Interview with Rasheed Young – President
& Gardy St. Fleur – Dir of Marketing Run Athletics
Interview by: Thomas Bradley
Produced by: Liquidrice
Though music industry people tend to flop when setting their sights on the clothing game, Run Athletics seems to be avoiding this type of emasculating failure through integrity based marketing. Describe how the Arthur Ashe campaign started and what it means to Run Athletics?
First, I’d definitely like to address your first statement. It’s a true one indeed. As a matter of fact our company initially started off in apparel and the market didn’t receive it to well. We restrategized and realized that we were overlooking a major part of business which we were doing great in FOOTWEAR!!
Arthur Ashe was an obvious choice for many reasons. You have society buying Adidas Rod Laver and Stan Smiths and we don’t truly know who they are. Arthur Ashe was an overall achiever. He was the 1st African American to win the US Open in 1968. He was the 1st African American to win Wimbledon in 1975. He was Sports Illustrated Man Of The Year in 1992. He also started the Arthur Ashe Institute For Urban Health to teach people about health including the awareness of AIDS.
There is was no other choice but Arthur Ashe when it came down to who Run Athletics would align themselves with.
With the ‘Legend’ sneaker comes an obvious take on simplicity in a shoe. No air bubbles and a lack of overt branding don’t stop the shoe from being recognizable, they actually make more of a statement through its subtlety. That being said, how much did Arthur Ashe’s grace and class factor into the ‘legend’ sneaker model?
All do respect, the name of the sneaker is ‘Arthur Ashe’. I say this because I don’t want to confuse 2 different initiatives that Run Athletics is doing and also the Arthur Ashe name deserves and commands that respect.
If you’ve ever seen Arthur Ashe play, move, walk, or speak you’d see that his whole style was monotone. He was approachable, lovable and graceful. The sneaker was built behind Arthurs character. You can define a person based on appearance alone. His sneaker defines himself.
The official Run Athletics website offers potential buyers multiple vantage points and magnification options even big name footwear companies don’t. What were some of the ideas behind the creation of such an ideal atmosphere for the buyer and what should people realize about Run athletics that for whatever reason they haven’t grasped as of yet.
Truthfully, the concept behind the website is a callaboration of ideas between Run Athletics and Unorthodox Stlyes (aka Crooked Tongues). They build websites for brands like Adidas, PUMA, New Balance’a host of others. We were in Europe trying to figure out how to get the consumers involved while still focusing on the job at hand getting the product in front of them. The magnifying glass is a way to get you involved in more than just purchasing. You get to see the true craftsmanship of Run Athletics.
Run Athletics is also built on a type of mystic. We can’t give all the answers away but we can give you just enough to want to come back.
With the background the Run Athletics team possesses, is there a certain excitement around the project because it is linked to some of the most successful people in music, and to some degree clothing, over the last 20 years?
Who isn’t excited when you come to the office and see Rev Run and Russell Simmons waiting to talk about your next moves. We are honored and humbled by working with the 2. However, we are trained to be 10 steps ahead of them as we see ourselves as professionals in what we do as well. The majority of the weight is on our shoulders trying to make their history work for today’s business.
The combination is lethal!!
Though the Run Athletic line is sport culture (or sport casual) in utility, would you consider making a highly functional training shoe at any time?
The competiton level in technology is high out there. Ask yourself this question, are you buying sneakers because they make you run faster or jump any higher. If you are, do you feel like you’re cheating because you’re not showing true strength and agility?? Maybe I’m reading into it too much but, next thing you know we are going to have sneakers that run for us.
Run Athletics is commited to sytle and quality. We will get to technology when its warranted but I don’t think it will be anything too fancy.
What can we look for from the Run Athletics brand in the near future?
Keep looking for quality styles, more collabortions (soup to nuts), more giving back and more theme based programs. Till then”Nike, ‘Don’t Do It’, Adidas..’Its still IMPOSSIBLE!!!’, Reebok ‘You are what you are’.