SNEAKER WARS II:

Nike Finally Finds its Fifth Avenue Home

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A look inside the recently opened Nike SoHo store expected to inform the concept of the upcoming Nike Fifth Avenue flagship

It's hard to know it Nike deliberately chose the day Adidas opened its shiny new brand palace to make the announcement, but yesterday the sneaker giant announced that its long search for a follow up to its 57th Street Niketown store is over. The new Nike store will eventually open in a whopping 70,000 square feet at 650 Fifth Avenue in a space that includes not only the building's entire previous retail component, but some extra office floors that will be converted as well to make a seven-floor superstore. Essentially it will be a Nike department store on Fifth Avenue.
It has not been announced that Niketown will be closing at the end of its lease which has been extended to 2022 while the company continued to search for its successor space, but it is hard to imagine even Nike sustaining two large flagships in such close proximity. Nike execs have also been candid that the once innovative design of that store has aged, and needs to be updated in favor of the more open format of the recently unveiled Nike SoHo store (pictured above). Look for the brand to expand on the concepts in that store including areas for customers to try out athletic gear on the selling floor in basketball and soccer cages, a concept also appearing at Adidas' new flagship. In any event, there may be little overlap between the unveiling of Nike's new store and the old Niketown. It will take some time to gut and rebuild the retail space at 650 Fifth which for the past couple of decades has been the home to several brands formerly owned by Liz Claiborne including the namesake labels, Mexx and, most recently, Juicy Couture. It has been one of Fifth Avenue's biggest white elephants, having stood empty for the past couple of years except for housing a few brief pop-up stores. It is likely that Nike will institute a major redesign of the late 1970s-era facade on the lower levels to create a more imposing brand signature. That could take a while, so while Nike's new store is definitely something to look forward to, it will probably be a something of a wait to see it come to fruition.

(WWD)


SNEAKER WARS:

Adidas Answers The Flagship Challenge With A Fifth Avenue Brand Palace

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The new Adidas NYC Flagship at 46th Street and Fifth Avenue. Photo courtesy of Adidas

Forget about politics. They are too nauseating to follow right now anyway. Lets talk about something really important: sneakers.
There has been a bit of retail activity regarding the perennial rivalry between Adidas and Nike. A couple of months ago, Adidas debuted its newly updated Adidas Originals store on Spring Street in SoHo featuring its burgeoning fashion line including heritage models and collaboration collections. Then, a couple of weeks ago, Nike opened its follow up to the Niketown retail concept when the new Nike SoHo store at Broadway and Spring Street finally opened after a weeklong halt and neighborhood and city government protests. Not to be outdone, Adidas is opening its largest New York store ever today on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 46th street (pictured above) . At over 45,000 square feet, the  four level superstore featuring every single product category the brand offers in a high-school stadium-inspired store —if, that is, your high school stadium consisted of concrete and chain link fencing.

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The miadidas Studio custom shop at the Adidas NYC Flagship. Photo courtesy of Adidas

The industrial look, however makes an excellent backdrop for the brand's sprawling product lines. At the press preview on Tuesday night, most of the action migrated to the top floor which was devoted to an even larger presentation of the Originals division featuring, at the center, the city's first miadidas Studio (above)  allowing customers to create their own versions of Originals styles. Other exclusives include the print shop on the men's athletic level in the basement, treadmills and turf cages for customers to test out products right in the store, along with refreshment kiosks, concierge services and same-day hotel delivery. The gleaming new store is poised to make the most of New York's teeming hordes of tourists who should be devouring new product as you read this, but it is also a chance for Adidas to even the scales a bit with its main rival. In midtown, where Niketown made an innovative statement in the mid '90s, Adidas is now challenging with a huge flagship of its own, and a newer one as even Nike execs have recently admitted that the high-school gymnasium concept at the 57th street store has gotten tired, and the atrium centered store layout is difficult to navigate. Look for a new Niketown announcement soon, however as the store known to be looking for a new location. In other parts of the city, however, Nike still has an edge with Nike Running shops in Flatiron and on the Upper East Side, but in SoHo, the brands are in a head to head battle. Adidas' Houston and Broadway flagship (currently undergoing a revamp) and Originals stores are now being challenged by the correspondingly edgy NikeLab store on Mercer Street and the New Nike SoHo flagship, now giving both companies a strong foothold to fight for those precious sneaker loving customers. Must we speak of these two brands as if they are in an endless pitched battle for market dominance? Well, probably not. After all some of us mix Adidas and Nike in our sneaker wardrobes, even with the occasional dash of Puma. The upshot is we now have a suddenly dramatic increase in the offerings from both of these sneaker giants, so go get yourselves some new sneakers.

