“It was so random that it made complete sense.” That’s how Eladio Correa, Etnies’ brand marketing manager, describes the shoe company’s partnership with Cartoon Network’s adult-oriented Adult Swim division. Despite his initially nonchalant recollection of the deal’s inception, the concept actually came together when reps from both brands met in 2006 at the Pool trade show, a semi-annual fashion and lifestyle expo. “I started thinking that it would be awesome to do a collaboration with them,” says Correa. “When we started talking about the creative end of it and the possibilities, it was like the sky’s the limit. The Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie [was about to] come out, and that’s how we narrowed it to that one [for the focus].”
After almost two years of planning, the deal produced two funky kicks, one in green suede and the other in brown leather, both of which were styled after Etnies’ established Jameson sneaker. Retailing for $69 in a full range of men’s sizes (5–13), the Adult Swim + Etnies kicks (etnies.com) were rolled out in October. The green shoe features the Ignignokt and Err characters from Adult Swim’s top-rated cartoon show Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Only 300 pairs of the shoes, available at specialty stores like Dave’s Quality Meat and Supreme, were created.
The brown shoe was more widely released, with 1,800 pairs hitting the streets. Although the full-grain leather is laser etched with a mash-up of popular Adult Swim characters, like Robot Chicken, Master Shake, Frylock and the Venture Brothers, the final design came about by chance. “We were doing stationary in house, and I was doing these intricate drawings,” says Jake Escobedo, Adult Swim’s creative director. “One day, Brandon Lively [Adult Swim’s senior designer], who was working on the brown shoe, came into my office and saw the drawings and just scanned it [for the design].”
Falling in line with the streetwear-pin trend, the sneakers come with an added-value lapel pin of Ignignokt. The recognizable character’s face is also embossed on the toe, while his sidekick, Err, is on the pink insole, and the matching outer sole features their spaceship in white. Giving consumers the option to match either the sole or the embossing, the green pair comes with pink and blue laces, while the more subdued brown sneaker comes with blue and brown laces. Both feature Etnies’ classic cup sole, which protects skaters from impact. Says Correa, “You can skate in it, but it’s clean and classic.”
Moving forward, Etnies and Adult Swim are intent on continuing their working relationship, with plans for more than just kicks in the future. In fact, Correa calls this a moderate start, compared with what’s possible. “With Adult Swim and this collaboration, we wanted to start off more conservative and as we work on other future collections maybe go a little broader,” he says. “Generally what Etnies likes to do—we don’t partner with too many people, and when we do, we like it to be longer-lasting relationships.” —Meaghan Dorman
- #etines_postEtnies Eladio Correa & Adult Swim's Jake EscobedoAdult Swim + Etnies designers
- etines_brown-galleryAdult Swim + Etnies Brown Shoe
- etines_green-galleryAdult Swim + Etnies Green Shoe