Interview: David Obadia of BWGH Talks Sneaker Collaboration With Puma and Mark Rothko Inspiration

We talk with David Obadia of Brooklyn We Go Hard about the Bluefield Project with Puma that consists of an incredible R698 special make-up.

Brooklyn We Go Hard has emerged as a streetwear favorite. The Parisian brand's signature pieces can be found in just about any of the primetime shops we consider to be the best in the world. The brand also established some incredible collaborations, especially with one of streetwear's leading men, Ronnie Fieg. All of these things are attributable to the brilliant mind of David Obadia, the man behind the brand, who has again gone outside the box to create something unique with actual meaning. 

Whether it's the name of the item or the materials used, Obadia's designs are never done without some significance behind it. So we knew that a brilliant collaboration with Puma had a fantastic story behind it and we just had know what it was. We reached out to Obadia to discuss the inspiration behind the collaboration's signature piece; a special make-up of the R698 sneaker. 

Interview by Nick Grant (@nicholasgrant)

How did you and Puma come up with the idea to do a collaboration?

All the collaborations are result of meeting and working with new people. The meeting with Puma came from a recommendation by Greg Hervieux from Black Rainbow. He introduced me to the director of the "Select" department at Puma—in charge of relationships with the influencers—who is a young talented man. And it soon became a friendship adventure as we shared immediately common ambitions and the same vision.

What's the inspiration behind the sneaker's design, colors, etc.?

As you may know, I have always thought BWGH as a complete label closely linked to the art universe, and not only as a clothing brand. My passion for contemporary art is pivotal to all my creative work.

For this shoe, the color palette—an applied gradiation of intense blues—is a tribute to Mark Rothko. I drew inspiration from the work of this American painter and from the Colorfield Painting movement that he has contributed to create. I love the way he sees colors, as a true and complete language. I chose the design of the R698, a popular Puma model that I loved, and imagined it with all the BWGH codes: the bouclé knit, our signature, the mottled laces, the suede and the mesh that reflect my taste for natural materials.

The film is incredible. I love the portrayal of a running shoe able to work for anyone in any lifestyle. From the hardcore athlete to the artist and everything in between. How would you describe this in your own words?

With three main story lines, I wanted to give the vision of physical and artistic performance to illustrate the meeting between Puma, a giant of sportswear, and the artistic point of view of BWGH. The notion of performance is the key point in the video: it translates the intense and exciting work of creation. The omnipresent blue color symbolizes this idea of intensity and passion. It is the link between different scenes and characters.

I wanted to give the vision of physical and artistic performance to illustrate the meeting between Puma, a giant of sportswear, and the artistic point of view of BWGH.

 BWGH is the king of collabs, especially with your good friend, Ronnie Fieg. Since he's had his hand in some excellent sneaker collabs, did you go to him for any advice on your first sneaker collab?

I really love the work of Ronnie Fieg, who’s been acting as my mentor since day onead and has now become a really good friend, which means a lot to me. I did not consult him directly on creative matters, because I had a clear idea of what I wanted and I think that the creative work is really hard to share. But from a general point of view, I like to consult him because he is always a good advisor! 

One of my favorite questions to ask you because I never know what to expect: what's next for BWGH? Anymore big news we could get some inside information on?

The Bluefield project, composed of a pair of sneakers, a skateboard and a backpack, is the first drop of a more complete partnership with Puma. We are now working of a complete wardrobe for Autumn/Winter 2014, with strong outerwear pieces, and still a lot of accessories. While working on it, a few other projects are being planned. I hope that we are still going to surprise you.

The BWGH x Puma R698 Sneaker and Backpack will be available via BWGH's online shop starting Friday, December 6 and available at select retailers beginning Saturday, December 7. The limited edition Skatedeck will be randomly given away and will not be available for purchase.