size? HQ – What’s next for 2017?

After looking back on last year recently and reviewing our favourite aspects from all angles, it’s now time to take a look to the future and find out what we can look forward to in the next twelve months. Giving a brief look at a new selection of products (some special projects we unfortunately still have to keep under wraps!) and considering new consumer trend predictions, we sat down with a few members of our HQ team to see what they’ve got up their sleeve this year. It’s a biggy so worth sticking the kettle on before getting stuck into it!

triv_diptychJames Trivunovic – Senior Footwear Buyer

2016 has been a huge year for innovation and brand new styles causing a lot of mass hysteria within the footwear world (Yeezy anybody!?). It seemed to have been mainly driven by adidas Originals across styles such as NMD, EQT ADV and Ultra Boost. The fact the brand has continued to produce limited numbers has driven the demand massively.

Early 2017 will see a continuation of adidas’ dominance, with new styles for NMD in the form of the recently launched R2, and a very interesting addition to the EQT family in the form of a Boost sole inspired ADV named the EQT 93/17. The brand will be using Boost technology on a number of classic and new silhouettes for 2017 (Iniki/PureBoost/Stan Smith in particular), meaning your favourite styles will come with a more comfortable fit and feel. It’ll be very interesting to see how the customer perceives these adaptations of core classics.

Within Nike we’re very excited to be delving deeper into the Air Max family across a number of styles. We feel Nike’s iterations of Air Max are the best they have been for many years, with the brand going back to what they do best. Celebrating Air Max month in March you’ll see some of the best Air Max styles and colourways of all time brought back, along with a new Flyknit version of the Air Max 90. Throw in the re-introduction of the Air Max 97 and Air Max 1 Jewel across the year and you can see how Nike have really got to grips with their Air Max offering once again.

As interesting as new technology and styles are, at the same time our hearts are set on seeing the re-emergence of brands digging into their archives and bringing back retro styles in a cleaner, more toned down manner. We see vintage running as being a huge category for us this year, with the likes of adidas and Nike investing heavily in vintage styles such as New York and Pre Montreal. Puma will also have re-issues of classics such as Bluebird, Liga and Jogger to add to the offering. As ever we’ll be working with these brands closely to create and bring back exclusive styles, stay tuned for more info on that very soon…

Finally we’re seeing new and fresher colour palettes coming through, especially on running and skate styles. We want to see more colour on our walls and website, meaning seasonal hues will play a big part in our collections for SS17. Pinks, greys, yellows and lighter shades of brown and olive will be seen across all brands. In a nutshell, don’t be afraid to step away from white, black or olive in 2017!

binns_diptychChris Binns – Assistant Footwear Buyer

After a great year of new styles, fresh interpretations and re-introductions of some PURE classics it’s hard to see how 2017 can improve on what’s just been, but there’s some real gems ready to see the light of day.

Let’s start at the beginning with some of the shoes that started it all. In 2017 we’re set to see vintage running shoes make a real come back. adidas’s perfectly formed New York has just kicked things off in all its suede and nylon glory, backed up with some great new colour up’s on the recently reintroduced Dragon Vintage. Not to be outdone we’ll also see the return of some of Nike’s big guns from the archive, the one exciting me the most at the moment being the waffle racer in it’s purest heavy nylon and tough suede form. These will sit alongside other classic brand hallmarks like the Internationalist and Vortex, as well as some great new colourways on the much loved Cortez which celebrates it’s 45th anniversary this year.

I’m also looking forward to other brands with heritage digging into their archives and pulling out some true classics to sit alongside the other greats. Off the back of Whirlwind and Easy Rider in Dec we’re continuing to work closely with Puma and we’ve got some real gems launching in the coming months. ASICS have also dug into the Onitsuka Tiger vault, with a highlight being the Corsair a shoe as steeped in history as it is in controversy (Google it!). Beyond the glory years of the 70’s and early 80’s, running shoe technology seemed to reset in 1987 with the introduction of the Nike Air Max 1, and this year we’ll see the welcome return of one of the Air Max family’s most loved children, the Air Max 97. You’ll be seeing a lot of this shoe throughout the year in various different guises which I’ll have to keep to myself for the time being…

Alongside the classics there’s just as much excitement on the other side of coin. Nike introduce their next big innovation in the form of the Vapour Max. For those of you who may not have seen it already, it sits purely on air bags without a midsole, and is topped off with a Flyknit upper. It’s one of those shoes where you don’t know whether to wear it or lock it away in a glass cabinet just to admire it!

Away from the track, and building on the back of the ridiculously good Club C OG from last year we have our very own size? Exclusive Club Workout in Chalk leather to come soon. We’ve been working hard with our friends at Reebok to make sure this is the new summer go-to for everyone. Finally I’ll end with Converse who I’m expecting to have a big summer. We’re investing in the most comprehensive collection of colours on the Chuck 70, it’s a long time favourite of mine so I’m looking forward to having a wealth of choice to choose from, although it could provide problems with my wallet!

