In a closed off section of the adidas Originals booth at the PROJECT Tradeshow in Vegas was the upcoming David Beckham Originals by Originals collection designed by James Bond, cofounder of Undefeated. We caught up with James for a quick interview about his involvement in the David Beckham collection, the challenges, as well as what he is looking to accomplish with the line.
Matt Halfhill: How did the Adidas David Beckham by James Bond collection come about?
James Bond: We had a long standing relationship with Adidas and I had been asking for a while to do something for David before he even came to Los Angeles. It just so happens that his wife is a customer of ours and said “You and David would get along”, so she linked us up when he got to town. We did a little impromptu type of job interview late one night when we opened up the shop for them after hours. A couple of hours after we hung out, I got the phone call and they asked me if I wanted to do the collection. It was pretty easy, pretty organic.
MH: How much input did David Beckham have with his line. What did he want to accomplish with the line?
JB: When we first started, he already had a couple of different projects going on at Adidas, but he wanted something that was closer to him like on a style base. Basically things that he would wear everyday and things he would want his people to wear. So we met with him several times and his wife Victoria said “Let’s make this collection as close to David as possible with a very eclectic style and changes.” At first I thought the collection would be very accessory and piece driven. For the first couple of seasons we put a lot of pieces out there to see what worked, so by now we have really wired it down to the colors. materials and silhouettes [you will see today]. So the line went from being very vast to now where it’s kind of small and tightened up.
MH: I noticed in the first season of the David Beckham collection there was a lot of color and material play, but as each season has progressed, we are seeing the shoes often share an outsole with a preexisting product, but the upper is almost nothing like any other Adidas product.
JB: In the beginning, time was the biggest factor. We only had a certain amount of time to put the collection together so we worked off of existing models. But as the seasons went on with time, the collection developed more as I got to know David more. We were able to evolve [the line] to more of who we are specifically. So there’s a touch of David in there and a touch of myself in there and a couple of the guys that work with me are represented in there as well. It just so happens that collectively we have a very like minded thread of what we all like. So now I think the collection really represents who we are.
MH: You mentioned ‘we’ many times talking about this project. Are you talking about you and David, or are there other people involved with the design of this project?
JB: I have a team of guys that work together on Undefeated projects and we do a lot of things together. So we have our own little collective in our office as well and sometimes I pull from those guys as well.
MH: Undefeated has had a number of projects with Adidas, but what makes the project different from Undefeated working with David Beckham and yourself working with David?
JB: With Undefeated I feel like we are kind of put in a box of who we are. We’re a sneaker boutique and it’s kind of a hypebeast kid who is into sneaker trends [that shops with us] and we have to be very mindful of who that customer is. It’s more fleece and T-shirt driven and more quick pickups so to speak and as we build Undefeated’s brand you will see more of myself and Eddie in the line. For Adidas it was more of stepping outside and being and individual and working with another individual, David. With David, being a professional athlete, we take the athleticism of who he is and take some of the fashion that he likes combined with the fact that I’m a retailer who understands merchandise. With all of that together, I think that’s why you get something slightly different with this Adidas program.
MH: In the new line, the Adidas Pro Model stuck out to me as being?the closest to the original, with very few changes or modifications. Can you tell me why this piece was selected and why it was left very close to the original 80’s tooling.
JB: For the most part, David is very specific about a couple of the shoes that he wants to wear and the Pro-Model was always one that he liked, even though he never really wore it. But it’s always been my shoe and it was the first pair I got as a kid so I will always have an affinity towards this shoe. We put a nice material and color palette together and when we presented it, these are the shoes we grew up on and as we transition into bigger and better things with this line, we want this to be one of the foundation pieces so we did it in this [beige] and all black colorway.
MH: I also noticed a shoe with the Adidas Spezial tooling with a completely new and original upper. How much does David’s ties to soccer inspire the line?
JB: These were inspired by the Spezials, but also the Businetz. I saw what they were able to do bringing the shoe to skate and I thought that Adidas took the shoe to a whole new level. I thought, let’s continue to build and take the shoe ever further.