Introduced in 1995, Seeulater by adidas is in line to be re-issued by adidas Originals. In anticipation, mita sneakers, a member of adidas’ global “Consortium” project, will introduce their own re-work model. What is Seeulater in the first place? And where does the unusual name come from? We delve into the details with two key persons involved in the reissue and custom re-works of this model.
奥が1995年当時のオリジナル。手前が今回の復刻版。アディダス オリジナルス「シーユーレイター」￥19,900 +TAX ※2016年10月発売 The 1995 originals in the back, and the current re-issued model in the front.
adidas Originals, Seeulater. ¥19,990+Tax. *Released October 2016.
Introduced in 1995 originally as a high function trail running shoe.
—The first thing I want to ask is, what kind of sneakers are Seeulaters exactly?
Takahashi: Seeulater was introduced in 1995 as shoe catered for trail running. The unique form of the outer sole was made with rough terrain adaptability in mind, and its booty structure, designed to prevent water and small stones coming in, were its characteristics.
Kunii:adidas has other logos, like the adidas Originals trefoil logo, but I personally find the equipment logo illustrates the most reality, I get excited when I see it. At the time, the logo acted as an indicator, any product with it meant it was the highest quality model in that particular product category.
Takahashi:So, Seeulater was its top of the line model within the outdoor category at that time, and had tremendous popularity as a everyday shoe as well. Even now, I think you can see that the innovative design doesn't look outdated at all.
—Can you tell me about how the reissue of this model came about.
Takahashi: Seeulater was a popular model amongst Japanese sneaker fans, more so than internationally, and I was waiting for the right opportunity to reissue them at some point. With trends shifting ever more towards ‘90s sneakers, as well as the growing outdoor trend in fashion, it seemed like the right time to take a leap with the reissue.
In fact, once back in 2012, we released an alternate version of Seeulater through the adidas Originals Blue Collection, which was a casual line dedicated to the combination of functionality and high quality fashion product.
Alternate version of the Seeulater released in 2012. (Reference product)
Takahashi: It was well received in its own right, but I’m not sure if the true sneaker fan contingent were really satisfied… Where as with the current reissue, it’s a full re-work from the colouring to the finer details, so I’m sure fans who know the originals will be satisfied.
高橋：別れ際のあいさつ「See you later.」から来ています。でもなんで、トレイルランニングシューズで「See you later.」なんだろう？ そう不思議に思って、当時このモデルを開発したデザイナーのポール・ガウディオ(現在はアディダス ブランドのクリエイティブディレクション部門のシニアヴァイスプレジデント)に聞いてみたところ、そこにはトレイルランニングにおけるスピード感を表現したいという思いが込められているとのことです。トレイルを走っていて、仲間を追い越すときに「See you later!」っていうでしょ、と。
“Seeulater,” revealing the origins of its unique name.
—By the way, where does the name of the model, Seeulater, come from?
Takahashi: It comes from the parting greeting of ‘See you later.’ But why would a trail running shoe be ‘See you later?’ Wondering why this was, I asked Paul Gaudio (current SVP Creative Director) who was involved in product development at that time, who said the reasoning behind it was to portray the sense of speed involved in trail running. He said, that’s what you would say to your friend when you’re overtaking them on the trail, ‘See you later!’
The collaboration model with mita sneakers. What was the concept?
—Can you tell me what led to the decision of releasing the collaboration model, with mita Sneakers, from Consortium in anticipation of the reissue.
アディダス オリジナルス「シーユーレイター "mita sneakers" "Consortium Tour"」￥20,000 +TAX ※2016年10月1日、『ミタスニーカーズ』にて先行発売。その後10月8日よりコンソーシアムパートナーショップにて発売。
adidas Originals Seeulater “mita sneakers” “Consortium Tour”. ¥20,000+Tax. *Initial release from mita sneakers on 1st October 2016 and sold at Consortium partner stores from 8th October.
Takahashi: I’d had conversations with Kunii before about our mutual appreciation for ‘90s sneakers, plus, I knew he had a soft spot for Seeulater, so I approached him right away at the very beginning of the project.
Kunii: And when Tsutomu spoke to me about the project, it was an immediate yes on my part.
—Can you expand on the concept behind this collaboration.
Kunii: The concept for the re-work stems from the area of Ueno and Ameyoko in Tokyo, where during the ‘80s and ‘90s, you saw the spread of mountain and ski gear stores, so the inspiration also came from imported outdoor gear.
Japanese people are quite accomplished at taking something from overseas and rearranging them through our own interpretation. Like adding mentaiko (marinated cod roe) to pasta, of course from Italy, and making an entirely new dish such as mentaiko spaghetti, for example.
I admire this aspect of the Japanese people very much, so with regards to this re-work, I took inspiration for the colouring of the upper from those Japanese people you see around wearing over-the-top functional gear for daily city living, and their distinctly Japanese interpretation of outdoor gear.
And although there are no actual outdoor fields to roam in Ueno and the surrounding downtown areas, there are Japanese gardens and parks dotted around for a casual break and stroll. The sole unit for this model is inspired from garden stones found in those Japanese dry landscape gardens.
Completely new interpretations are down to the familiarity of the originals.
—Compared to the originals, when you look at the finished re-work, you can see how the colour arrangement completely changes its impression.
Takahashi: When Kunii first explained his concept while showing me his design ideas, they spoke out to me as a very mita sneakers, very Kunii arrangements. I think he was able to come up with completely fresh interpretations because of his familiarity with the originals. I’m glad I asked Kunii to come on board, and the team in back in Germany were also very pleased.
Kunii: For me, it’s precisely this familiarity, which also brought obstacles in how to reinterpret them. Being totally honest, if I’m asked which model I prefer between the new collaboration and the originals, I personally prefer the originals. That’s how well perfected the originals are.
But I would say, for this collaboration I was conscious of updating it to match the modern era by Tokyonising it if you like. Because of course there’s absolutely no reason I should force my personal taste on to the general public.
adidas’ outdoor category is one to keep a close eye on.
—What kind of people would you like this collaboration model to appeal to?
Takahashi: For those who remember the original model of course, but it would also be great to see the younger generation who didn’t experience the originals in real time, to try them. We are planning to release alternate versions with a touring element from labels such as HYKE and White Mountaineering as well, so please keep your eyes peeled for those too.
Kunii: I always say there is little point if only the collaboration or custom lines sell well in comparison to the source line. So, through this collaboration, I would like for more people to become aware of the appeal of Seeulater, but also for other models in the outdoor category of adidas to gain further attention as well. There are so many great products released not only from Originals, but from the performance and outdoor categories that are well worth checking out.