It’s been 10 years since Massachusetts retailer Concepts released its first collaboration with Nike SB, a pair of Dunks that were made to represent the lobster and what it means to its New England roots. The shoe was met with significant fanfare and was followed up the next year by a “Blue Lobster” version of the sneaker and marketing plan that caused mass hysteria in the Boston area. There was also a friends-and-family-only "Yellow Lobster" was given to friends and family. Flash forward a decade, and Concepts is back at it. This time it’s working on a “Purple Lobster” edition of the same shoe, which is set to release on December at Concepts on 14 and on SNKRS on the 15th for $130, and was debuted by Kyrie Irving on Sneaker Shopping.
It’s always risky to rework a classic. You don’t want to water down the energy and legacy of the original shoe, and you don’t want to put out a product that no one in the market wants right now. Concepts had flirted with the Lobster theme earlier this year, remixing it for Irving’s fourth signature Nike sneaker in a “Green Lobster” colorway. “We knew we didn't want to revisit the original colors. We had some reservations even bringing it back to begin with,” says Concepts Creative Director, Deon Point. “Personally, I thought we would never revisit this again, but the timing just felt right being that a decade had passed.”
Point admits that they came upon some roadblocks when working on this shoe, and that it wasn’t as easy as just redoing the Lobster a decade later. “The ten-year anniversary color palette just wasn't resonating with us. We had mocked up just about every color imaginable but struggled with the storyline to have it make sense,” he says. “We wanted to pay homage to the original two we designed [the Yellow Lobster was a gift from the SB team], so in its simplest form the red and blue together combine to make purple. There will be some other reasons for this colorway we will unveil leading up to launch, too.”
It makes it easier more sense for the Purple Lobster to come out in 2018. Nike SB, which has been struggling both financially and through brand relevance for years, is now on a hot streak again. There have been hyped releases such as three new versions of the Diamond Supply Co. x Nike SB Dunks, and rappers like Travis Scott and ASAP Rocky have embraced the brand that first came out in 2002. “The kids that used to cop retro Jordans were the same ones camping for SBs. Now we are seeing the kids that missed out on the initial energy wanting to be a part of the retro SB craze that I believe is starting to garner more interest,” says Point. “I think we are doing our part to keep the energy alive. It’s easier when the SB crew has always allowed us the liberties to tell it from our lens even if we have caught a little heat. Rest assured we are going to do some things that have never been done with this launch as well.”
It’s hard for Concepts to top the two previous Lobster releases. Not only are they both great sneakers, but they symbolize a more pure era in sneakers that many are nostalgic for these days. Concepts flirted with the idea of launching them out of a lobster roll truck at ComplexCon this year, although it never materialized, and they’re also launching a special edition can of Narragansett’s Fresh Catch blonde ale. The previous packaging on the Lobster shoes included lobster crates and more.
There was still a lot of madness at the Blue Lobster release, however. Point recalled to Complex in 2016 that one kid who had lined up for the shoes got lured away from the lineup by a girl, then was subsequently tased by her friends, robbed, and didn’t have money for the shoes. Concepts also created signs that they posted up around Boston warning people to stay out of the water due, to the Blue Lobsters.
The Blue Lobster will always be significant to Point, too, especially because of the buzz they were able to build around the shoe. “The Blue will always be near and dear to my heart,” he says. “What we did utilizing Twitter in its infancy while managing to keep the launch itself a secret until the week of release was just so crazy and unlike any other drops at that time. All of that said what we plan on rolling out for the Purple will keep it in a league by itself.”
When asked if the Purple Lobster release can live up to the hype of its predecessors and be as crazy as Point simply says, “Absolutely.