The Origin of a Legacy: adidas by RAF SIMONS Ozweego


The announcement of the adidas by RAF SIMONS line in 2013 came as no shock, considering Raf Simon's love for adidas' Stan Smith model; a pair of sneakers which were seen to have graced the designer's feet on numerous occasions. After signing off works for Dior, Jill Sander, Calvin Klein, and Fred Perry, as well as creating his own collections, he has learned to relate to brands, while maintaining their usual references of style, adolescence, classic patterns, and urban style. A knack of aligning himself and understanding brands like no other designer can.

The Belgian designer sees brands as museums that lend to him their archives and place him in the post of curator to select, choose, reinvent, accompany, and create new pieces. Shoes have always been a key element for Raf Simons and already appeared in various collections for which he was involved, such as the Astronaut Sneaker, Vandal, as well as brief collaborations with Vans and ASICS. The adidas by RAF SIMONS line was a natural evolution for the designer, as it rested upon a natural relationship whose designs went above and beyond the usual. 


Raf Simons looked to the archives of adidas to revamp the Stan Smith, but also the Response and Ozweego - two models that no one had ever placed focus upon. The more spectacular cse of the two, of the Ozweego, was a new version so radically different from the original, that it seemed the name was kept exclusively as a link to the 90s. These refreshed versions of Ozweego were the creators of a new trend that other brands soon followed of bulky shoes, voluminous sneakers, oversized midsoles, and numerous overlapping layers. 

Instead of focusing only on the shoe, Raf Simons utilized it as a fundamental accesory to imagine a new overall silhouette. If until now sneakers were used to sharpen style, the Ozweego placed volume at the forefront, as did most collections by the Belgian designer. Not in vain, one of the reasons for the inspiration of the Ozweego was the Bunny Boot, a type of boot used by the American Armed Forces in Alaska to protect themselves from the cold. Raf Simons used this in his collaboration with Sterling Ruby, a silhouette that he took to the catwalks. 


Far from being an immediate success, the Ozweego needed time to be understood beyond the Raf Simons faithfuls, like A$AP Rocky, who converted his song, 'Don't touch my RAFs', into an anthem for many who associated with it their Ozweegos. His influence, like that of many other great artists admired by Raf Simons, cannot be measured in numbers.  

Featuring the same equal spirit and with small variations, the adidas RAF SIMONS Ozweego have maintained their voluminous silhouette, in the three Ozweego models launched so far, with versions that are related to the solo collections of Raf Simons (Robot, Bunny Boots, De Stijl Lego Multicolored Hiking). 


For Spring/Summer 2018 Raf Simons took inspiration from the cult film, Blade Runner, as well as bands like Joy Division and New Order. The RS Ozweego Replicant takes its name from the beings that star in the film and the way of director Ridley Scott to test the limits of humanity.

Not content with establishing one set style, the adidas by RAF SIMONS collection is evolving with different editions, as well as leaving clues of the past in his own new models (RS Detroit Runner), paying tribute to their respective inspirations.