victoria beckham's first reebok collaboration looks to shaq and the 90s
The designer talks sneakers, sitting on Shaq's shoulders, and leg selfies.
Last week i-D had the distinct pleasure of joining Victoria Beckham in Los Angeles to celebrate her forthcoming collaboration with Reebok. It’s inspired by the brand’s iconic 90s stylings on the basketball court, so obviously the first piece is a T-Shirt with someone slam dunking on it (the first two drops are in May and July, and will include more vintage inspired pieces). Less obviously, Beckham got none other than Shaquille O’Neal to help her announce the collection. Turns out this was a great idea however — not only is O’Neal a long term ambassador for Reebok, but he also let Beckham ride on his shoulders, which is genius.
In person, Beckham’s both passionate about design and very funny, with no qualms about sending herself up. As one might imagine, she exercises a lot, so a sportswear collection is exactly her area of expertise. What one might not know, however, is that she checks her tagged photos on Instagram, thinks the best way to do a rad sneaker is partner with a brand that knows what they’re doing, and is still spreading the message of girl power. Ahead of her tenth anniversary as a designer, she tells i-D about how she’s always thought outside the box.
How did you get together with Reebok?
You know, I’ve wanted to create workout clothing for a long, long time. I work out every day, and when I move into a new category I want to do things that reflect my life and what I want. So when Reebok approached me I was super excited — I’ve wanted to create a trainer for a long long time, but it’s hard for fashion brands to do that! I’m really excited about what we’re going to do together.
You’ve already done a T-shirt — when do we get to see the collection?
My full collection will be ready towards the end of this year. This is a little bit of a teaser with regards of what to come. This is me celebrating Shaq, and the 90s, and what everybody loves about Reebok.
So I hear you went to the archive and really liked the 90s basketball section, tell us about that.
It was so exciting! You literally have to put on white gloves when you come in and hold the clothes. I grew up in the 90s and have always loved Reebok, and to go and see the shoes and be inspired was great.
You were on Shaq’s shoulders today, was that a lifetime dream realized?
Oh my God, I now understand why kids want to go on Dad’s shoulder, it’s so much fun. I had to get on a ladder. But if we work together much more it’ll be much more natural, I’ll just jump up.
Can you tell us about the pieces you’ll be creating? Who is the workout woman you imagine?
For me I want to create technical workout clothing with a great silhouette. As a woman who works out every day, I expect a lot out of my workout clothing! What is the latest technology in workout leggings? I really want to create something innovative, and i want the guys to want it as well. The shoe should be unisex, the guys should want it as much as the women.
You’re an enthusiastic Instagrammer — what can we do to recreate your infamous ‘leg in the air’ pose?
It’s so funny, because I used to be a dancer, so I’m quite flexible. When I go and look at what people have tagged me in, the amount of people, every day — they’ve obviously gone out with their mates, had a few glasses of wine, and they’re like “Hey @victoriabeckham” [ and she extends a very toned leg]. I kid you not, people send pictures of their animals doing it, so it’s quite hilarious. And there’s always alcohol on the floor, so you just know people have gone out, got drunk, and think it’s hilarious. I think that’s just how I ended up doing it to be completely honest.
What kind of sneakers do you live in?
Obviously my Reeboks! With a low slung, gabardine pant, because they go with everything.
Why was it important for you to collaborate with Reebok — you could have just launched your own sneaker.
If you want a proper sneaker, these sportswear brands have years of experience, and work with great technicians. It’s hard to do a sneaker and for it to feel really authentic, so for me the best way to do that was to partner with someone I could work with.
Do you think we’ll see some of your newfound sportswear expertise in the rest of the Victoria Beckham universe?
I hope so, look I’ll definitely be wearing everything I’m doing, because I want to create what I want in my life. But I love to mix sportswear with ready-to-wear, so I might wear tracksuit pants and a pair of trainers with a men’s overcoat over the top. So I really like to mix it all up.
Do you think the message of “girl power” has the same resonance it did when you first proclaimed it? It seems to be coming back.
Not on tour it’s not [laughs]. Look, never has it been as relevant as it is right now. Everybody says to me, what are the Spice Girls doing, and there isn’t a tour, there isn’t new material. But what we do want to do, is say, how do we communicate the message to the next generation. What does that look like? What is it? Because it’s totally relevant, and something that we felt very strongly about, and still do. I started talking about girl power when I was 18 years old. Now, gosh, about to turn 44 next week, I’m still talking about empowering women but through fashion. It’s the same thing, just through fashion rather than music.
You’re about to show in London, but what has showing in New York brought to you as both a person and a brand?
You know what it’s been great. When I started ten years ago, I lived in LA, and it just seemed like the right place for me to show — not all the press, and all the buyers went to London Fashion Week. I’ve really enjoyed being in New York, and maybe I’ll go back there. I wanted to do something different for my 10th anniversary, which is in September, so I decided to come to London. I don’t know if I’ll stay in London, maybe I’ll go somewhere completely different. I just think it’s great that people are doing pretty much their own thing. I like to think outside the box, and don’t know where I’ll be next. But I’m excited.
When the industry’s in flux, why not throw it up in the air.
I mean goodness, I was a popstar, who would have thought I would be taken seriously as a fashion brand. I was thinking outside the box when I started ten years ago, and I have to continue doing that!