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More looks inside the new Adidas NYC Flagship. Photos courtesy of Adidas

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STORE INTERRUPTED:

There's A Huge Nike Store In SoHo Just Itching' To Get Open

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SoHo's Nike Store on November 11th, 2016, the day it was to have opened

Real estate in New York City is a pretty ruthless business. There are fights between developers and cummunity boards and local politicians all the time, but it is unusual for the opening of a 55,000 square foot retail flagship to have its grand opening legally halted just hours before the doors were to be unlocked. That, however is what has happened to the new Nike store that was to open last Friday on the corner of Broadway and Spring Street in SoHo.
In a feud pitting Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Community Board 2 and various other local officials against the Department of Buildings, the long awaited Nike store sits fully stocked and presumably staffed with its opening indefinitely postponed. The complaint concerns building regulations about the size of the store allowed in the space and the permits issued to redevelop 529 Broadway, the building that contains it. The protesters want Nike's certificate of occupancy recinded because, the company and the developer allegedly did not apply for the special permit required for stores over the 10,000 square foot limit imposed by the area's zoning rules. In addition, it is alleged that the DOB issued an alteration permit to build the building rather than demolition one. All of these discrepancies require greater public and oversight. Brewer and her cohorts allege that they were denied their rightful input by the DOB's arbitrary permit granting policies which allegedly favor developers over community input. Further arguments include details about party walls and how much of the original building on the site was retained that fall into the category of real estate arcana. The upshot is that Brewer and company have chosen the Nike Store to make their stand against the DOB. Now eager sneakerheads who were erroneously lined up outside the store on Friday morning will be waiting indefinitely until an agreement between all parties can be reached to grant Nike the temporary certificate of occupancy it needs to open its doors.
Brewer and company probably feel that a huge multibillion dollar corporation and presumably greedy developers are easy and suitably high-profile targets for their cause, but perhaps they shouldn't have waited until hours before the store was to open to throw a wrench into everyone's gears. The building has been under construction for years. Nike's plans for the store were also not a secret. Did they really need to wait until the last minute to protest improprieties? Now, there are not only eager customers waiting to shop at a major new store from one of America's most popular brands, but also a whole staff of workers for the multilevel store who expected that their jobs would start last Friday. It is not known how long Nike will be willing to pay managers, sales and stock staff for a store that is not being allowed to open and isn't selling anything. The company has already had to cancel at least one of the new product launches that bring customers streaming to their stores. Hopefully, the parties will be able to resolve their dispute in a timely manner. It seems unlikely Nike will actually have to pack up its big new store and find it another home, but now wonders if the city is really doing itself any favors by forcing it to sit idle right at the point it was ready to open.


ATHLEISURE BASH:

Adidas Originals Upgrades Its SoHo Lodgings

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The New Adidas Originals store in SoHo. Photo courtesy of Adidas

A few flashes of lightning in the sky weren't enough to keep VIP sneaker heads away from the opening party at the new Adidas Originals store last night. This sub brand of the athletic wear giant made waves several years ago when it debuted its previous store on Wooster Street with an open air storefront and an abundance of those nostalgic sneaker styles we all remember from our collective youth. The brand —the one with the original Adidas trefoil insignia— has evolved quite a bit since then, and while still able to wield enough promotional power to launch a full-scale revival of its classic Stan Smith tennis shoe a couple of years ago, it has grown to encompass more modern cutting edge design as well as exclusive collaborations with influential stores, designers and, yes, pop stars. Having outgrown its SoHo showplace, Adidas has finally opened a new one on Spring Street with much more room to show off its latest revivals –the "Gazelle" is the vintage model du jour now— as well as hot collaborations and vastly enlarged wall of shoes (pictured above) to peruse.

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Guests at the opening party for the new Adidas Originals store. Photo courtesy of Adidas

It's a lot more store for Adidas lovers to shop, and that's saying something significant these days when every retailer is seriously reviewing the returns on its square footage. Standouts from last night's opening included graphic womenswear from Rita Ora's ongoing collaboration with the label as well as our personal fave, the White Mountaineering x Adidas collection (pictured below), a team up with the influential Japanese men's label.
Last night's party centered around a short film made in collaboration with rapper Joey Bada$$, and Adidas hung on to its old store just enough to usher guests there for a private concert but the hip hop performer and his crew before it gets turned over to a new tenant —kind of like throwing one last blowout party in your old apartment before you move out.
Hopefully Adidas will get their deposit back.
Well, maybe they don't care.

 Adidas Originals now open at 115 Spring Street between Mercer & Greene Streets, SoHo

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The White Mountaineering x Adidas collection at the new Adidas Originals store. Photo courtesy of Adidas

SALE ALERTS:

Surprise Herschel Supply One Day Sale Hits Today Along With Atelier New York's Clearance

Two sales of note have come to our attention at the last minute, but we didn't want any readers to miss out.
The most pressing event is HERSCHEL SUPPLY CO.'s surprise one day pop-up sale in midtown starting at 10 AM. Herschel's backpack sales have been known to spark block-long lines, so this is a must for fans. They will be sharing space on West 39th street with NATIVE SHOES offering innovative, contemporary footwear for men and women at up to 50% off.

