Hot on the heels of its Neymar signing, Puma is adding to its soccer scorecard. The sports giant is teaming up with cult street wear label KidSuper.
KidSuper x Puma features garments, accessories and five shoe styles — KidSuper takes on the Puma Style Rider, Nitefox, Cell Dome Sock, Oslo City and Wilo slide. The look is retro and colorful with soccer inspired prints and KidSuper signature doodle graphics.
While all the shoes in the collection are takes on archival or current Puma designs, the Cell Dome sock is based on a ’60s running shoe with Velco fastenings. “It got banned from the 1968 Olympics because it was considered too high tech for the time,” laughed Dillane. “I was like ‘I HAVE to use this.”
Since KidSuper launched some 10 years ago, the brand has been growing organically, Dillane clocking up small-scale localized customization projects with Nike and Adidas in New York. This, however, is his first major global collaboration.
We discussed the project earlier in the summer, during a WhatsApp call. Dillane was at home in New York, filling up the swimming pool hastily dug out in his Brooklyn backyard to beat the soaring temperatures. Because that’s the way he rolls.
View this post on Instagram
We are just two weeks away from the biggest drop in KidSuper X Puma History haha this is one of my favorite shoes from the collection because it is so unique. The Velcro straps were inspired by Puma’s 1968 Olympic racing shoe that was banned from the Olympics for being an unfair advantage and too technologically advanced, some blame the spikes on the bottom, I blame the Velcro straps haha can’t wait to show you the rest of this collection.
“It takes up the entire space,” he said. “You can’t even open the door now so you have to jump in from the second floor window. I’m thinking of charging the public $20 a swim.”
He may or may not have been joking about the last bit. After all, this is they guy who began his entrepreneurial career selling T-shirts in his school cafeteria and started KidSuper while still studying.
Dillane revealed that all the big three sportswear labels had reached out to him but he chose Puma because they offered him the best deal.
In fact, Puma gave him completely free reign, he said.
“They allowed me to anything I wanted, like completely remake the uppers,” he said. The only stipulation was that he had to use the Puma soles. He admits that he was shocked. “I couldn’t believe they would approve what I wanted to do.”
Designers can often take their brand partnerships for granted added the KidSuper founder. “You see a lot of collaborations getting a ton of hype, but often really not doing anything apart from changing the colors.”
So what does this sort of partnership do for a brand like KidSuper — currently sold just on his own e-commerce, his little shop-cum-studio in Brooklyn and a handful of specialized stores?
“We’ll now be sold in every Puma store across the world, It legitimizes it and brings us to the next level,” he said, adding that he’s also checking off many of his childhood dreams.
In addition to the first KidSuper x Puma capsule, he has also created a soccer cleat, part of a product release scheduled for later in the year involving Arsenal soccer star Héctor Bellerín.
“He’s the fashion guy of soccer and has even walked for Louis Vuitton,” said Dillane, revealing that Bellerin has already premiered the shoe. He wore a prototype version during a training session in June.
Dillane played on the youth team of Brazilian soccer club Vitoria when he was in high school and still plays with a local club in New York. Instead of traditional models, it’s his team mates who are pictured in the collection’s lookbook.
View this post on Instagram
THE WORD IS OUT!!!! This is Top 5 greatest KidSuper things ever (it can only be topped by well me wearing them at Arsenal haha need the tryout l) THANK YOU SO MUCH TO @puma AND @hectorbellerin FOR MAKING THIS POSSIBLE. PELE, MARADONA, CRUYFF, KIDSUPER ALL HAVE THEIR OWN PUMA KING!! It is absolutely legendary. Soccer is the fundamental of all things KidSuper from creativity to the team.
According to Dillane, upwards of 20,000 shoes are being produced and he is keen to challenge the market’s current preoccupation with limited editions. “Some people want to keep the numbers super low but I think coolness doesn‘t have to come from exclusivity,” he observed. “It’s more what you do creatively as a brand.”
On the subject of creativity, in addition to having free reign when it came to the designs, Dillane was also given carte blanche as to their promotion. He chose to do his own seven episode KidSuper x Puma animation series called SCRAM.
It features cartoon versions of Bellerín, Usain Bolt, Jessie Reyez, Meechy Darko, Lolo Zouai, West Side Gun an Lil Tecca.
It was created by Dillane in collaboration with the artist Rhymez like Dimz. The series which will run on the KidSuper YouTube channel from Sept. 16, has already been teased on billboards in New York’s Times Square.
Dillane made his Paris runway debut in June 2019 as part of a raft of American brands testing the waters in the French capital. Typically, his spring ’21 show was a creative highlight of Paris Men’s Fashion Week Online in July.
It involved a stop motion animation featuring Barbie dolls with 3-D-printed heads in the image of Dillane’s heroes including soccer players Pelé, Ronaldo and Maradona. All of course wore in miniature versions of the collection.
“What I loved about the virtual shows was I felt everyone on the same playing field so it was more a competition of creativity than budget,” he concluded.
And talking of budget, prices for the Puma collab are accessible to boot, ranging from $40 to $200. Puma.com