Without sounding cliché there really are too many exciting shoes to mention this year but with all the above and some really exciting adidas archive projects in the pipeline, 2017 is shaping up to be one to remember.

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Lee Wagstaff – Accessories Buyer

We’ve really stripped back accessories for Spring, concentrating on delivering a really refined and solid offering for our customers.

For SS17 I’m looking forward to delivering a much wider range of caps from Nike and adidas Originals, these brands have always been massive players on both apparel and footwear but second fiddle on accessories. On Nike we will be seeing far more Jordan lines through spring and summer, starting with some great tonal caps in January, and we’ll also be running the classic Futura logo on a curved visor which looks really strong. A great piece in particular is the Berry coloured swoosh dropping around Easter.

adidas have really upped their game for SS17, will a full range of NMD caps and luggage for Spring that I’m really excited about, and we’ll be stepping outside of the trefoil logo for the season too with some really strong options from the EQT and Performance ranges.

New Era will continue with some incredible lines for spring particularly the 9Fifty A-Frame Tonal Yankees. There’s a Disney range planned for Easter and we’ll also be adding to our core range of New Era with the introduction of the 9Forty core packs.

After the great success of the apparel, The North Face Black Label accessories will drop in mid spring with some awesome luggage and headwear options, and we’ll be one of the few retailers to have access to this product so that’s definitely one to keep an eye on.

In terms of trends, I’m expecting to see a big swing towards smaller items, bags like the Badu from The North Face or the Patagonia mini hip pack. For the 1st half of the year we’re still seeing the dominance of the curve visor over flat peak cap, but it will be interesting to see where this goes towards the end of the year. Spitfire sunglasses are back in a big way too, the design and quality for a sub £30 price point is mental.

 We’ll be adding to roster of shoecare products for spring, with the Crep Protect pills landing in January and the treated laces later in spring.

 With some real winners also to come from Stüssy, Obey and other great brands we’re set to deliver a top selection of products on accessories.

james_diptychJames Measom – Blog Content/Photographer

An obvious element of last year revolved more-so around the hype side of things, queue’s for releases were longer than ever, and shoes were selling out faster than we’ve ever seen. I think if you played it smart you were able to pick up a lot of amazing general release shoes that may have slipped under the radar due to the excitement around other releases.

This year I’m hoping for a few more reissues that I think will get a new generation of enthusiast excited who may only be seeing them for the first time. Most of my hopes from last years predictions never came true unfortunately, so I think a lot of great anniversary possibilities never saw the light of day (I’m just salty because a reissue of the Footscape OG never came to fruition!). I’d like to see the Air Max Triax series getting a look in this year, it’s a very strong body of work with some incredible shoes from 97 in particular.

Air Max 97’s the obvious big story from Nike this year, and they always seem to go in reasonably hard for an anniversary shoe like this. There are still hundreds of strong shoes from both their running and basketball categories that have never seen the light of day since the first time around, so hopefully they dig a bit deeper and pull out a few more abstract products, we know there are plenty in there!

Looking to other brands (even though I’m a Nike obsessive) I think ASICS have an interesting year ahead of them. The attention received for the Gel Mai that Ronnie Fieg dropped recently shows people are into things other than Gel Lyte III’s (unless it was purely hype driven?!) and from bits I’ve seen in their archive there are a lot of great shoes to play with. The same goes for adidas and the continuation of EQT, it performed strongly this year and the new modern additions were well received, but there’s still a host of unreal archive shoes from the 90’s era they’ve not brought back yet. SeeULater was a great shout this year though to test the water with something a bit more abstract.

I guess overall I’d like to see brands taking a few more risks when bringing back product from the archives. A lot of the time you’ll be pleasantly surprised how well something a bit different will end up doing if it’s replicated properly and not just got some modern technology slapped onto it.

dean_diptychDean Tymon – Creative Lead

2016 was an amazing year for breakthrough styles and technology such as Boost and NMD with classic silhouettes such as the Mayfly, Presto and Club C also making a big impact. My most worn shoes of 2016 were Vans Sk8 Hi’s, Converse Chuck 70’s, Nike Mayfly Woven and Air Max 95’s. With such a forward thinking year we’ve had throughout 2016 I’m very excited to see what’s to come next.

For me 2017 will be the year of catch up, with adidas leading the way in style and innovation in 2016. Nike have some big silhouettes including the Nike Air Max 97 which was a childhood favourite. Also on the flip side of innovation and technology, there’s currently a strong resurgence for the vintage running styles such as Nike Vortex, Waffle Racer, adidas LA Trainer, Onitsuka Tiger. Converse are also consistently putting out some great Chuck 70’s colourways.

