Interview with Erika Wykes-Sneyd, VP of adidas /// studio

To mark the launch of its first ever collection of virtual wearables, this December, adidas Originals hosted (Probably) Real — an immersive, invite-only event that redefined our relationship with physical and virtual space in Miami.

Through the use of immersive screens and AR technology, the product-led experience took hundreds of visitors on a journey through the adidas web3 universe — from its origins in 2021 to the launch of the brand’s first ever collection of NFT wearables, “Virtual Gear”.

We spoke to Erika Wykes-Sneyd, VP of adidas /// studio (‘Three Stripes Studio’), about the launch.

Q: What does Web3 mean for a 73-year-old brand like adidas?

For adidas, entry into Web3 marks a new age of Originality for the brand and our ‘three stripes’ community.

Rather than a marketing strategy or product add-on, we are viewing Web3 as a genuinely new and important frontier in organizational strategy — one that acknowledges the present and future expectations of our consumers and communities across the globe.

we are viewing Web3 as a genuinely new and important frontier

This spans our brand values: purpose and functionality, over hype; products: both physical and digital with utility and community benefits; and positioning: a premium offering, with limited run products, that represents people from all walks of life.

With Web3 exploration, adidas is shifting and using this new decentralized infrastructure to evolve from traditional ideas of “brands” and “consumers”, to a multi-faceted and dynamic community. One where everyone can, and should, have a say and a stake in the creation of future adidas products and activations — from voting rights, to creative direction, to an unfiltered, ‘direct line’ to our teams (on Discord or Twitter). This is the decentralization of creativity and community at a scale — and adidas, we embrace that at every step.

we embrace the decentralization of creativity and community

Q: What was the creative inspiration behind the recent drop of virtual wearables?

Our 16-piece ‘Virtual Gear’ collection is a groundbreaking first in the history of the Adidas brand — marking a creative and cultural milestone that knits past and future, virtual and physical, communities and creators, culture and identity. We are known for pushing the boundaries but this evolving Web3 space really provides our designers and collaborators a brand new outlet to create and build something that doesn’t have to conform to physical limitations.

Creatively, the idea was to design a collection of virtual clothing that can transcend time and space for a diverse community, and one that looks ahead to a future that has not been realized yet with a series of disruptive, avant-garde designs.

the idea was to design a collection that transcends time and space

While we pushed the boundaries for unique and playful designs with the ‘Wallrunner’ and ‘P.F.D- Personal Flotation Device’, there have been subtle nods to iconic aspects of adidas Originals’ inimitable DNA through designs like ‘Neobone’ which is inspired by the rubberised sole pattern of the timeless Superstar silhouette.

Q: Why was it important that adidas partnered with Web3 creators and communities?

We are always excited by the many ways our global creator community pushes culture forward. As an innovation in this space, NFTs are certainly a topic of interest for the brand, and we wanted to turn to leaders in the community to better help us understand the creative potential of the space and the future it holds. This is why we chose to partner with pioneers in this space like Yuga Labs and gMoney.

This is why we partnered with pioneers like Yuga Labs and gMoney

Q: What are the next steps for Adidas in the Web3 space?

Impossible has always been ‘nothing’ to the Adidas teams and there is still so much utility and interoperability to build, enable and explore. With our community engaged and our adidas /// studio (the Web3 arm of the brand) building capacity, we are investing our time, resource and energy into some of the many ways to expand and bring our Virtual Gear to life with new features and new interoperability.

Impossible has always been ‘nothing’ to the Adidas teams

For example, this collection has been designed to be worn by virtual avatars and now ‘wearable’ for styling on partner PFP NFT collections. Accessible through a PFP styling tool, every piece within the latest NFT offering will be interoperable with other identity-based projects and worlds (namely BAYC, MAYC, Inhabitants). From there, we’re excited about the potential for further interoperability ahead. Underpinned by an upgradeable smart contract (hinted in the metadata), adidas can make adjustments or tweaks that allow us to breathe new life into the collection as new capabilities start to roll out on metaverse platforms.

Native Web3 worlds, including those being developed by our partners, are still being built. And our ambition is an open invitation to developers to enable our Virtual Gear NFT holders to enter and express themselves across gaming and metaverse worlds who choose to embrace and enable interoperability.

We see an open metaverse / web3 that offers our designers and collaborators a new outlet to imagine, reimagine and express how our brand will exist in virtual worlds. For collaborators currently holding or interested in our Virtual Gear collection, we invite you to peek under the hood and help us build the next frontier of Originality together!

we invite you to help us build the next frontier of Originality together

##

Learn More

adidas.com/metaverse

With love,

FWO

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