Ever since he was a boy, Adidas originals head of design Chris Law has been a MINI fan. I was lucky to go on tour of Portland with this man who sees the future in the past for MINI insider magazine.
“Shoes and cars have a lot in common when it comes to design,” says Chris Law, 48, Front, back and sides – the proportions have to be just right. Plus, he says, sneakers and cars serve a similar purpose. “They’re both ways of getting about for people keen to impress.” Style and colour say a lot about a person’s character, too.
“The MINI inspires me every day anew,” says Law. “It’s a timeless classic and amazingly well proportioned.” The little indigo car stand ing out in the rain in the car park is Law’s tenth MINI. He bought the first one, a 1275 GT, when he was just a young man of 18 in Britain, where grew up in Bedford, north of London. After studying design, he and two friends started an online platform called Crooked Tongues, where sneaker fans from all over the world could share pictures and discuss shoes. This was followed by work in the shoe industry for big brands, such as Converse and Clarks, as well as small streetwear labels like Addict. For the past five years, Law has been designing footwear and apparel for Adidas in Portland. In the sneakerloving community, he’s considered a legend – also because he has created shoes for hiphop star Snoop Dogg and the group WuTang Clan.
As Law drives through town, his 1968 MINI puts a smile on people’s faces and many of them wave. When he stops at a light, they take pictures with their smart phones. Law drives a car that elicits a universally positive response.
But the Adidas designer certainly doesn’t only live in the past, and has plenty of good things to say about current MINI models as well. He likes both the Pepper White MINI 3door Hatch and the Chili Red MINI 5door Hatch that we reporters drove as we followed him through town. “MINI has succeeded in transporting its iconic design into the future,” asserts Law. This is something not many brands have managed, in his view, although Adidas is one of them, as well. He sees quite a bit of similarity between these two established brands. “Both are closely connected with pop culture,” he says. MINI exemplifies the chic of Swinging Sixties London to this day, whereas Adidas evokes the early days of hiphop culture in New York. Law’s employer is currently coop erating with artists such as Kanye West; MINI surrounds itself with architects and urban planners, supports startups and creates coworking spaces. Both brands cultivate their heritage while at the same time positioning themselves in today’s creative culture.