Past is not past

Trawl­ing through the Onit­suka Tiger ar­chives, An­drea Pom­pilio resur­faces with fresh looks.

Esquire (Singapore) - - Brand Story -

For a less artis­tic, less de­sign-ori­ented per­son, the sneaker is a shoe that can only be rein­vented so many times. For An­drea Pom­pilio, his well of in­spi­ra­tion never runs dry and it is about restyling, not rein­vent­ing the footwear. In ear­lier in­ter­views, he’s de­scribed his love for the non-beau­ti­ful and re­it­er­ates the point when we catch up with him at Onit­suka Tiger’s press pre­sen­ta­tion for its Fall/Win­ter ’17 col­lec­tion in Seoul.

“If you ask me what I don’t like, maybe I’d say I don’t like what the rest of the world likes. I’m a very con­trast­ing per­son. I’m al­ways at­tracted to bad things be­cause I think that makes me much more in­spired,” he says. “I grew up in beauty, I’m al­ways sur­rounded by beauty. So, for me, beauty is bor­ing. Ev­ery­body now, with the help of mag­a­zines, knows about fash­ion, about beau­ti­ful cars, which is the best restau­rant to visit. But to see some­thing that’s re­ally un­usual, for me, it’s more at­trac­tive than the ‘nor­mal’ thing.”

While peo­ple are look­ing for the next new thing, he dove into the past, into Onit­suka Tiger’s ex­ten­sive ar­chives, to get that slice of not-nor­mal. He de­scribes a repos­i­tory con­tain­ing decades-upon-decades of in­for­ma­tion; a col­lec­tion of 50 shoes, for in­stance, will ac­tu­ally leaves a legacy of 200 shoes, many of which may not have made the cut for that sea­son, but will re­tire as valu­able records of fash­ion his­tory. Ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paigns, old cat­a­logues, all served to even­tu­ally pro­duce the shoes of The New Street Preppy col­lec­tion. Pairs of trekking boots from the ’70s, then called the Hi­malayan and the Mu­nari #7610, have been re­designed into the MNR AP to in­clude de­tails from a clas­sic men’s dress shoe, lend­ing it a sil­hou­ette that’s sleeker than a bulky moun­tain boot.

Even the OG, the clas­sic Onit­suka Tiger, has been souped up. The bas­ket­ball shoes from the ’50s that started it all have been rein­car­nated into the OK Bas­ket­ball RB. Ny­lon ma­te­ri­als and stitch­ing that are utilised in snow boots up­date the look, while its main shape stays true to and re­spects the vin­tage.

Pom­pilio ex­plains that a par­tic­u­lar project by the brand back in the ’60s and the ’70s had caught his eye, thanks to an old cat­a­logue. Ab­so­lutely smit­ten, that project was re­launched and sev­eral el­e­ments of it now form the back­bone of The New Street Preppy.

“If you show me my col­lec­tion to­mor­row when I’m on the aero­plane, I’ll hate it. It’s like a wo­man giv­ing birth; af­ter that, it’s done. For me, it’s the same thing. When you do a show, you never see it again the day af­ter. Next step, new one, it’s very dif­fi­cult for a de­signer to do the same thing,” says Pom­pilio.

There’s noth­ing new un­der the sun, and there are only a mil­lion ways to wear a shoe on the foot, but with a de­signer like Pom­pilio, there’s lit­tle dan­ger in pro­duc­ing the same-old. Even if they come from the past.

“If you ask me what I don’t like, maybe I’d say I don’t like what the rest of the world likes. I’m a very con­trast­ing per­son. I’m al­ways at­tracted to bad things be­cause I think that makes me much more in­spired.”

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