Starting the year off with something a little different, adidas Originals present their latest innovative apparel collection titled XbyO. For the range, adidas Originals enlisted the help of esteemed Japanese pattern cutter Satomi Nakamura, an experienced force within the world of high fashion.
The primary concept behind the collection was to produce timeless, premium basics, that were inspired by the DNA behind the Originals brand. The X featured throughout this line was featured on one of the first ever collections Originals released in the early 2000's, and also stems from the wraparound ‘X’ strapping found on the 1959 adidas Italia, utilised as a functional element in the original shoe for added support.
The considered construction is made from Yamayo Terry, a very dense knitted fabric which has been made in Japan since 1934, with this specific fabric being exclusively manufactured for the XbyO collection.
The patterns produced to form the garment are one of the key features of the collection rather than a line purely focused on overt branding or large graphic prints. Nakamura's aim was to really challenge herself with this project, and to do so she considered how the materials themselves could be linked into the whole design at the initial concept stage.
The process reminded her of a time when seminal Levi’s Red tab was introduced, and how it went about revolutionising the denim industry, she wanted to try and achieve the same thing within Originals by changing the approach and altering the way in which clothing was being produced. When you imagine an item of clothing, you visualise it as a 3D form, so when it comes down to the actual physical process of creating a construction pattern you want to continue to reflect this idea as a 3D structure.
Traditional sportswear encompasses a basic front & back structure, or 2D style of apparel design. Their shape alters via the use of stretchable materials which allows free movement of the body, but results in a very unimaginative garment. The focus of this project was to make use of strong materials that didn’t necessarily stretch, but use the way they were fitted together to allow for free movement. The pattern is very complicated, yet the clothes still have a great fit.
You firstly take quite simple shapes to begin with, but it’s how you interpret and combine these shapes together that creates the innovative shapes throughout XbyO.
The use of soft stretchy materials can also encourage you to be less considerate as a designer, with a stiffer material allowing for a greater level of creativity. This is where the Japanese tradition of paying attention to extra detail really comes into play. The aim of creating this collection was not to purely aim for perfection, but look for something different to the run-of-the-mill, average output. ‘Perfection with a touch of chaos’ to quote Nakamura. The idea of 'perfection' doesn’t hold your interest, you want to be constantly looking for something interesting within the product.
Nakamura feels that as a designer, you have the responsibility to ensure that an outfit looks great from all angles rather than just the front and back, all things should be carefully considered.
There are three sections that make up one sleeve on the sweatshirt, as opposed to the normal 1 or 2 as standard. The lines follow the flow of the body so the garment holds its shape, adding an element of elegance. All three sections work together, while another sections joins the arm to the body, again giving more freedom of movement across the whole garment.
The pant contains the same level of detail, the seat of the pant is a separate section to the waist and the main portion of the leg. The female cuts on the apparel are varied to suit the feminine form, again considering and making a product fit for purpose.
Overall the collection is an affordable product made out of the best quality material and construction methods possible.
The longest part of the process is the actual initial visualisation of the garment in your head, before even committing pen to paper. The physical design of the pattern is a lot shorter. The design brings together both traditional and modern elements of Japanese design that work hand in hand to create something new. Mrs Nakamura wanted to create the most complicated pattern first of all to see what was physically and functionally possible, and then work backwards from there.
The heart and soul behind Nakamura’s work really shows within each piece she comes up with, the goal being to always stay original. She ensures to continue training herself everyday to evaluate a garment and ensure every angle is perfect. Nakamura doesn’t make a habit of keeping track of design trends or things that go on within a social capacity, as she feels this can influence her work too much and lose the true sense of originality she strives for. This way she can preserve the purity of her work and channel this into the clothing she creates.
Keep an eye on our social media channels for more information regarding the release of the adidas Originals XbyO Collection, arriving in early January.