Benji Blunt x adidas Superstar 1 “Sk8ing Ape Star”
- MODEL: ADIDAS SUPERSTAR 1
- DESIGNED BY: Benji Blunt
- MADE IN: UNITED KINGDOM
- MADE ON: 01/12
Benji Blunt doesn’t seem to rest… even with a family running circles around him he’s still finding time, energy, and inspiration to churn out unique works of wearable art. Not only that, but it seems his integration of fine illustration is beginning to evolve in addition to the contextual concepts that go into his finished designs.
Mr. Blunt pulled out all the stops on this one, working with a multicolored camouflage pattern upper, seriously precise illustrative detailing in the tongue and heel, as well as his hidden, ‘brush stroked’ signature. He takes it one step farther by including not only his typical, extremely professional ‘with compliments’ tag, but even packaging the kicks in a box printed up with a custom label, complete with his own article number and model name.
While Benji won’t disclose any information about how he’s able to do such crisp, clean detailing on his custom kicks, he did agree to huddle up with Super Sk8 – the lucky recipient of these “Sk8ing Ape Stars” – at the London eatmoreshoes HQ to chop it up over his latest Mona Lisas.
Benji, you’re a familiar face around the eatmoreshoes laboratory, but Super Sk8, you’re as fresh as a pair of deadstock Supestars! Tell us who you are, what’s your background?
Super Sk8: My name is Torsten, I’m 33 years old and from Germany. I’m working as a store manager. I love house music and drum and bass sounds. And sneakers of course.
Of course! And when’d your adidas addiction start?
SS: Back in 2005, I’d read an article in the magazine “Focus” about the adidas Superstar 35th Anniversary Series. I’d owned a few pairs before, though I wasn’t really into the sneaker business, more into vdubs. I’d never seen such great designs and materials on trainers before and after seeing the article I was looking for Superstars from that series. It was the first time I’d starting hunting special releases. However, if you’ve no idea about the sneaker business then you might have to pay the price: ‘fakes’ is the word. I bought some NBHDs (Neighborhood’s) from a UK-based seller (on eBay) years ago for more than two hundred euros. I was really disappointed, as they turned out to be fakes! But hey, they’re my garden shoes now.
SS: Then in 2006 I stumbled accross SuperstarDB. From that day on the collection started to grow. You may have heard before from a wise guy on SSDB that it’s not a sprint: quality over quantity.
Definitely true. But still, we gotta, ask… how many?
SS: I’ve got two hundred plus pairs in my collection. Not only adidas Superstars, but also Halfshells, Pro Models, ZX 800′s and 8000′s, EQT’s, Puma Clyde’s and Suede’s, New Balances and Asics GL 3. Despite the variety my heart belongs to the adidas Superstar.
Why do they call you Super Sk8?
SS: My nickname was given to me by a good friend of mine and it was actually meant ironically. I never had great skating skills, but I tried it a few times. One has to admit simply that sometimes nicknames make no sense.
With one of you in the UK and the other in Deutschland how’d the two of you even meet in the first place?
Benji Blunt: I met Sk8 on SSDB, the adidas Superstar joint.
SS: Yeah, we got in contact over at SSDB, after I’d seen his skills on the Safaristar’s and the Spitey customs. The first pair I’d seen were the Safaristar 80s and I was totally flashed by them. I loved the idea, the details, the patience. What a great artist!
And how’d you get laced up in this custom job together?
BB: Sk8 said that he liked some of the other jobs I’d done and asked if I’d consider reworking a classic for him.
SS: Right, well I’d always wanted A Bathing Ape camo Superstar, but I never wanted to pay silly money for a used pair and couldn’t find a deadstock pair so my thought was: why not do a custom pair of these?
Ingenius. How’d you two collaborate to get the idea formed into these beauties?
SS: Starting from the original BAPE Supe, we knew it should be a Superstar 1 with a bone colored shell and outer sole. Two weeks before I got in contact with Benji, I bought a pair of white SS1′s from Sweet Kicks, another SSDB member. These were the perfect base for the custom project.
That explains the silhouette, but what about the design itself?
BB: The design itself is a reinterpretation of the infamous Bathing Ape (BAPE) camo’s from ’03, but with a few tongue in cheek twists. The BAPE logo has been remixed, but it’s like a homage to the original collab. The donor shoe is a different style too, so it could never be viewed as a copy, but we still incorporated the skateboard and some other elements into the design, in order to play with it a bit. The camo colours are slightly different too, as is the sole unit.
SS: Actually, the design was quickly realized. Benji sent me a couple of drafts and the result you see in the photos.
Sk8 how do you feel about the finished result?
What, my pair? Oh man, I love his work. They’re very similar to the official BAPE x adidas release, but still different and unique. I love the details!
Benji, it seems you’re an artist that evolves after every custom job… what’d you learn this time around?
BB: Every shoe is different, made of different materials and different build qualities. The donor shoe in this case (the adidas Superstar 1) is getting harder to find, so this one was not in mint condition. Still, you adapt to the challenges presented and work with them.
With this sicko skating Supe under your belts, tell us, do you two have anything in store for the future?
SS: First of all, the family. A little Superstar fan is on the way. Only six weeks left until “the release”! Thus I need to slow down a little bit, but the Superstar will always be on my mind.
BB: As for me, I’m almost done working on some adidas Superstar 80s for a great friend and connect in the States, you might even know him! Some new techniques were used on that pair, though they may not be really obvious at first glance. I’m still experimenting and trying to solve problems that can allow me to work with different materials and shoes. I’ll soon be showing something different to anything I’ve done yet. The paints I’m working with are universally accepted as great, but not invincible, and trying to keep the right balance between a practical protection and aesthetic appearance without overdoing things is tricky. I’ll keep working at it. Everybody who knows me understands the learning curve and they’re being really supportive. So big thanks to you guys, you know who you are.
Big thanks to you Benji, for pushing out pure, creative treasures month after month. And three cheers to Super Sk8 for having the foresight to hire Benji and the balls to place another challenge in front of this ever-evolving, family man of acrylic and leather.
written by Dylan Cromwell
photography by errol
shoes contributed by Super Sk8