David Choe x adidas Stan Smith 2 “UP”

  • DESIGNED BY: David Choe
  • MADE ON: 04/08
  • ART.NO: 663742

Rare as hen’s teeth and just as gruesome too, stumbling upon these in one’s size, especially new in box, is gonna be a miraculous feat.

Though we were lucky enough – after pounding online auction sites for days on end with the terms ‘Upper Playground’ and ‘adidas’ – to come across every shoe in the collection, brand new and boxed. While that was then and their 2008 release is quite some time ago, we found it reasonable to drop this article seeing as how fans of adidas’ trademark low-cut tennis silhouette will be delighted to see the return of the Stan Smith in 2014. Of course, those comeback kicks’ll likely be the “ho hum” boring white and green pair we all know too well, and not a dash and dive, run and gun makeup such as pictured here.

That’s what Upper Playground (UP) is all about though, and they’ve made this perfectly clear since their first collaboration with adidas as a part of the 35th Anniversary Series. Their lovingly nicknamed ‘BBQ’ Supe was definitely loud, irregular, and in some lights, downright ugly. But in others, it was spectacular. The Bay Area crew tends to attract designers and artists who paint and illustrate the world in a beautiful and ugly perspective at the same time.

And David Choe is certainly one of these proud few. The American artist of Korean descent first gained traction on the streets of L.A., spray painting a buck-toothed whale to get his ‘name’ up. Since then he’s moved on through various mediums and climbed to the commercial heights of doing album covers and movie set creation. At some point in this course he’s aligned with UP and they’ve taken him gladly under their skeleton-boned wings.

From paint to wall, pen to paper, and luxurious black leather uppers to tennis trainers, David decks these Stan’s out in a darker than normal colorway, bravely highlighting the depths with red stitchings, laces, and an inner lining. The golden embroidered tongue badge, depicting UP’s faithful Walrus character, adds an air of class to them and combined with the mixture of hues it really helps to push the pair towards a prestigious, almost dress shoe status. Final – nearly hidden – touches from the artist exist as illustrated faces loitering along the sockliner and these crazy vicious, yet heavily obscured, gaping mouth monster images on the out soles.

Throwing up flavor, flare, and a bit of dangerous funk, in our opinion, Choe’s come through and cold killed these kicks with his clean execution and creative genius. And while his tags many scour the cityscapes across Southern California (no doubt along with other major metropolises) there was only five hundred pairs of these produced worldwide, so you’ll be lucky if you ever spot one in the flesh.

written by Dylan Cromwell

photography by errol