Also starting today, elusive designer boutique ATELIER NEW YORK is kicking off its clearance sale with 70% off its directional designer collections including labels like Maison Margiela, Ann Demeulemeester, BalmainRick Owens, the coveted Vetements, and more. Once known as an avant-garde men's store, Atelier has recently added womenswear as well, so it should be great opportunity for late-summer savings for everybody.

Be sure to check our SALE ROLL sidebar at left for hours, locations and other details, and good shopping luck!


COLLABORATION ANTICIPATION:

Adidas Said To Be Preparing Major Team-Up With Alexander Wang

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An Alexander Wang look from Spring 2015 inspired by Adidas Stan Smith and Rod Laver sneakers

We're not sure if there is an official name for Alexander Wang fans (Wang-heads? That seems wrong.) but, according to WWD, they should start getting excited about now because a collaboration with Adidas is reportedly in the works. The collaboration would presumably be announced right after the designer's Spring 2017 show on September 10. Details of the rumored line are not yet available, and the principals are remaining mum at the time, but it is said to be conceived along the lines of the athletic-wear company's long running collaborations like the ones it continues to produce with Stella McCartney, Raf Simons, Rick Owens, Pharrell Williams, Yohji Yamamoto and, of course, Kanye West, whose brand concept has just recently been fully fleshed out. Whether or not it will be under the main Alexander Wang, T by Alexander Wang or another newly created moniker remains to be seen, but it is guaranteed to leap to the top of the designer collaboration list whenever it materializes. Look for confirmation in the coming weeks, and think about what the designer who once created dresses that pay tribute to the iconic Stan Smith and Rod Laver tennis shoes (pictured at right) could do with a full collaboration line at Adidas.

Alexander Wang Said to Be Adidas’ Next Fashion Collaborator (WWD)


STAMPEDE ALERT:

MAC Will Hold Its First Sample Sale Next Week
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Barker Black Add A Sale This Week

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Image: MacCosmetics.com

Get ready for some shopping chaos. In an unusual move, popular makeup brand M·A·C will hold a public sample sale in New York. From next Tuesday through Friday the fourth floor of the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea will offer a substantial 60% off on makeup from the brands regular and special limited edition lines. While it's not unheard of to have samples sales for makeup, it's unusual for a brand as bug and popular to hold a public sale on this scale. Expect long, long lines, so if you are inclined to check out this sale, be sure to bring some patience and fortitude.

Also added to the sale schedule this week are last minute additions from designer ALTUZARRA* and elegant men's footwear label BARKER BLACK
Altuzarra's glamorous ready-to-wear collection will be on sale for three days starting today its showroom in SoHo. Though designer Joseph Altuzarra's profile is high, his business is still small and independent, so we don't know if the sale will offer much more than actual samples, but it's a must-check-out for fans of the up-and-coming fashion star.

Fans of handmade English men's shoes will be much more familiar with Barker Black, who will be offering 60% off at its NoLita boutique. Look for beautifully made classic shoes with subtle twists including its signature skull-and-crossbones broguing.

Check our SALE ROLL sidebar at left for locations, hours and other details.

*UPDATE:
We have been notified that the Altuzarra sale that has been posted here as well as by several other blogs is not, in fact, open to the general public. Sadly, we can no longer recommend venturing down to the showroom this week. Maybe next season...


COLLABORATION ANTICIPATION:

Get Ready For Adidas x Yeezy Stores Coming Soon

 

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Courtesy Photo: Eric Liedtke of Adidas with Kanye West

It may not be the first musician/sneaker collaboration, or even the best, but Kanye West's Adidas x Yeezy team up is set to be the biggest. While the collection's Yeezy Boost shoes have been an unqualified hit, selling out almost instantaneously, the apparel and accessories have been a rockier road. First shown for Fall 2015, they were surprisingly well-received but the press and retailers, but upon delivery, the high prices for sweatshirts and stretch separates rattled even manufacturer Adidas, who stated that they would only be working on the shoes going forward. The Spring 2016 apparel line seems not to have materialized, and the coming Fall line boasted glittery collaborations with Balmain shown at a combination fashion presentation/album release party at Madison Square Garden that threatened to overshadow anything else that may have happened during Fashion Week. Now that the dust has settled, Adidas is back in the fold with plans for the future that include not only more Yeezy sportswear, but performance athletic wear and freestanding retail stores. A whole new division, Kanye West + Adidas has been created to produce Yeezy products for men and women based out of Adidas U.S. headquarters in Portland, Oregon.
Adidas group executive board member Eric Liedtke calls the West "a true creator who has the ability to see things others don’t". A timeline for the full flowering of the collaboration is unclear, but it seems likely that New York would be high on the list —if not at the top— of locations for one of the new stores. If there is one thing we have learned about West as a showman, it's that he doesn't like to come at these sorts of reveals in a normal way. A last minute addition to either the upcoming men's or later women's New York Fashion Weeks would not be out of the question, but then neither would a crashing of Paris Couture Week, so keep an eye out for Kanye's next sneak attack as his apparel ambitions seem, against all odds, to be taking shape in a big way.

