One of PUMA’s latest collaborations comes in the form of a recent footwear and apparel capsule with Young & Reckless. In the partnership, brand founder Chris “Drama” Pfaff was able to fulfill a dream and put his own spin on PUMA’s iconic Clyde Mid and their innovative trainer, the PUMA TSUGI Netfit.
Following its release, we were able to chat with Drama about Y&R and PUMA aligning, why he chose the aforementioned footwear models, and what the monochromatic color palette is all about.
Why PUMA? Why was PUMA a good fit for a collaboration with yourself and your Y&R brand?
For us, it was a no-brainer. We had a mutual friend that introduced us to the brand. When the opportunity came up, it was such a no-brainer… just because of the decades of time that they have in classic streetwear and athletic apparel and footwear. We’re relatively new, so to have the opportunity to collaborate with such a classic brand was just a big thing for us.
How do you feel about the brand’s resurgence in lifestyle, via collaborations with STAPLE, Rihanna, COOGI, The Weeknd, Big Sean…
I think its awesome. I think they’re doing a really, really good job. For me, as a brand owner, I’m taking a lot of notes in how they’re doing it. They’ve become so much more cultural relevant. All the marketing work they’ve done in the past year, it’s incredible. I’m a big fan of what they’re doing.
Why is it important for a sportswear brand like PUMA to connect with audiences like yours?
When you have all that time in an industry, its good because you’re looked at as a staple. People recognize your brand, but what a lot of those brands don’t do is constantly work with and speak to the newer, younger people doing exciting things. That’s something PUMA is really good at. I think that’s important.
And, what’s the benefit for Y&R to align itself with such a major brand?
For me, its the exact opposite. Being relatively young still — I think people recognize us and know we’re here to stay — but I wouldn’t say we’re this classic, heritage brand. For us to be able to put our brand next to such a classic, such a heritage brand… that’s a huge opportunity, that co-sign.
The choice in silhouettes were unique. The low-top Clyde is usually the silhouette we have seen other collaborators pick. Why the Clyde Mid?
I personally just love the Mid. I love the way your jeans can tuck into it… I have just always been more drawn to it. When I was working with my designers, they instantly agreed. There were no pushbacks. It just gives it a little bit more of a fashion element.
Also, the TSUGI NETFIT doesn’t get as much love as it should. With it, you’re getting to put your take on a classic and a new style. Was that your intention?
Yes, 100 percent. We wanted to do a classic and flip it a little bit, and we wanted to address what’s going on right now. Obviously, runners and athletic shoes are huge right now. When we saw the [TSUGI NETFIT] in the line as one of the options, we felt like we found this gem that maybe not enough people knew about. Having an opportunity to put a spotlight on that and do our take on that was huge.
The sneakers and apparel portion of your collaboration sport a tonal palette of colors, which according to PUMA, is inspired by Y&R’s current season. Can you tell us a bit more of this inspiration and what its all about?
Really what it is, is that its inspired by a higher end look. All the colors we chose gave a higher end vibe. Making it so monochromatic, it was very easy to be simple and get the point across, make an impact and be memorable. I think that its hard when there’s so much product and content out in the marketplace… like you wanna do it in a way that people will really remember it. When you look at the three colors and the outfit being the same color, I think it made an impact and elevated the whole capsule.
What was your favorite part about the whole process?
I think it was cool to be putting my logo next to the PUMA logo. I’m 30 years old, so when I was young, obviously PUMA has been a massive brand for as long as I can remember. Sitting with my designers and seeing the two logos side-by-side on these mockups and on the product, it was a bit of a surreal experience. It was really cool.
What’s next for yourself and Y&R?
For us, we came out the gate with really loud, bright graphic tees. We did that for two reasons: No. 1, to really make an impact; and to get all the credit — anytime anyone wore Young & Reckless, you knew, there’s no way around it. We wanted to enter loud, and obviously, the margins on printable T-shirts are incredible. But, as we evolved, you can’t do that forever. What I really wanted long term was to create a affordable, on-trend, multiple category collection… and really be a legitimate clothing brand from head to toe.
What we’re working on super hard is expanding into new categories, hitting price points that are affordable… I always wanted to be attainable and affordable. I never wanted to be this aspiration “you can’t get it” or “you can’t afford it” brand. We’re having some wins and losses and we’re learning as we go.
The Young & Reckless x PUMA capsule is available now at select retailers, including Pac Sun, Champs and PUMA.com.