How adidas Leapt from Athletic Style to Street Style

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As a twenty-something with an interest in fashion and pop culture, I like to think I am always up on the latest trends and “in the know.” Therefore, it was a huge surprise to me when adidas apparel burst back on the scene a couple of years ago, seemingly out of nowhere. And at the forefront of the new adidas fashion wave was the Stan Smith tennis shoes. These white tennis shoes were popping up everywhere, replacing the neon Nike running shoes that (literally) ran the show my freshman and sophomore years of college. I was extremely interested in this adidas takeover and decided to trace this trend back to its roots.

 

The rise of the Stan Smiths can be attributed to the marketing genius of Jon Wexler, adidas Global Director of Entertainment and Influencer marketing. It seems as if the return of these sneakers was a calculated marketing move by the adidas team way back in 2009. They decided to revamp the classic Stan Smith tennis sneaker in a way that would appeal to Millennials. An article by The Guardian discusses this marketing strategy and states that Wexler “pretty much confirmed everything Miranda Priestly says in the legendary cerulean blue Gap jumper monologue in The Devil Wears Prada… He describes the Stan phenomenon as ‘the classic model of a trend continuum actually working.’” Which basically means, for those who haven’t seen The Devil Wears Prada, that the fashion industry leaders start trends by putting their products in the hands of trendsetters. These trendy individuals are being watched by the masses and once they are spotted wearing a new brand, it immediately becomes popular.

 

Wexler chooses who will represent adidas based on if they are authentic and if their actions align with the adidas brand. He stated in an interview with Complex that adidas looks for “people who are creative and groundbreaking, who set trends and forge their own paths and are not afraid of what people are going to say about that. Obviously the people [adidas works with] are iconic, because it is the most iconic brand in the world.” Wexler knew that he had to showcase the revamped Stan Smith sneaker with some of the most influential and iconic personnel in the fashion industry. He decided to entrust this task to Phoebe Philo, the creative director of Celine. He put the sneakers on her more-than-capable feet and the rest was history. When Philo wore Stan Smiths as she came out for the end-of-fashion-show bow during 2010 Paris Fashion Week, a trend was born. Philo was also one of Time’s Most Influential People in 2014 so that just emphasizes how putting the Stan Smiths on her feet was the best move adidas could make.

 

YMC Blog Image 3Since the reveal of the new sneakers in 2010 things have been looking good for the Stan Smiths and adidas as a whole. In 2013, Gisele graced the cover of Paris Vogue wearing nothing but Stan Smiths. In 2014, A$ASP Rocky and Pharrell Williams both made custom Stan Smiths. North West was also spotted wearing a pair of the sneakers, displaying the influence of the Kanye West-adidas partnership. The impact of adidas’ partnering with some of the biggest names in the industry is huge. These individuals have the ability to start a trend with one photo. Wexler discussed this stating, “When Kanye shows up in GQ wearing Pure Boosts or Stan Smiths, I’ve got to assume there is an impact [on sales].”

 

YMC Blog Image 4As for me, I purchased my first pair of Stan Smiths in the spring of 2015. I wore them with dresses, skirts, jeans, overalls…you name it. I was already known as the girl who was always wearing sneakers anyway, I just made the transition from Converse to adidas. Converse used to be my go-to sneaker but I, like most Millennials, have traded in basketball sneakers for tennis sneakers and Chucks for Stans. I was wearing my Stan Smiths over the summer on the New York City subway going to Brooklyn. A guy sitting across from me gave me a little head nod and mumbled, “Cool Smiths.” If a random hipster in Brooklyn compliments your sneakers, you know they’re cool. The innate coolness of the Stan Smiths was widely accepted by 2015 and adidas certainly took the chance to capitalize on this new image of their brand.

 

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The Three Stripe Journey by Heather Luce

My name is Heather Luce and I am a proud alumna of the University of Louisville. Throughout my college career, I have held numerous positions and worked for some of the most talented people in sports. However, one opportunity completely changed the trajectory of my career: the adidas Student Brand Ambassador Program. As an adidas Student Brand Ambassador, I led a team of the most talented, dedicated, and innovative students at Louisville. Our mission was to #OwnTheCampus, and we did just that.

 

adidas brand ambassadors promote the brand on campus

 

During the past two years, our team has won the Best Social Media Team and the Best Overall Team back-to-back. Our tremendous success throughout the program simply would not have been possible without the Program Strategists at YMC. They are our coaches and our biggest motivation. During the first year of the program, my Strategist was Jose Colchao, who is now my mentor and great friend. Jose has always made time to coach me on interviews, provide feedback on my resume and cover letters, and give me career advice. I would not have experienced that level of success had it not been for Jose’s mentorship.

The adidas Student Brand Ambassador Program opened doors for me that I never could have imagined. My senior year, I earned a position as an adidas Marketing Assistant with the University of Louisville Athletic Department. I was able to do incredible things like travel to Portland to tour adidas village and meet the executives of adidas. In March, my dream came true when I was offered a position as an NBA Team Services Specialist with the adidas Sports Licensed Division.

 

college brand ambassadors hold the adidas flag

 

As I reflect on my college career and prepare for the future, I believe these are the three keys to success in sports.

 

Networking

We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” I believe that who you know gets you there and what you know gets you further. Shake as many hands as you can. Surround yourself with positive people who empower you. Remember names, send thank you notes, and make lasting first impressions. A recommendation letter from the right person can make all the difference in the world.

 

Experience

Millions of people want to work in sports. At the end of the day, the candidate with the best skills and experience is going to get the job. Internships are critical. Volunteer for everything you possibly can. Learn how to market yourself. Your resume and cover letters should make employers thrilled to meet you to learn more about how you can help their company.

 

Want it more than anyone. Work harder than everyone.

Your work ethic is one of the most important aspects of your personality. We see athletes all the time with all the potential in the world, but they lack the determination or work ethic to be the best. You have to outshine everyone else. Don’t just do what is expected of you. Go the extra mile. Exceed expectations and be the greatness that you want to achieve.

 

college brand ambassador wearing the adidas brand at graduation

 

Want to learn more about Heather and follow her journey? Follow her on Twitter or Instagram @UofL_Heather or email her at [email protected].

 

Gift This, Not That – 2014 Edition

By now you’ve survived Thanksgiving doorbusters, Black Friday crowds, Small Business Saturday strolls, Cyber Monday distractions, and are putting your focus towards holiday gifting. The only thing more stressful than those four crazy “shopping holidays” is trying to figure out what the young 20-somethings in your life really want. But don’t panic just yet, because YMC has you covered.

 

Step into the mind of a millennial this holiday season and avoid any gifting pitfalls. The YMC team surveyed over 250 college students to find out their gift-related wants, needs, and preferences this holiday season. Here’s what we found out: As it turns out, millennials aren’t too different than past generations. They have their own fashion identity that closely aligns with their lifestyle and individual personality. They like having the freedom to choose, with 36% of respondents saying cash is their most needed gift. Millennials are also practical when it comes to selecting gifts for one another, preferring to shop at retailers that offer variety like Urban Outfitters and Amazon, and recommending gifts that are universally appreciated, like makeup.

 

Hopefully our findings will save you some time this holiday season, and put a smile on the face of your favorite gift-worthy millennial. Happy holidays!

 millennial holiday gift guide infographic