Adidas dreams of becoming a luxury brand


In recent years, Adidas has multiplied its prestigious collaborations. Among the capsule collections of sports stars, entertainment celebrities and luxury brands, Adidas affirms its premium ambitions. The equipment manufacturer’s move to the upmarket benefits from an appropriate context. Indeed, sportswear has definitely taken its place in the luxury world. And Adidas is now well placed to match traditional luxury brands.

Health crisis, production halted: 2021 is the year of all dangers for Adidas

The luxury world has benefited from a tremendous economic recovery despite the health crisis. But sportswear is struggling for its part. And Adidas is among the most affected brands. After a 2020 heavily hit by the health crisis, 2021 further undermined the equipment manufacturer’s results. In 2021, Adidas suffered losses of an estimated 1.2 billion euros. Why is that ? In the second half of 2021, production came to a near standstill. Adidas relies on 28% of its production on factories in Vietnam, where many shutdowns have occurred for health reasons. Therefore, the brand could not maintain its normal production level. And the delivery of its best-selling models has been completely interrupted. It also took a long time for new models to emerge that were supposed to bring customers back into stores.

In such a context, the flexibility of the luxury world is the dream of the entire fashion industry. And the sporting goods manufacturer is in a good position to capitalize on it, provided it accelerates its rise in the market. The subject has been on the table for several years. Adidas has cautiously developed its presence in the luxury market. And the 2022 goal is clear: to embody this high-end move to navigate the progression of premium product sales.

From Beyoncé to Prada: How Adidas created its premium strategy

In some ways, Adidas’ expertise in sports inspiration was crucial to ensuring the success of the move to the upmarket. The equipment manufacturer is accustomed to working on its desirability with the help of sports stars. To increase its visibility, the cloverleaf brand did not hesitate to ask for extraordinary supplements.
Adidas has signed a partnership with singer Beyoncé for her sportswear brand project, Ivy Park. On February 9, the Beyoncé and Adidas collaboration created a buzz with the release of an exclusive collection, Ivy Heart. This special 2022 Valentine’s Day collection offers a variety of sportswear in the colors of love between red and pink. The advantage of this collection: A casual sportswear style that can seduce a wide audience and is far from the technical clothing usually offered by Adidas.

At the same time, adidas continues its projects with many luxury brands. Since 2019, Adidas has been collaborating regularly with Prada for their absolutely stylish sportswear collections. The last bright spot to date: last January, Prada and Adidas launched an eco-friendly project around recycled nylon. Both brands started a joint NFT project.

Enhanced interdependence between sportswear and luxury

Collaborations between sports brands and luxury brands had begun to proliferate before the health crisis. In search of a second youth, he wanted to seduce the Y generation with luxury houses, his own sneakers and sporty silhouettes. Sports brands have largely played this game, and the recent luxury ski wear trend is proving it once again. In this context, the health crisis has acted as an accelerator. Sportswear is more popular than ever with consumers seeking a freer, more casual fashion than classic styles.

Many sports equipment manufacturers dream of moving to the upper market rather than continuing to depend on luxury brands. But the step is still high for Nike or Le Coq Sportif. And in this luxury race, Adidas is definitely the top sports brand.

Adidas plays by the rules of luxury

Evidence of his recent collaboration with Gucci. At the end of February, during Milan Fashion Week, new pieces from the Adidas and Gucci collaboration paraded on the catwalk of the Italian house. Even better: They have a unique logo that mixes Adidas cloverleaf with Gucci lettering. Far from playing extra, Adidas aims to gain visibility in the luxury goods segment. The capsule collection is proof of this with pieces that are far from the sportswear wardrobe, but show a much more urban and “chic” style.

Adidas has also demonstrated its understanding of luxury issues by positioning itself around the more lifestyle vision of its brand. In December 2020, the sporting goods manufacturer collaborated with the German porcelain house Meissen. Together they made a pair of porcelain sneakers that were sold at Sotheby’s. Beyond the style exercise, Adidas was able to count on the buzz created by this shoe, which is estimated to be worth $1 million. And so he proves that he perfectly understands the logic of luxury exclusivity.