This launch furthers its connections with the music and rave culture of the late eighties and early nineties. A time when cars of clubbers would turn up to a field or warehouse, plug in some Technics 1210’s, and dance their nuts off to the sounds of 808 state. People expressed themselves through a love of music and a show of fashion back then and SPEZIAL channels that brilliantly with ‘Acid Winter’.
The man behind the collection, now in its 4th year is Gary Aspden. He’s known all over the world and knows all there is to know about adidas, having worked with the brand since the early Nineties. He’s also a Darwen lad so I hold him in pretty high esteem, we fired him over a few questions below…
What’s your favourite ever item from your collections?
It changes all the time – depends what mood I am in. From this season’s range, I think the Punstock SPZL is the best leisure shoe we have done and the zx452 SPZL is the best running shoe we’ve done.
What inspires you to keep going?
We all have to make a living – fortunately I make mine doing something that I am into and on the whole I love doing.
How would your friends best describe you?
Depends which ones you asked … I am very loyal to my friends. Most of my friends have been in my life for 2-3 decades. I know the difference between friends and associates.
Who is your hero or who do you look up to?
A lot of my heroes are unfortunately dead … A lot of my musical heroes are people whose music I am a fan of but looking up to people is something very different to liking what they produce. They say not to meet your heroes, as they will only disappoint you – that’s not been my experience. Steve Jones (the Sex Pistol not the Welsh TV presenter) and Ian Brown are two of my favourite people from two of my favourite bands and whilst they are both iconic musicians they remain unaffected which I greatly admire. Furthermore they have both always looked out for me.
I try not to look up to people too much nowadays. As I have got older I have realised that everyone is flawed and fallible to some degree, however, there are people who have qualities I respect. She might not like me saying it but I have huge admiration for my girlfriend. She is a midwife who has worked for the NHS for thirty years. The staffing levels have been cut which must put her and her colleagues under tremendous strain along with the huge responsibility that rests on their shoulders. She works long hours in an environment that is stretched for little money and just gets on with it – never moans. She hasn’t had a day off sick in forever. Talk to her if you want to get some perspective on what matters.
What’s your favourite song?
That’s an impossible question but for the purposes of your interview, I will say ‘F.E.A.R.’ by Ian Brown. I have an emotional attachment to that one.
Where did the inspiration come for SPEZIAL?
The adidas archive coupled with my personal experiences.
How did you get to start naming them after legendary local Lancashire places? Anymore Darwen themed names in the pipeline?
I like to celebrate where I am from as its something I take great pride in – plus getting permission to use names legally is always a minefield. I have also used some names from Greater Manchester, Merseyside, London and other parts of the UK. So it isn’t purely about Lancashire although I do like to show love to the place where I am from. It just depends which names get clearance.
Can we get a book out soon on all the cool items you’ve released over time?
Never thought about it … Although I have kept a complete archive of every SPEZIAL piece we have made so maybe one day. Who knows?
What’s your favourite thing about up north or Manchester?
My friends and family … The music … The style … The mentality … And Darwen moors.
Finally, Best Hacienda night you went to?
I first went to the Hacienda to a hip hop all dayer one Saturday in 1985 but my first Friday night in there at the end of August 1988 was the one that blew my mind … There were about 18 months where it was incredible in there. I didn’t like what happened to it beyond 1990. Respect to new order and the good people of factory for having the vision to give the north of England a club like that.
The Acid Winter range will again launch in two drops and will feature eight new Trainers, along with some great apparel too. There is a distinct 80’s pastel colour palette throughout and is inspired by the Warehouse parties and the culture that came from the Acid House era. The SPEZIAL collection first drop launches on the 7th September in selected stores and online.