Today sees the awaited launch of the emblematic and long-worn adidas Spezial design pay homage to its relationship with the city Manchester by dropping the Manchester 89 SPZL trainer.
The SPEZIAL name comes from an adidas trainer silhouette that initially released in 1979, purposefully designed for playing indoor handball. It fast became a staple for the casual culture style that originated on the football terraces of Northern England in the late 1970s and 1980s. These were the first to wear sportswear donned as streetwear, which, without debate, has become one of the most commonplace styles of attire on England's streets today.
Brand expert, SHOWstudio contributor and adidas-lover, Gary Aspden commented on this transition from the football pitches to the streets, stating that, 'I love the idea that something, designed primarily for a specific function, can outgrow its original purpose - taking on a new life based on its aesthetic values. That is the essence of what makes adidas's design history so incredible to me. There is an irony in the fact that the Handball Spezial has been incredibly popular for almost four decades in an area where hardly anybody plays handball.'
Launching in 2002, the original adidas Manchester was an acknowledgement of love and appreciation in the form of a shoe that metaphorically resembled a love letter - passed between youths in the North West of England and the famed adidas 'City Series.' (The 'City Series begun in the 1980s yet is still continuing to this day.) Despite Manchester not being listed in the original series, adidas have created a shoe as a token of love that recognises Manchester's role in the history of Britain's love for iconic trainer.
Defining Manchester's relationship with adidas, Aspden comments:
'It's a long-term love affair ... adidas has been an intrinsic part of Manchester street fashion since the late 1970s. The brand, through its adoption by Mancunians, is in many ways, ingrained into the identity of the city.'
When asked upon how the adidas archive inspired the trainer, Aspden shed light by revealing, 'it uses the silhouette of the Handball Spezial - a shoe from adidas's vast archive - but revisits that shoe in a completely new execution.' He then admits that adidas have 'tweaked the upper pattern for this shoe and used parallel edged stripes' which, to his knowledge, is a first on the silhouette.
Launching globally on 16 December, the Manchester 89 SPZL is available at adidas.com/spezial and select retailers.