 

Adidas and Kanye West Step Up Collaboration (WWD)


TIDY KICKS:

Jason Markk's Sneaker Cleaning Shop Plans An NYC Pop-Up This Montn

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Image: JasonMarkk.com

Did you buy some spanking-fresh, white Adidas Stan Smiths a couple of years ago?
Have you been dutifully wearing them with everything?
Are they now a little bit (or a lot) less bright and white than they once were?
If you have been searching for ways to restore their fresh look, then you may have stumbled upon Jason Markk, who has turned sneaker maintenance into a new industry by creating products that allow collectors, enthusiasts and just regular old sneaker wearers to stave off the inevitable moment when their beloved kicks finally, just "die" from wear and tear.  Markk's sneaker care kits have shown up in retailers ranging from J.Crew to footwear temple Kith, and he has finally opened his own flagship concept store in Los Angeles (pictured right) where you can drop off your shoes for a refresh just as if it were a dry cleaner. Services range from a $10 Classic Clean to the $65 Purple Label Detail featuring a deep cleaning and reconditioning of beloved sneakers. The good news for New Yorkers is that, according to the New York Times, Markk is bringing this in-store service to New York City with a pop-up shop from June 18th to the 26th at the Footaction store on 14th Street. Hopefully, this will be a test for a more permanent East Coast outpost, because you don't have to be a raging sneakerhead to feel the pangs of regret at eventually having to relegate a favorite pair of hard to find Nikes or Adidas to the trash heap because you have chosen to actually wear them instead of keeping them preserved for posterity.

Jason Markk Pop-Up at Footaction Star Club, 22 East 14th Street between Fifth Avenue & University Place, Union Square
Scuffed-Up Sneakers? No Way By Steven Kurutz (NYTimes)


COLLABORATION ANTICIPATION:

Under Armour Taps Tim Coppens To Burnish Its Fashion Image

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Courtesy Image via businessoffashion.com

Last week, we suggested that athletic giant Under Armour lacked the prestige to make a case for a major flagship store that might appear in the GM Building.
We may have spoken too soon.
This morning, Business of Fashion announced that Belgian born, New York based designer Tim Coppens would be adding to his duties at his own label and joining Under Armour as  executive creative director of Under Armour Sportswear, a new, more upscale casual sub-brand for men and women to be known as UAS that will appear in stores this fall (see the logo at left). While Coppens has long incorporated athletic elements in collections for his own five-year old label, and designed for Adidas and Ralph Lauren's RLX performance athletic wear line, the UAS label will be Under Armour's first collection not designed specifically for sport, but for every day casual wear. The label will include apparel, shoes and accessories for men and women as a complete lifestyle statement, but aside from the brand's flagships in New York and Chicago, the line is expected to be found in department stores which do not typically carry the main Under Armour label, and have yet to be identified.
“It’s not activewear. It’s not athleisure,” Ben Pruess, Under Armour's senior vice president of sportswear tells BoF, “It’s very specific to this idea of young, ambitious, new generation of clothing.” Coppens calls the line “casual, lifestyle-directed” and promises that it will incorporate the technical innovations that the brand has pioneered in athletic wear into casual clothes for what he calls an "ambitious generation".
It's a natural brand extension for the athletic brand which is already worn as casual wear by many of its customers, but it is also the company's pitch to gain the kind of prestige that Nike and Adidas and even Puma have acquired over the years. Those brands have sub collections that are regularly found in influential fashion stores like Barneys, Opening Ceremony, Colette and Dover Street Market. They can boast of collaborations with celebrities and designers like Raf Simons, Rihanna, Pharrell Williams, Rick Owens, Undercover's Jun Takahashi, Riccardo Tisci and Olivier Rousteing, whose latest Nike collaboration happens to launch today. It remains to be seen if UAS will be able to scale those fashion heights, but including the CFDA darling Coppens will go along way toward ingratiating Under Armour to the kind of fashion insiders who are in a position to get the label in front of the customers it seeks. Under Armour has clearly been working to be counted among the likes of Nike and Adidas as a brand that goes beyond just providing quality athletic gear, and now, all we need to see is whether or not they can produce a product that will get them there.

Tim Coppens Designing New Line for Under Armour (Business of Fashion)