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Puma plans multiple collabs for 50th anniversary of iconic ‘Suede’ sneaker

Tommie Smith poses with a black and white ‘Puma Suede’ nearly 50 years since the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. — Handout via AFPTommie Smith poses with a black and white ‘Puma Suede’ nearly 50 years since the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. — Handout via AFPNEW YORK, Oct 19 — Streetwear style icon, the “Puma Suede,” is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018 with a host of collaborations, reissues and special campaigns. While the brand is yet to reveal full details of what’s in store, from the beginning of November, Puma will drop a series celebrating the “Puma Suede” that Tommie Smith carried onto the podium of the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.

Launched in 1968, the “Puma Suede” soon became an iconic sneaker in the streetwear world and beyond. From basketball courts to athletics tracks to hip-hop artists, the famous sneaker appealed to people from various walks of life and soon became a timeless classic.

Sneaker comeback

Nearly 50 years since bursting onto the scene, the “Puma Suede” is an undisputed style icon. While the shoe’s instantly recognisable design (white sole, suede upper, streamlined look) helped it span generations with ease, the recent return of sneakers to the forefront of fashion has helped put this classic firmly back in the spotlight, riding high with the likes of the Adidas “Stan Smith” and Nike’s more recent “Air Force One.”

At a time when sportswear is everywhere, from the street to the catwalk, retro sneakers are enjoying a new lease on life. The “Puma Suede” has recently seen many reworkings, with the “Heart” model and its wide, ribbon-style laces, proving a particular hit with fashion fans.

50 years, 50 versions

At the dawn of the shoe’s 50th anniversary, Puma has already announced that it’s teaming up with brands and iconic figures from the worlds of music, fashion, street culture and pop culture to create no less than 50 unique versions of its star model. These special editions will be announced starting from November, while reissues — like the B-Boy Fabulous Pack and Made in Japan Collectors’ Pack — are also in the pipeline.

Puma is kicking off celebrations for this landmark anniversary with a special series paying homage to the American sprinter Tommie Smith. On October 16, 1968, the sprinter won gold in the 200 meters at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City, smashing the 200-metre world record at the same time. The following day, as he stepped onto the podium for the medal ceremony, Tommie Smith wore long black socks on his feet and brandished one “Puma Suede” sneaker, which he then put down, and, during the US National Anthem, raised his right gloved fist in a silent gesture of protest against racial discrimination.

This anniversary series goes on sale next month in Puma stores, Puma retailers and online at www.puma.com. For the occasion, Tommie Smith fronts the brand’s campaign, photographed holding the iconic model. — AFP-Relaxnews

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