IT WAS Saturday morning in the Philippines, and a heated Friday night in faraway Boston, when Quiccs Maiquez's phone began to beep with notifications.
Watch the game, said messages from his contacts within adidas. Check out James Harden.
Quiccs and his sister hurriedly tuned in to watch the livestream of the Nets' Game 3 against the Boston Celtics. “It was very unexpected. Nobody told us that he'd wear it during that game,” the toy designer and visual artist said.
"It", of course, is the shoe that he designed, officially called the Harden Vol. 5 x Quiccs “Manila Heritage”. The collab had been in the works for the past six or seven months, according to the artist. Quiccs had worked with the Three Stripes before for an apparel line, but it was the first time that the global brand had asked him to design a shoe — a signature shoe, no less, to be worn by one of the NBA’s greats.
“The first thing that I did was come up with an array of five to six studies, [all] different from each other,” he recalled to the press during the media launch of the shoe. “Some represented my core brand which is black, red, and white, some with artworks on them.”
Ultimately, adidas ended up choosing a straightforward rendition of the Volume 5s in the colors of the Philippine flag.
Quiccs was happy with their choice. Not only did the patriotic colorway fit the Philippines, it also had the same colors of a little robot toy he’d designed before.
“In its core, the main inspiration of the shoe is the Manila Killa TEQ63. My character, which wears the symbols and the colors of the Philippine flag. And so as you can see on the shoe, the main colors are red, blue, yellow and white,” he explained.
He was also able to add his own signature touches, as well: his name, rendered in a futuristic wordmark, on the medials; his familiar crossbones logo on the other side (and, on the tongue, beside James Harden’s own signature); plus the numbers “+63, representing the Philippines’ country code, and 06.26.19, representing Harden’s last visit to the country.
Turn the right sneaker over, and you’ll also see Quiccs’ own artistic tribute to Harden: a rendition of the Brooklyn big man in robot form.
In the Harden Vol. 5 “Manila Heritage” — the first ever adidas shoe designed by a Filipino — Quiccs was able to merge his love for the hip hop scene and the shoe brand worn by some of its most classic superstars, as well as an enduring childhood interest in giant robots.
“The aesthetics of the shoes actually remind you some of the super robots that I loved during my childhood. It has some Voltes V flavor in it and Gundam flavor on it,” he pointed out.
It helped that Quiccs was a Harden fan, too.
“Seeing all of the adidas players [in the NBA], I'd say James Harden is my favorite. I try to emulate his beard,” he said, laughing, as he stroked his own lengthy goatee.
But nothing could prepare him for that moment when he saw his creation, being worn in an actual NBA court, by an actual NBA player.
“My heart was pounding,” Quiccs remembered. “Me and my sister were watching the live feed, and we would pause and play and rewind and pause and play, We were trying to chase photos, closeups of the shoe.”
The Harden Vol. 5 “Manila Heritage” will drop in adidas stores tomorrow, and will retail for P7,000.