Bulgarian designer Kiko Kostadinov debuted his first footwear collaboration with Japanese sportswear giant ASICS in his haunting Spring/Summer 18 menswear show. Taking David Lynch’s Lost Highway as a pivotal reference point for the collection, the attention was not solely placed on the disturbing asphyxiation-esque nude tights worn over the models’ faces. Instead, it was the shoes that garnered the most attention. Kostadinov paired minimalist suiting with the (still) highly sought-after GEL-BURZ 1 ASICS x Kiko Kostadinov trainers, designed in black, grey and neon yellow colourways. The shoe also made history, being the first designer-led collaboration in the 70-year history of the ASICS brand.
The collaboration between the two has since produced ten shoe models over the past two years. Kostadinov has now announced a multi-year partnership that will see his team working even more closely with ASICS designers, curating around ten styles per season across various price points for the SportStyle line. Kostadinov fans who are short on cash - this is your time to get excited. Kostadinov, Laura Fanning and Deanna Fanning (the designers behind the Kiko womenswear line, first launched for Spring/Summer 19) will create a range of shoes for both men and women. The first release will be the UB1-S GEL-KAYANO 14, launching in November.
With the final ASICS footwear product no longer being co-branded, the new initiative between Kostadinov and ASICS signals a significant shift away from the tropes of sole authorship and hyped collaborations within the fashion sphere. This shift has also been felt more widely during the Spring/Summer 21 season, with Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons debuting their first womenswear collection as co-creative directors of Prada. This phenomenon of joint authorship in fashion has its benefits, as both designer and brand bring their respective audiences together to create a larger and more diverse pool of devotees. The absence of typical ‘designer x brand’ collaborations could leave some hypebeasts confused, but what is most important, always, is the quality of the product itself.