END. 2017 Collaboration Retrospective

A year of grails.

Continuing a burgeoning legacy of dropping some of the most coppable collaborative streetwear product each year, for 2017 END. partnered with some of the most relevant heritage and contemporary brands on the international sneaker scene to design a slew of sell-out grail pieces dripping in kerb appeal and collectability.

With a range of new projects already in the works for 2018, it's time to reflect on a year of successful collaborations with our 2017 retrospective.

Uniting with Reebok for the second instalment of our ongoing collaboration, END. took on Reebok's most iconic silhouette: the Instapump Fury. Having arrived on the sneaker market over twenty-five years ago, the Instapump technology revolutionised the time-honoured tradition of lacing, with the futuristic Instapump Fury arriving in the mid-90s to revitalise the concept for the next generation.

2017's fresh iteration was inspired by the majestic salmon - a creature revered for its incredible instinct for survival. A textured black suede upper resembled the unique texture of fish scales. Highlights included a salmon pink back quarter, with a speckled midsole referencing the subtle tonalities of the water in which the salmon resides. Woven heel pulls complete with the succinct END. branding completed the sneaker, whilst Reebok’s own graphic was embroidered delicately on the tongue and heel.

The muted, tonal beauty of maple wood supplied the inspiration for END.’s second collaboration with one of the world’s most famous shoemakers, Clarks Originals. The pioneering silhouette of the Trigenic Flex has swiftly become a contemporary icon, bridging the gap between the styles that have defined Clarks Originals’ illustrious past and the forward-thinking nature of their present-day position.

Maple wood is no stranger to END.’s distinctive palette, featuring prominently throughout the sleek, minimalist design of both flagship boutiques. Selected for its understated beauty and impressive durability, the wood’s neutral colouration dictated the materials used to create the END. x Clarks Originals Trigenic Flex ‘Maple’.

Allowing the detailing of the innovative design to appear prominently, the Trigenic Flex’s upper was constructed from a grain leather of the highest quality, its supple nature allowing the foot to move and flex uninhibited. To the lower section, the shoe sat atop a soft suede, its contrast against the leather mimicking the shift in textures inherent within the maple wood’s grain.

Both materials - sourced from the famed Steads Tannery in Leeds - embodied both the quality and stability that maple wood has been utilised for throughout the centuries. Vegetable tanned leather to the heel pull and lining provided a highlight to the neutrality of the upper, whilst hand-stitched moccasin detailing infused a sense of time-honoured craft into the shoe’s contemporary outlook.

END. and footwear institution Bodega were brought together to collaborate as part of the 2017 Sneaker Exchange project. The challenge: to find common ground and reinterpret two archival adidas models, together building a pack with a defined concept that would result in two outstanding sneakers.

The END. x Bodega 'Boro Denim' pack examined adidas’ rich history while questioning the future of athletic footwear. Vintage sneaker connoisseurs were be thrilled by the revival of the Haven - a 1970s running classic - which received a luxurious makeover in a soft suede.

Another model making a big impression this year was the brand new Iniki Runner (redubbed the i-5923), which deliberately toys with the juxtaposition of a classic aesthetic with modern elements such as a BOOST sole and an ultra-contemporary silhouette.

Design influence for the project was taken from Boro denim and the Japanese Sashiko stitching method, originally used for repairing jeans but used increasingly for decorative purposes in contemporary menswear. A constant design element throughout the pack was the application of a gum sole, which rounded off the “crafted” look and feel of END. x Bodega's iconic contribution to 2017's sneaker exchange.

For the chance to win all 22 pairs from the adidas Consortium's 2017 Sneaker Exchange project, click here.

One of the most beautiful places on Earth, the forest tells a story of many wonders. From the tropical rainforests of the Southern hemisphere to the lush canopies lining continental coasts, no other place showcases the natural diversity of life like an evergreen rainforest.

Home to breath-taking landscapes, our planet’s lungs can feel like another world; a towering giant in the bitter winters and blistering summers. Inspired by the land where humanity and nature collide, END. and Italian boot-making masters Fracap invited you to walk the earth with the Evergreen M120 Heronimo Boot beneath your feet.

A boot suited both to the mountains and to everyday life, the soft suede ‘Green Abete’ was offset by a cloudy Vibram® sole unit underfoot – alluding to the persistent fog that drifts up from the humid lowlands.

A product made with social responsibility, the collaboration highlighted sustainable consumption and its effect on one of the world’s most important resources. Climate change is turning up the temperature, and threatening our undulating green landscapes, one of the planet’s most verdant adventures.

Living harmoniously, the END. x Fracap ‘Evergreen’ M120 Heronimo Boot was rooted in practicality and substance with a conscious outlook to one of nature’s greatest wonders.

Centuries apart in Italian history, heritage sportswear brand Diadora stepped into the opera to form a dramatic iteration of a 90s runner in collaboration with END. Inspired by opulent auditoriums, the V7000 merged its athletic roots with the romanticism of the Renaissance period. Marrying theatrical settings with the classic, the stage was set for the END. x Diadora duet, ready for the V7000 to step into an unforgettable experience at the opera house.

As powerful today as it was in 16th-century Florence; the traditions of the opera and its prestigious décor influenced this sprinting sneaker. Made in Italy, with a passion for the elaborate architecture, royal suede and red leather layered the uppers like balconies tiering the stage. Ornate touches of gold sat at the toe box and heel with an END. printed footbed delivering the finishing touch. To the lacing, rope ties bore a resemblance to the tasselled curtains that elegantly drape the stage, whilst underfoot, the gold-specked midsole presented the finale, like the confetti drop at the final bow.

Limited to an individually numbered run of just 150 pairs, the END. x Diadora V7000 was housed in bespoke packaging, the red carpet rolling out to reveal a soft velvety box and travel bag.

As winter drew closer and we looked to rejuvenate the body and mind, END. collaborated with Californian streetwear institution Vans to embrace the Danish art of Hygge. The END. x Vans ‘Nordic Wool’ pack merged sustainability, fashion and the Danish way of living with a shoe that worked equally well on the sidewalk and skateboard.

A wholesome concept to fight the winter blues; embracing Hygge {hue-gah} is the secret to happiness; a ritual that creates a sense of security, familiarity and kinship. Welcoming well-being into the long dark winters, the importance of togetherness was illuminated by the END. x Vans Old Skool collaboration. Evolving a skate classic with birds-eye woollen uppers and a natural leather side stripe, a gentle flicker of candlelight evoked a sense of nostalgia - like a blanket draped over the sofa. Marshmallow hues and a gum rubber outsole rounded off the hyggelig atmosphere, like mallows roasting over a crackling log fire.

Drawing 2017's roster of collaborative products to a close with a grand testimony to utilitarian style, END. partnered with legendary American watchmaker Timex to create a worthy timepiece to carry forth the heritage and tradition of their watch family.

Built with a passion for authenticity, the stainless-steel case was finished with a worn-in patina and scalloped rotating bezel for some extra mid-century charm. Engineered to a water-resistance of 100m, the simple dual-branded face and QuickDate® feature ensured optimal visibility at all times. When every second counts, the hallmark triangle and two dots were designed to make 12 o’clock distinguishable in air combat. Introducing Quartz movement for accuracy and precision, the mineral glass crystal will keep it looking pristine.

A true example of value, the precision and pure craftsmanship applied to this project faithfully produced an heirloom you can wear forever.

writerEuan Smart


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