THREE STRIPES ON THE ACCELERATOR.
Ever since he was a boy, Adidas designer Chris Law has been a MINI fan. A tour of Portland with a man who sees the future in the past.
Adidas employs about 2000 people in Portland, a city of 650000 on the US west coast. Surrounded by maple forest and the snowcovered peaks of the Cascades Range, Portland is situated south of Seattle, around three hours away by car. It’s where Outdoor brands, such as Pendleton and Columbia, are based and where chip manufacturer Intel employs 20 000 people. It was close by in neighbouring Beaverton that Nike set out to conquer the sports and fashion world in 1971. Some local people have even got themselves a tattoo of the famous Swoosh logo, to show how much they identify with the Adidas competitor’s birthplace. “I once had an Adidas Superstar on my skin,” says Law, “but you can’t see it any more.” His arms are covered with dozens of designs that seem to dance as his fingers flip through hundreds of cloth samples in a room called the Maker Lab, an open workshop where designers can access all kinds of tools, mockups and ma terials. Machines hum and neon tubes flicker. It smells of leather here; making shoes is still very much a craft.
Adidas and MINI are both closely connected with pop culture.