October 8, 2013 BY Aaron Kr. / 6
SN: Knowing that these projects are worked on so far in advance, how aware were you of the inline “Kill Bill” Saga release that Asics was doing? Is that what sparked the concept for you guys or did your idea come independently?
Bernie: We had been coordinating with the Asics guys, trying to work around schedules when we finally set up a time to present our ideas and initial designs, which included a colorway for our protagonist in the film series. Literally days before the meeting, we get the sales sheet for a yellow and black Gel Saga with blood splatter, almost the exact same model and colorway as one of our designs. When we showed the presentation, they were amused at how similar our Saga design was to theirs. Truth be told, it was the same yellow and black, except our blood splatter was throughout the upper, and the striping had the black snake skin which all our other “Death List 5” models also have.
Needless to say, that one wasn’t accepted, but the mere fact that we had already prepared to celebrate this momentous piece of Onitsuka Tiger/Asics history was why they were confident in pursuing the collaboration. Fortunately for us, we already had the other characters’ designs to present. From then on out, the focus was the villains who make up the Death List Five and are a huge component to the film. It’s actually great that Asics had their inline release for the hero in order for us to then focus the attention on the rest of the cast, which I think is more important because they are the driving force for the revenge plot.
Jason: I always find myself gravitating towards the stories of the villains in movies. I also like how we view ourselves as a brand/store and the connection we feel to the disruptive nature of a villain.
SN: Please give us the breakdown of how each of the colorways and its materials relate to their respective characters.
Bernie: Although we wanted each model to have unique colorway, the challenge was have a unifying element to ensure the continuity of all being a part of the DL5 collection. And so, we decided to give each model snakeskin in the Asics brand striping, which ties in the idea that each assassin had a snake-inspired codename.
The overall color blocking for the ‘Cottonmouth’ Gel Saga isn’t inspired by the character per se, but more so the epic setting of her death. The quiet, serene Japanese garden is the last place you’d expect a battle, but it’s the perfect mood and aesthetic to juxtapose the gravity of the scene. The entire upper shows the deep indigo of dusk skies melding into the snowy ground, soft snowflakes on the midsole, and a custom stitched inner lining to reference the character’s scalp being sliced off to reveal the top of her brain. We played around with a few options, but we liked the suede toe dueling a white pebbled leather heel. Micro-mesh nylon facilitated the gradient effect the best, working out in our favor because it’s one of the OG Asics materials that we love and is seldom appreciated by the new wave of Asics consumers.
The ‘Copperhead’ Gel Lyte III is a more straight forward take of its respective villain. The micron upper in vibrant royal blue with black and white accents is taken from Copperhead’s velour track jacket, complimented by a grey pinstripe midsole that came from her pants; a quintessential piece to a suburban soccer mom’s attire. We flipped it by dropping the aesthetic into the midsole, which we felt really gives the shoe some character and makes it stand out.