The words hype and sneaker are often synonymous.
Visionary stars like Kanye West and Pharrell, alongside brands like Adidas and Gucci, have lent their name and revived the once abandoned “dad sneaker” aesthetic with new “overbuilt” collaborations: The “mega-sneaker” fad’s most emblematic creation was the charming Triple S sneaker from Balenciaga.
Following suit, the great fashion houses like Dior, Louis Vuitton and Prada followed suit with equally enigmatic thick soled creations like the B22, Archlight, and Cloudbust respectively. Each of them sort of parodying the dad shoe, but elevating them beyond the mundane and into a new fashion paradigm: form is no longer subservient to function, design is no longer about utility, but rather an emotionally evocative memory, a throwback to a bygone era.
The trend first originating in sports brands, has finally c0me full circle with Nike, Adidas, and New Balance creating their own versions or with epic collaborations with notable designers: suddenly ridiculously fashionable thick-soled shoes are available at much lower prices. That said, there’s one brand that has been sitting at a fashionista’s epic intersection in terms of sportive provenance and fashion: It’s bold, it’s fierce, it’s unmistakable. It’s the Dentigre Tai-Chi.
Details of the Onitsuka Tiger’s Dentigre Tai-Chi are inspired by the tai chi shoes and then dynamically interpreted with Hayato Kuno’s very own worldview. With a thick sole moulded in the literal shape of a tiger’s paw, the Tai-Chi evokes the calm, stealthy progress of a tiger in the woods, approaching its prey with the considered thoughtfulness of an experienced hunter – a wise metaphor for how one should approach life’s many challenges would you agree?
The hybrid model combines the upper of the brand’s Tai-Chi-Red with the sole of the Dentigre, launched in AW20. The upper side is emblemised with oversized Onitsuka Tiger Stripes, expressing a bold fusion between styles.
Year of the Onitsuka Tiger
Well-known for heroic character designs from the Kamen Rider series and “horrors” in Japanese tokusatsu television series Golden Knight Garo, Yasushi Nirasawa is a multi-hyphenate illustrator, character designer, and model maker. The Year of the Tiger comes around once every 12 years and in commemoration, Onitsuka Tiger is pleased to announce the launch of the “Year of Onitsuka Tiger” project: a series of products with a tiger motif to be created in collaboration with a variety of artists. Among them, this particular creative visionary.
Known for his signature asymmetry, his characters have lopsided forms or multiple limbs; and anatomical imagery, with many designs having skeletal elements and/or extensive muscular detail. In Part 1 of this project, the brand collaborated with Nirasawa conjuring a special collection featuring two creatures called the OnitsukaTiger Man in blue and red with patterns inspired by Onitsuka Tiger Stripes.
The brand also commissioned Takayuki Takeya, a figure modeller, to create a one-of-a-kind “OnitsukaTiger Man” figure, unfortunately not for sale, based on the 3D illustration. The figure will be displayed at flagship stores in Omotesando and other locations. These collaboration items are scheduled to go on sale globally from January 1, 2022 in selected countries and e-commerce sites. In Singapore, it launched January 1st and is available at the Ngee Ann City boutique and can be ordered here.