By Barry Janoff
Janaury 16, 2016: Adidas has already put athletic shoes and sportswear on players in soccer, basketball, hockey, tennis, college and other sports around the world.
Now, adidas is boldly going where no athletic wear firm has gone before by preparing to outfit pilots headed to other-worldly adventures.
Y-3, a collaboration between adidas and Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto formed more than more than ten years ago to create and market high-end sportswear, has been signed by Virgin Galactic to "take on the challenge of jointly designing and then producing the complete range of garments required for our commercial spaceflight operations."
Virgin Galactic, under the auspices of Sir Richard Branson, has stated as its mission, "To become the spaceline for Earth; democratizing access to space for the benefit of life on Earth."
According to Virgin Galactic, "We’re focused on getting SpaceShipTwo and LauncherOne into commercial service," and some "700 future astronauts have already paid deposits for their flights on SpaceShipTwo," with LauncherOne to be used as a shuttle by other companies to transport equipment to and from space satellites and space stations."
In October 2014, a SpaceShipTwo crashed during a test flight, killing one pilot and seriously injuring the other.
More than create footwear that would withstand the rigors of slam dunks and bend-it-like-Beckham soccer kicks or sportswear that can take a beating on the gridiron, Y-3 has been charged with producing garments and shoes that would keep Captain Kirk and Major Tom not only safe and fully operational, but also looking good.
During the alliance launch in Spaceport America in New Mexico this past Thursday (Jan. 14), the design heads from both Y-3 and Virgin Galactic revealed the prototype flight-suit and shoes to be worn by the space pilots.
"Everything is done for a functional reason. The ability to move freely about the cockpit and operate the spaceship," said Lawrence Midwood, senior director design, adidas Y-3, said in a supporting spot to reveal the alliance with Y-3 as well as prototype designs. "And safety is obviously of paramount importance.
Under the agreement with Virgin Galactic, Y-3 will be responsible for everything from flight-suits for our future astronauts and pilots, to garments worn by our operations and maintenance teams as well as our hosting staff.
Y-3 joins Land Rover as a lead sponsor for Virgin Atlantic.
Footwear now on the market from Y-3 can cost upward of $400, jackets as much as $700.
"It's very pioneering. It's very bold. It's something that will change how we view life on this planet," said Adam Wells, head of design for Virgin Galactic. We are developing what is truly original. The first reaction you should have to it is that it's unfamiliar."
According to Wells, although the goal is to outfit space pilots, the collaboration with Y-3 will also be used to "explore the potential to create innovative apparel and accessories — both for our staff and for our pioneering customers — that is appropriately functional and fit-for-purpose, is thoughtfully and elegantly crafted, and is fulfilling and fun to wear and use.
“Our evolution into a fully-functioning spaceline presents unprecedented opportunities to create original designs in support of our unique customer experience.," said Wells. "The greatest synergy we have with Y-3 is that it is a forward-looking enterprise that is looking to define the future."
Back to Home Page