Fashion

Commonwealth x Adidas Release the Adidas Consortium Commonwealth ZX 500

Co-founders Mike Concepcion and Omar Quiambao share a candid account of the collaborative process with the Three Stripes.
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Commonwealth has long been a favorite place for sneakerheads to cop the latest drops or just to hang out with fellow enthusiasts while appreciating good design. The lifestyle boutique is a top-tier retailer that gets first dibs on all the good stuff, and this month sees the shop taking its partnership with Adidas to the next level with the release of their ZX 500 RM collab.

A clean white base with translucent paneling and soft aquatic detailing sits on top of a Boost midsole along with tastefully low-profile branding. We met up with co-founders Mike Concepcion and Omar Quiambao during the shoe's launch party to find out exactly what it's like to collaborate with a big sporting brand like Adidas.

ESQUIRE: First off, why did you pick the ZX 500 as the sneaker to work on?

Omar Quiambao: Like any true collab, it comes from both sides, and trying to figure out the goals of both. The ZX 500 was part of an Adidas initiative to reintroduce the ZX catalog. We were selectedas well as other partners like Hender Scheme and Shelflife in South Africato do our spin on the shoe.

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ESQ: Was it Adidas that reached out to you guys or the other way around?

OQ: We sit down with the Adidas Consortium sales and marketing team twice a year in Paris and, while we feel extremly fortunate to be part of that elite tier of retailers, we understand that not every retailer gets a project. Being who we are, we feel we have a distinct point of view, so we pitched it.

It was a conversation, but [the desire] to do the project came more from us first. Because, obviously, they can choose whoever they want, but we said, “Hey, we would love a shot at a project with you guys,” and we were delightfully surprised that they were open to receiving a pitch from us.

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ESQ: How long did the collab take from that initial pitch to final form?

OQ: We sat down in Paris six months later and took all the things we liked and put them back together. Sampling alone took about a year, so beginning from the conversation and everything, it took maybe just under two years.

ESQ: When it comes to the actual sneaker design, how much input does Adidas have in the process?

OQ: Plenty. The fortunate thing about us at Commonwealth is that not all retailers have a design backgroundthat’s kind of what I do for a living right? So it was a complete collaborative process for us. Within that deck we sent for our proposal, it included mood boards, inspiration photos, color palettes, fabrication, even the initial colorway. They told me it was probably one of the more detailed pitches they've received. They then did their versions of the shoe, and that was the first round.

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ESQ: What is the design story behind it?

OQ: We had just opened up our second door here in the Philippines and we’re about to open up our store in LA. Then, we didn't know if this was going to be our one shot with Adidas, so we didn't want to have one singular story from one singular location of our stores. What's unique about us is we’re bi-coastal in the US and international in the Philippines, so it would be unfair to do something just inspired by Virginia Beach, or just by Los Angeles, for example.

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So we took the commonality of being coastal locations and used that as a loose inspiration. We kind of took the ideas of transparency and fluidity, so that's why we have transparent mesh, lightweight materials.

Mike Concepcion: Pops of color you’d see in a coral reef.

OQ: We wanted a white shoe because we wanted to have a pretty broad audience. Then, once you picked up the shoe, you’d notice the subtle nuances and details. We didn't want it too novelty and too select. Like we said, we never know if this would be our only project so we wanted it clean and timeless.

ESQ: Seeing other legendary retailers come up with theirs, was it always a goal to create a sneaker collab? 

OQ: It was definitely on the list that hopefully people find our perspective interesting enough to work with us. It's huge and a big honor.

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ESQ: Let's talk rarity. How many pairs of the Commonwealth ZX 500 are there?

OQ: We actually don't have that information. We know how many we have for our store. We know how the distribution process worksit's only available in Consortium doorsbut we dont have the info of how many each store in the group has.

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MC: That's why this project is exciting too because this storyline we’ve created will be represented globally, in shops all over the world.

ESQ: Finally, how many pairs of the collab are you two stashing away on ice?

MC: I haven't thought of that!

OQ: I did! I always keep two pairs to put on ice. I usually wear the sample because I'm sample size. It's because I wear shoes really heavythey get dirty fast. Usually, I'd only keep one but this one is different.

MC: I'd say thats about right. I'm already beating up my first pair [right now] so, yeah, two more!

The Adidas Consortium Commonwealth ZX 500 RM (P9,300) is available at Commonwealth Power Plant Mall, Greenbelt, and SM Aura.

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Ash Mahinay
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