Kiko Kostadinov & ASICS Are Rewriting the Rules of Collaboration

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ASICS and Kiko Kostadinov have been working together since the pair dropped their highly-successful GEL-Burz 1 in the spring of 2018. Now, Highsnobiety can exclusively announce that Kostadinov’s relationship with ASICS is being taken to the next level.

Starting in November, Kostadinov and his team will be working closely with ASICS’ in-house stable of designers to develop a brand new line within its Sport Style category. The new, multi-year initiative will see Kostadinov advise, consult, and curate 10 new styles within the new line, the first of which will be the Kiko GEL-Kayano in November.

ASICS has built up a formidable collaborative roster of designers and labels over the past few years, which has allowed the Japanese brand to push its traditionally performance-geared products into a fashion space that a lot of sportswear companies would like to occupy, but few do with the authenticity that ASICS has been able to.

Bulgarian designer Kostadinov has been one of the standout creatives tasked with establishing ASICS in that space, so it comes as no surprise that his partnership with the brand is evolving beyond the traditional collaboration.

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“The collaboration before was strongly and only influenced by the runway idea and making sure the final product can live within this six-month period (next to mainline garments),” Kostadinov tells Highsnobiety. “The new role is really talking with the ASICS design team, their merchandising, and marketing. The idea is not to create specific products that overshadow the rest of the seasonal ASICS styles.”

Instead of acting as an outside collaborator that aims to find a balance between ASICS’ aesthetic and his own, Kostadinov will now move more in-house to create a special line of product that lives alongside ASICS other offerings — it will be ASICS by Kostadinov, not Kostadinov for ASICS.

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“We will act as curators within the ASICS company. The products, in the end, will very much be considered outside the fashion system and how they can reach as many people as possible; stripping away exclusivity and hype around certain releases,” Kostadinov says, explaining how the resulting product will be different from his past ASICS collaborations.

While the partnership can be considered an evolution of the traditional collaborative model, it doesn’t completely replace it. ASICS will still work with the likes of GmbH, Vivienne Westwood, and Awake NY. But by bringing Kostadinov and his team in-house, ASICS has secured itself the services of one of the industry’s most talented designers on a multi-year deal.

“Our job is to synchronize ASICS’ in-line message and help influence archival bring-backs and new developments,” Kostadinov says. “If any of this is translated into ASICS’ collaboration plans, this will be proof that we’ve done our job.”

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Kostadinov will have more control over a wider range of products within ASICS’ mainline. Considering his collaborative efforts with ASICS have been incredibly popular with sneakerheads, giving Kostadinov a bigger role can only be positive for everyone involved. Elevated quality, premium materials, and distinctive designs have all been hallmarks of Kiko Kostadinov x ASICS collaborations and lay the groundwork for a successful evolution in their partnership.

The first sneaker from Kostadinov’s new ASICS line, the Kiko GEL-Kayano, is expected to drop at some point in November.