On March 2, Atlanta rapper Future put on a lively performance at a special launch event for Reebok Classics at London's The Village Underground. As the face of Reebok's Zoku Runner campaign -- which includes the English footwear brand's first-ever Ultraknit sneaker co-designed by Future himself -- the rapper gave fans his all.
"The energy in there was insane, man," Future's personal stylist and creative collaborator Bobby Wesley told Billboard about the night. "The people love Future -- they love his energy, they love his music, and they love the sneaker. To see him performing for all these cool kids in London, a lot wearing Zoku Runners, was breathtaking."
Wesley worked closely with Future -- who has recently released an unprecedented two albums (Future and HNDRXX) debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in back-to-back weeks -- on the specifics of the Zoku. "We decided we'd deliver a stronger message if we did monochromatic," Wesley said.
Make every run a classic.
A post shared by Future Hendrix (@future) on Mar 4, 2017 at 3:40pm PST
The Zoku Runner pays homage to Reebok's classic silhouettes, like the '70s Aztec shoe, the '80s Classic Leather, and the '90s Dual Pump Runner with a fashion-forward twist. "This is a new Reebok. [The brand] is making a comeback, and we're just happy to be at the forefront of it," Wesley explained. Though Reebok has enlisted hip-hop favorites like Cam'ron and Teyana Taylor for campaigns, Future's team sees this footwear collaboration as a progression for both parties.
"With Future, he sees where things are going and he understands that you have to evolve and you don't necessarily give a person everything at one time," the rapper's creative director and close friend Ebonie Ward told Billboard. "With [the Zoku Runner campaign], it was an opportunity for him to join a classic brand that understood where he was in his career, but also understood where he's going -- they force his fashion influence."
just stuntin on my ❌ @future @21savage @metroboomin
A post shared by adelle (@adelleplaton) on Mar 2, 2017 at 4:18pm PST
Ward, a fashion entrepreneur who owns Atlanta streetwear boutiques Fly Chix and Fly Kix ATL, has been Future's right-hand woman for all things creative since 2015. When it comes to brand partnerships, the team only does what feels genuinely right for the HNDRXX rapper. "Artists do pop-up shows all the time, but you want to leave a lasting impression on your fans, the media, and the consumer -- you want them to connect with the product in a long-lasting way."
For Future, a lasting impression means one-on-one interviews with major media outlets on a private jet from one launch party in the U.K. to another in New York. "Even though he can't touch all of his fans, being able to spend special time with different media outlets on the plane is a way to touch them vicariously through the writers," Ward said.