. All that on top of the classic vintage, herring bone out sole is just a damn good shoe.

And thus, the shoe and the story have both become legend. Fetching three figure price tags online these days it doesn’t look like they’ll be getting any cheaper, so if you’ve gotta have a pair then you better pad your wallet out as thick as you can, maybe even thicker than the extra, cream-colored, super soft, vintage laces that come packaged with these fantastically rare Superstar Vins.

written by Dylan Cromwell

photography by errol

shoes contributed by Ross MacWaters