The second level of Pedder on Scotts, a mid-sized mall near Orchard Road in Singapore, was lashed with stripes on Friday night–Onitsuka Tiger stripes in particular.
This year, the brand is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its iconic stripes first seen on the Limber Up Kawa BK style designed for the pre-trials of the Mexico ’68 Games. The shoe has since become Onitsuka Tiger’s most popular in its collection and is now simply known as Mexico 66.
The distinct stripes can also be seen on every pair of ASICS shoes as the Latin maxim “Anima Sana In Corpore Sano” (sound mind, sound body) was the ethos behind Kihachiro Onitsuka’s creation of Onitsuka Tiger in 1949.
The company’s original mission was “to help the youths of Japan after the War ended [since they] believed playing sports was the best way to unite people and connect communities.”
To mark the 50th anniversary of Mexico 66, Asics Asia Pte. Ltd. tapped 50 Singaporean artists to treat a pair of Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66 shoes as their canvas. The resulting exhibit is titled “M66: Of Different Stripes.”
“We were familiar with the work of many of the artists so we simply asked them if they wanted to participate in the project,” Singapore-based Asics marketing executive Aaron Han told Inquirer Lifestyle.
The 50 artists had roughly a month to plan and execute their design. “They were given a free hand. The only reminders were that they should not alter the stripes and that it should still look like a pair of shoes,” Han said.
As expected, the results were startling and varied. Lucinda Law painted delicate cactus plants on her pair which she titled “Carminas” after “Mexico’s tiny, spirited cochineal insects and prickly pear cactus feeders, which produce the pigment called carmin.”
The artist Amien decorated the front part of the shoes with a pair of lions outlined in gold. “In Asian history, pairs of stone lions were perceived as guardians or protectors.’Shishi’ is the melding of ancient East’s rich cultures with the contemporary life,” the artist explained.
A pair of black appliqued skulls and punk studs decorate a black and white pair of Mexico 66 by designers Andrew Loh and Kenny Lim. The duo behind the fashion label Depression chose to name their creation “Black.”
“We gave the shoes our signature touch: a studded leather harness with destroyed edges for a ‘street goth meets urban ninja’ aesthetic,” they said.
Trey Wong studded his pair with over 2,000 wiggly eyes then coated the shoes’ iconic stripes with glitter “to contrast with the predominantly black and white design.”
Keep an eye out also for Muhammad Ali, a glitter-bombed pair, and another one with a unicorn horn and golden plaited hair.
The 50th anniversary Onitsuka Tiger exhibit will be on view at Pedder on Scotts until Aug. 14.