footwear by Louis Tambue September 22, 2020
2021 is looking like the year of the Puma takeover.
If you have been paying attention to the landscape within fashion regarding lifestyle, sports and footwear, you would have recognized the substantial resurgence that Puma has made recently.
Over the past few years, Puma has reclaimed its spot in the conversation among the top brands today. Harkening back to the impact that Puma made in the year 2018, it was clear that the brand set out to infiltrate the market from multiple angles to generate the attention of the public. And with this short- and long-term strategy, the brand was primed for a Puma takeover.
This excitement came on the heels of Puma’s acquisition of hip-hop legend Nipsey Hussle. Nipsey brought his highly revered TMC brand to Puma’s lifestyle department.
Then there was the recruitment of Jay-Z as head of the relaunch of Puma’s Basketball division.
Since then, Puma Basketball has begun assembling its empire. The brand has signed DeAndre Ayton, Skylar Diggins, projected NBA draft lottery pick LaMelo Ball and even J. Cole.
Puma has a deeply-rooted history within New York and hip-hop at large. With sneaker models like the Puma Clyde, Suede, GV Special and Roma, these signings remain true to the brands legacy.
Looking deeper into the work Puma has done, it is apparent that while the brand is striving to propel the innovation of its footwear in creating new models like the Puma Clyde Hardwood, it has also put an emphasis on championing its classic models.
It is this sentiment that can be attributed to the success that Puma has achieved in marketing its revitalization. A revitalization that, with one of the biggest stars in the world, is primed to begin the biggest stage of the Puma takeover.
Recently, Puma has cemented a new massive deal with Paris Saint-Germain superstar forward Neymar Jr. This comes after his 15-year partnership with Nike. The announcement was made on the Puma website, simply stating “THE KING IS BACK,” welcoming Neymar into the family.
While this signing may come as a surprise to some, Neymar made his motivations clear behind joining team Puma. Especially following his statement to sport the Puma KING boot, one of soccer’s most historically significant cleats of all time.
In wearing this classic boot on the field rather than using Puma’s newer models or perhaps beginning his own signature line of cleats, Neymar’s intentions reside in carrying the torch.
And placing himself in the circle of legendary soccer athletes that have made history in the KING such as Pelé, Johan Cruyff and Diego Maradona. In Neymar’s individual announcement on Twitter, he had this to say about the signing and what wearing the Puma King means to him:
“I grew up watching videos of great football legends such as Pele, Cruyff, Matthaus, Eusebio and Maradona … These were the kings of the pitch, the kings of my sport. And they had something in common — a love of the game, a drive to be the best version of themselves and a spirit that unites all.”
Neymar concluded, “It’s not always about being the best or the greatest, but instead, to inspire future generations. That is exactly what I have dreamt of for myself, to give all of me to football because football has given me everything I have. I want to do it my way, using my gift.”
In signing a player of Neymar’s caliber as the poster child in rejuvenating such a substantial piece of soccer history in the KING, Puma has made the perfect chess move in its journey to regaining supremacy within sportswear altogether.
On top of the headway that Puma has been making throughout the year, one of its most notable aspects is the assertive effort that the brand has put towards collaborating with designer brands.
There have been numerous collaborations released by Puma this year including highly favored brands like Rhude, Von Dutch, The Hundreds (very under rated in my opinion), and most recently KidSuper.
In light of these partnerships, it is possible that Puma has become a hot spot for collaboration, presenting itself as a company that is enjoyable to work with.
Furthermore, the diversity in the product being released is telling of the fact that Puma is welcoming when it comes to giving designers the creative freedom in the midst of collaboration. Prime examples of a high-functioning company… ready for a Puma takeover.
We reached out to the founder of KidSuper, Colm Dillane. He expressed his satisfaction and gratitude towards Puma for the leeway that the brand gave his creative team throughout the process of the collaboration. He had this to say:
KH: Being a New York designer and working with a brand like Puma that has a rich history in the city of NY… what did this collaboration mean to you?
KidSuper: This collaboration meant the world to me. Because it was my first time working with a brand that was going to do a global collaboration outside of NY. It’s in the Taiwan Puma store as well as Indonesia, Russia, Canada, all of Europe… it’s everywhere!
For me, what was important was to do this global collab but make it feel true to NY, and that’s why the models are all my soccer team, each item features my artwork adding the KidSuper element to it, and the release has a cartoon with it.
The whole point was to try and make it feel authentic while using Puma’s ability to make it huge. The cartoon features Usain Bolt, Hector Bellerine, Westside Gunn, Action Bronson and there’s a soccer cleat coming too… New York and Puma come together.
KidSuper: People are always saying “collaborating with corporate people is so difficult” but I think that within each of these companies there are great people that are trying to do great things, so you just have to be convincing enough to let them do your idea.
Luckily for us, we got to work with some awesome people at Puma that really believed in the vision and the idea so we were capable of doing anything we wanted. If you look at the shoes, all of the uppers are custom and the only thing that isn’t is the soles.
All of the promo was our ideas as well. The amount of life goals I have checked off because of this Puma collab is amazing. From a full global campaign to a cleat to a billboard, cartoon and a soccer field so shoutout to Puma… And now they have Neymar? WOOO!
Judging by the traction that Puma has made in the past couple of years leading into 2020, we are headed for the Puma takeover.
The brand is positioning itself to be a dominant force in the eyes of the public throughout the decade.
Today it seems as though the brand is on the right path to achieving everything it has set out to. Puma has consistently been in media headlines for the progressive movements it has been making over time.
What do you make of Puma’s resurgence in recent years? Do you see any longevity in the collaborative relationships they have established thus far?