Paul Ruffles of size?: adidas Originals Archive Mundial Magazine



adidas Originals Archive

With the SIZE? exclusive ADIDAS ORIGINALS Archive collection gathering steam, MUNDIAL MAGAZINE sat down with Size? Brand Director PAUL RUFFLES to discuss classic styles, trainer subcultures and everything three stripes. Check out the full interview below…


How important is adidas Originals as a brand, and more specifically adidas Archive product, to both size? and you?

For size?, adidas Originals is a cornerstone brand. It’s been a major partner since day one and that isn’t changing. With Archive specifically, it’s an even more concentrated version of the previous statement. I can’t emphasise enough the cultural importance of Archive to size? and our customers. I have never experienced such a consistent, unrelenting passion for a brand within the UK trainer culture. The only thing that compares is the US passion for Jordan. adidas Originals has been with me on this perilous journey since I was a teenager. From football years on boots and Samba Supers, to Superstars and Campus, via hip hop culture to Country and Gazelles when I started working in JD, to Forest Hills and a firm favourite, Stan Smiths, when working with size? — a fond memory of feeling like I’d struck gold when finding pairs of white gold Forest Hills and Stan Smith Comforts for £20 in Brunswick Warehouse.

With the diversification of size?’s product, particularly in the last couple of years, does adidas Archive product still play a part in how size? customers are consuming footwear?

Yes, now more than ever before. The diversification you refer to is being driven by the consumers and we are servicing that drive as much as we can. Trainer culture is huge and we’re seeing smaller subcultures forming, which naturally happens when something grows to a certain size.

Archive is a key part of this. Whilst other adidas product, such as NMD, EQT, and ADV, are causing huge waves out there, they’re not for everyone. So for adidas to clearly recognise, revere, and support its Archive—whilst continuing to develop new products— is more power to them and is obviously proving to be a success.

What sets adidas Archive product aside from regular, everyday footwear releases by adidas and other brands?

I think the willingness to celebrate its heritage with Archive is key and to be lauded. Applying that mindset to how and when to bring back products is a super powerful asset to the brand, and they have an amazing depth in that arsenal and are doing it well. The appreciation of materials, shape, packaging etc. shows a real understanding of what the customer desires and appreciates. The classic quality of the shoes is the beautiful antithesis to other products in the market and it stands out for that.

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The München is a silhouette that seems to mean a lot to avid trainer collectors, how much pressure is there on both size? and adidas when reproducing such an iconic shoe?

Ha! Referencing some of the words above, passion runs strong and deep within the Archive customers, we know and have experienced this many times over the years—mostly positively, a couple negatively—but we always listen and try to take on board as much as we can. So, with the München silhouette we knew that as few colours as possible, whilst still remaining engaging and exciting, was the way forward. These are the last two colours we are working on – we always try and reference classic colour combinations and, as with a previous colour, this one was inspired by an old Japanese Athen colourway.

What does adidas’ rich archive offer that other brands perhaps can’t?

One is sheer depth! A depth that very few brands can match. Whether it was planned or not, the use of city and country names for models of shoes was a stroke of genius, especially when applying very specific attributes like a colourway to a shoe and a city—it creates a deeper emotional connection. The other one, which I’m sure wasn’t planned, was the different versions of the same models made in different countries around the world which, whilst retaining certain similar elements, makes the shoes very collectable. München being a perfect example.

What does the future hold for size?’s relationship with the adidas Archive?

Like a long and beautiful marriage, we’re both working hard with each other to get the best out of each other. We want to bring some seriously desirable product to the brand’s fans, whilst revering and respecting what it stands for and what we have already achieved with the ongoing project. Some seriously good gear is coming…

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