On the apparel side of things I’m really looking forward to the expansion in our North Face range. The brand has such a rich history which crosses over so many different styles and consumers, and seems to be constantly going from strength to strength.

Overall for 2017 I feel my style will be dominated by a mixture of neutral tones, beige, off white, navy’s and black’s with bold statement pops of rust orange, royal blue and mustard yellow. I’ve definitely gotten into layering insulated down pieces and fleece textures combined with basics. Chuck 70’s seems to be staples in terms of footwear at the moment as well. Two shoes I wont be missing out on will be Nike Air Max 97 and Chuck 70’s in Pink.

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Simon Newby – Brand Marketing Assistant

I’ve started working with all our footwear brands on their key campaigns for 2017 and from what I’m seeing it’s going to be another strong year within the industry. Like 2016 I think we’ll continue to see the majority of releases falling into two main categories – modern ‘tech’ based product with knitted uppers and performance sole units, or vintage based, ‘anti-hype’ footwear at more affordable prices. 

After a strong 2016 with NMD, Tubular and Yeezy, adidas Originals will also bring their EQT franchise back into the limelight and we’re expecting some great new interpretations that hold the same DNA as those early 90’s OG versions at the start of the year. adidas Originals won’t be having it all their own way in this area though, especially when we know Nike Air Max Day is around the corner in March. Previous birthday celebrations have always given us exciting new versions and I’m sure this year won’t disappoint. Don’t forget Air Max 97 either, Nike did a great job a few years back for the 20th anniversary of the AM95 and I’m sure AM97 is going to be a huge story for the year. 

I expect strong campaigns from ASICS Tiger with the Kayano EVO Knit and New Balance with their new 247 range, the next of these will release in February.  We’ve also got some special collaborations with both brands in 2017 so there’s plenty of exciting projects to work on and look forward too.

Archive will continue where we left off in AW16 using the same creative team to work on the imagery for the new models entering the collection. We’re hoping the first of these will be hitting the shelves in Mid February. Aside from our own exclusives we’re also landing some strong in-line product from adidas Originals (like we’ve already seen with Bermuda and New York) in the first few weeks of 2017. Aside from adidas Originals it’s also refreshing to be working with PUMA and Saucony in this category and we have a lot of respect for models such as the Bluebird, Dallas, Liga and Jazz OG.

Last but not least, we’re in store for some special brand projects from Vans and Converse over the next six months. You’ll know by now that we’ve really championed Chuck 70’s and Vault OG product over the last year or so and this is now allowing us to create special exclusive packs and bringback colourway’s for our customers. I also predict good things with the Converse One Star and Vans Authentic in the second half of the year.

grace_diptychGrace Marshall – Stylist

In 2017 I think we’ll start to see the introduction of more experimental shapes and structures running through the shows and catwalk seasons… I also expect to see a return to bold prints, including camouflage and leopard print. 

Functionality will also play a key part and continue to evolve across apparel and footwear.

But personally and above all, I would like to see the long overdue return of a ‘style’ or ‘look’ that comes from the street and evolves onto the catwalk, in a way it’s the consumer influencing the designer rather than the other way round. 

For some time now and in the absence of any fresh and clearly defined ‘counter-culture’ look, we have lived through an ‘anything goes’ period in terms of style direction. The days of the ‘original’ Mods/Punks/Perry Boys/Hip Hop kids are long gone (although they continue to influence and inform current trends/revivals), but the very same social and economic problems that gave birth to all of those genres are facing us again in 2017.

This is, for me, when fashion is at its best and most inventive! People expressing themselves and challenging the established norm through their own style, and taking inspiration from their environment, social conditions, film, music and culture.

luke_diptych

Luke Matthews

2017: the year of resurgence, community and the spaces in-between.

Whilst we’re all conscious of what’s both the latest and the greatest, it is worth noting how a certain brand’s past has informed their future. This year we’ll be delving deep into the many archive’s, seeing a resurgence of some silhouettes that have paved the way of the highly technical profiles that we see on our shelves today.

New York, Cortez, Jogger, Waffle Racer and Pre Montreal all return in force, showing us that their timeless styling and rich heritage make them just as relevant now as they ever have been.

On the other end of the spectrum, expect more disruption, with brands constantly trying to push the boundaries even further. The Nike VaporMax makes its debut, capturing the essence of Air whilst embodying the very expression and attitude its 1987 counter-part did all those years ago. Alongside this, the return of the iconic Air Max 97 as well as the prospect of a re-modelled toe box for the Air Max 1 sets pulses racing for what’s in store for Air Max Day.

EQT is also set to under-go a dramatic change; adidas are opting to move away from Sub Green to a Sport Red. Make sure you check out the brand’s video documenting this change too.

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