The ASICS SportStyle collab we know got you talking!
In partnership with the evocative and inventory creators at KASSL Editions, ASICS Sportsyle earlier this year dropped the collab that got us all talking. Brightening eyes with the inescapable vibrant-green colourway that has been devouring 2022, this sneaker release turned out to be so much more than your standard shoe collab. The GEL-1090TM sneaker (re-designed by KASSL Editions) was a project in itself – a limited edition production (30 to be precise) raffled off to support END. for the mental health charity, Mind. This ASICS X KASSL is a continuation of the ASICS SPF Crafts for Minds programme, which reinforces creation with purpose. Transforming the GEL-1090TM, KASSL Editions were anything but shy, adding a puckering protective sheat of its famous oil fabric. Bounded to the sole and fusing the two brands’ identities, the trainer quickly became a landmark collaboration, exemplifying a united devotion to durability and the collective artistry of contemporary Europe. In light of this iconic sneaker, we spoke with Ilse Cornelissens, co-founder of KASSL Editions about the identity of the brand and the importance of re-defining the concept of ‘luxury’, one sneaker at a time!
Hey Ilse! So nice to be able to pick your thoughts. Firstly (and straight to the point), What was the inspiration for the trainers?
During the initial brainstorming, we immediately knew we wanted to work with the fabric that we know best: our signature oil-coated fabric. It’s this very technical and durable fabric that we’ve been using since we first founded KASSL Editions. This is also why it made sense to partner with ASICS SportStyle, as they are pioneers in technical and durable footwear.
For sure! This collaboration is undoubtedly a no-brainer. And KASSL itself was in many ways built off this technical aspect, or hyper-focused attitude towards design…
KASSL Editions was founded in 2018 when a collective of friends from around Europe was brought together by an old fisherman’s coat. The coat’s simple cut, together with its extreme technical character and generous shape, was the spark to create an outerwear brand with a genderless, durable and real coat. The very first coat was produced in our (nowadays) signature oil fabric.
The KASSL defining motif.
In terms of design, the oil fabric brings this simultaneous rugged and refined attitude. It combines the functional properties of utility wear with the luxurious properties inherent to Italian fabrics. It’s the fabric that very much defines the product.
…Going back to the trainer-inspiration, what role did the oil fabric play within the design process?
We transformed the upper of the GEL-1090™ with a puckered protective sheath of this oil fabric, bonded at the sole with a hand-applied PU rubber drip. Cloaking the sneakers in oil fabric provides something of a barrier against the elements: “Protect your mind, protect your shoe, protect yourself”. Something that instantly resonates with the very core principle of the Crafts for Mind project; taking care of your mental health.
I LOVE the colourway, could you tell us about the choice (it’s bold)?
We use these occasional bold colours inspired by contemporary art in our designs. Lately, we’ve been into using this particular colour green and it’s something you will see in our current collection as well. For this specific project, we wanted to use a bold colour that really pops on your feet. Since it was a limited run of only 30 pairs, we tried to create true statement pieces.
Green seems to be THE colour of 2022. It really hits the mark! As designers, there is always a unique and often unexpected journey. How does your work embody the creative path you have been on? And how did that translate to this partnership with ASICS Sportstyle?
We believe in a new, honest high-fashion ethos. People have everything and nobody needs anything. So, to evoke desire, you need radical quality. Items that last for a lifetime. Indestructible and made to wear. When you look closely at the way and times we are living right now, this ethos is even more relevant. There is still this craving for an alternative type of luxury. People don’t need an excess of stuff. They are mindful of their decisions and prefer something that is of excellent quality.
So true. The very definition of quality has transcended tremendously over the past decade, where once luxury as defined by its gate-keeping – it is now what is able to carry us through life and be worn, worn and worn again.
At KASSL Editions we do one thing and we do that very well. We love to create wardrobe staples that become even more beautiful over time. We hope that customers cherish them, use them for layering and that it becomes a part of their wardrobe favourites. At least that’s what we hope for…
Collaboration and sustaining creativity alongside clothing is also a part of the ethos. You are not shy of collaborations!
We’ve always been open to working on amazing art and design collaborations like we did for instance with the iconic Belgian designer duo Muller Van Severen. When we do these types of collaborations the match needs to feel organic. We immediately are attracted to creatives or brands who also work very clearly with a certain material, have a tactile approach and share our values.
How does ASICS SportStyle match these values and/or approach?
In the case of ASICS, the way they work with fabric, push technical boundaries and functional form is very strong and therefore a great fit with KASSL Editions. Furthermore, we immediately felt personally connected and eager to work together on this and support Mind.
A collaboration therefore not just of design and technicality, but also values – raising awareness for Mind. An amazing organization.
Yes. Mind is a mental health charity that provides support to anyone experiencing a mental health problem and raises awareness and understanding around mental health in general.
In the current (and ever-changing) world we live in, creativity is more important than ever. What is the relationship between these trainers and the contemporary world?
Developed in the German city Kassel and inspired by German contemporary art, KASSL Editions’ DNA is naturally influenced by German culture. A raw and real fashion attitude that fits into everyday life. We applied our “at once rugged and refined” design codes into the adaptations of the trainers. Offering trainers that transcend the conventional notions of gender.
How do you see these trainers expanding your archive of products?
The expansion of our entire product portfolio happened quite organically over time. As mentioned, we originally started with a series of coats in the trademark oiled fabric that felt like classics honed for a modern context. From there on we launched our first collection of Pillow bags in 2019. These were originally constructed using offcuts from production.
By using offcuts from the beginning, sustainability is inherent to the DNA.
From the beginning, we’ve been devoted to offering radical quality and finding sustainable solutions. Therefore, it made perfect sense that we would bring these leftover textiles to life and turn them into beautiful durable bags. After that, we’ve stepped into the world of home objects, like the collaboration with Muller van Severen.
Your product range, therefore, is not just growing in quantity, but also broadening its range…
We’ve always been open to exploring different product categories and this was a great opportunity to venture into footwear with the expertise and knowledge of ASICS in this field.
Thank you so much for talking us through both this collaboration and the KASSL identity! I want to end with the future… anything new we can look forward to? Maybe with ASICS Sportstyle?
Up to now, it’s been an exciting journey for both parties with the intention of making a limited release. The collaboration has been a joy to work on, so we don’t exclude the options of a follow up of the collaboration.
The founding mission of ASICS SportStyle leads back to the company’s philosophy of a Sound Mind Sound Body. Taking care of our mental health is as important as looking after our physical health in today’s hectic daily life. To underline their philosophy and bring it closer to the community, earlier this month (March 5) ASICS SportStyle hosted Uplift Berlin, an experiential event in the heart of Berlin. This activation was designed to initiate conversation, awareness and participation on the subject of movement and mind uplift. With this event, ASICS SportStyle pursues making an actionable contribution to move minds, helping them to stay balanced, creating a Sound Mind in a Sound Body… more info on the project coming soon!