In 2013 A$AP Rocky was given a sneaker collaboration with adidas on a pair of all-black Jeremy Scott Wings sneakers, and it was only a matter of time before his right-hand man, A$AP Ferg, got his chance to work with the brand, too.
It's two years later and a lot has changed for the A$AP Mob since those days. They've lost their mentor, A$AP Yams, and it's directly affecting Ferg's project with adidas, as he's chosen to dedicate the sneaker he designed to the late Yams.
The collection comes in the form of two "Hood Pope" colorways of the adi-Ease skateboarding shoe, along with a T-shirt featuring a painting of Yams that Ferg did himself.
With Art Basel taking place in Miami right now, adidas and Ferg have gone down to Florida to open an art gallery, titled "Always Strive and Prosper," for the collection, which opens today at 9 p.m. at 337 SW 8th St.
The sneakers also released today, too, and can be purchased here for $70. To further understand how this sneaker collaboration came about and how much Yams influenced it, we spoke to Ferg himself.
How'd you first get connected with adidas?
Me and adidas go way back, when [A$AP] Rocky dropped his first shoe with them. I was going to all the meetings with Rocky, so I became a familiar face in the building. It seemed to work, and they was like, “Man we got to work together.”
How long did it take from that point until they were going to give you a sneaker?
The conversation was always there, they just wanted to see where I was going as an artist. They wanted to live with me a little bit to see my brand, to see my lifestyle, so they can know how to market me. I think we did pretty well as far as marketing, and the shoe design is dope, which I designed myself, and they really understand my brand, Trap Lord. From there we were able to put out a good product.
Was it always that you were going to do a skateboarding shoe, or was that decision made later on?
It was made later on. We were just talking about different ideas and concepts. But they thought it was a good idea because I mentioned BMX bike riding. And you know BMX and skateboarding go hand in hand. All the kids from Harlem are either riding bikes or skateboards, and we all hung out together. So they thought it would be a perfect shoe for me to do.
You said you designed the shoe. What was the process like?
At first, it was real minimal. I was going on an upscale route using different swatches with nubuck and suede and leather. We were going through all of these different ideas, and then I finally got the sample in and it was too plain. I wanted to have more of my lifestyle in it. That’s when I went to go paint the painting of Yams and tribute a shoe to Yams. I did all of the Trap Lord logos everywhere with “Always Strive and Prosper” on the side. I figured kids would love that even if they didn’t want to wear it. They'd want to put it in a glass box or have it as a collector’s item just to remember.
And also it’s just a dope shoe. Like the shoe is comfortable for those who skateboard or ride bikes or even just to look fly in. I want to do something for everybody. I wanted to connect with everybody. Whether you’re young or older you can wear this shoe.
What was it like deciding to dedicate the shoe to Yams? I know you wanted to make sure it was completely right before you put it out.
I just thought it was only right. It was a no-brainer, like I had to do something for Yams, and I thought this would be a perfect way to do it. All the proceeds go to Yams' mom. We're going to give all the proceeds from the art gallery show to Yams' mom. I wanted to do something in his name for a good cause and kind of make light of the whole situation, because everybody gets sad and down because we lost a great one. I wanted to celebrate his name and show people how great of a person he was, how artistic he was, and how much of a vision he had. So through the painting, I drew a vision coming out of his eyes, him building a world with the globe in his hands, the blueprint of A$AP below him, to just show the vision he had. This is more of a celebration of Yams.
Would it be safe to say that you said that Rocky introduced you to Adidas guys, but if it wasn’t for Yams you would be in this spot or have an adidas collection?
If it wasn’t for Yams, a lot of us would be in the situation we are in. We have to thank Yams for a lot. We all are artists in our unique ways, but Yams brought it to another level. We were artists but Yams knew how to market it and put it out to the world.
Is this a one-off or do you have more with adidas coming in the future?
Adidas is a family now. I’m pro-adidas, and I think this is going to be an ongoing thing.
Will it always be in the skateboard category, or do you see yourself branching out?
I see myself doing more skateboarding shoes and also branching off to the different sides of stuff, because I want to work with the different realms of adidas. I’m really good friends with Jeremy Scott.
With adidas' roster now, I know a lot of people are talking about how the brand has Kanye, they have Pusha, they have Big Sean, Rocky, and you. Does it feel like a record label at times?
It is almost like a record label because we all support one another. It’s like my team, ASAP Mob: If Rocky has a show, I’m coming out to his show. If I have an in-store, that means Kanye or Rocky might coming out to my in-store. We support one another. Big Sean is a good friend of mine. Pusha, I supported him when adidas did his album release party. We all show up to one another's events, and we really are just like a big family. We're like brothers, and shout out to all the sisters, like Rita Ora.