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Last night at Alexander Wang’s spring 2017 runway show, a rumor that had been circulating in recent months proved itself to be true: Adidas Originals by Alexander Wang is happening.
After the regular collection was shown, Wang played a cryptic film; following this, the lights came back up and a group of models stomped down the runway wearing black track suits with an upside-down Adidas trefoil symbol.
A full 84-piece unisex apparel and footwear collection will be available to shop sometime in spring 2017. In the meantime, however, the two brands are hosting a series of pop-up trucks and selling nine different items, including shoes, a track suit, a hoodie, and T-shirts.
The first of the pop-ups is in New York City, today at three locations: noon at Canal and Mercer, 3pm at 57th Street and Seventh Avenue, and a third at 6pm in Brooklyn in McCarren Park at Bedford Avenue and 12th Street. On September 17th, pop-up trucks will similarly hit Tokyo and London.
I’m a fan of Alexander Wang, and I like the health goth aesthetic in general (these looks are all black), so I decided to try to get my hands on some early. Plus this collection looked more, er, subtle, than the Wang x H&M collection. I strolled on over to Canal and Mercer at five minutes before noon, which was laughably optimistic of me in hindsight.
When I got there, a white truck emblazoned with the logo on the side was already parked, with a line of people that stretched down Mercer almost to Grand Street. (A good chunk of them were wearing Saint Pablo tour merch.)
It all reminded me of the line uttered by Ralpie, the narrator in A Christmas Story: “The line to see Santa stretched all the way to Terre Haute.”
It was very calm and orderly, and staff began to hand out laminated “menus” for people in line to make their choices. Prices range from $80 for a graphic tee to $180 for skate shoes, which, if the chatter in line was any indication, were the most coveted item.
A staff member told me that customers would be limited to purchasing four items, and the items had to be different. (So no buying four pairs of shoes to sell on eBay.) The staff wouldn’t reveal how much of each item would be stocked at each drop.
Two friends, Gabe, 23 and Natalie, 21, got to the site at about 10:30am and were a few people away from the front of the line at 12:30pm. They said that when they’d arrived, about 50 people were in line. They were interested in snagging the hoodie and shoes, and weren’t ruling out running to Midtown for the second drop. “If the line was too long, we were going to go immediately there. I bet other people have done that already,” Natalie said.
Two staff members were stationed at the back of the truck taking orders, while runners on the truck put vacuum-packed merchandise into industrial black garbage bags, and then tied them in white Alexander Wang-printed ribbons. The Adidas staff member I talked to told me this was all purposeful. “We wanted it to look like a typical Canal Street sort of scene,” she said. I stopped a woman wearing head-to-toe NikeLab x Riccardo Tisci athleisure who was happily dragging a Wang-branded trash bag down the street.
It turns out she lived in the apartment directly across from where the truck was parked. “I came out here at 10:50 to do an errand and the line was not even to the end of the barricade. Because I live here, they were nice enough to say, ‘Well, since we’re in front of your door you can cut,” says Francesca, a 30-year-old filmmaker.
Francesca graciously took an Adidas staff member and me up to her apartment for an aerial view of the truck — which had a phone number printed on the top to direct people to the next pop-up location — and to show us her merch. She got the shoes and a track suit in size small, because extra small was already sold out. The small looked huge, so if you’re a petite female, you may have a hard time shopping this collection.
As of pub time, there are shockingly only two items listed on eBay. Both are hoodies, one listed for $250 and one for $399. More will surely appear there soon.
In the meantime, I’ll just wait for next spring.