This past November at the second annual ComplexCon, Jeff Staple hosted The Art of Collab, a panel discussing the growth of collaborations in the landscape of style and sneakers. Part one of this Complex Con(versations) panel welcomed legendary Japanese designer Hiroshi Fujiwara who touched on some of his past projects including never-before-seen creations from his unreleased "The Ten" capsule.
Fujiwara showed off sample pairs of three sneakers that were originally supposed to be part of his own "The Ten" collection. If that sounds familiar, it's because "The Ten" is also the title of the wildly successful 10-sneaker project from Off-White's Virgil Abloh that first launched in 2017. According to the Japanese designer, the collection was initially planned to be a "versus" style offering consisting of both his and Abloh's recreations.
"We had kind of started doing… Maybe he did ten, and I was supposed to do ten. But, [he] kind of won the game, and I lost it," said Fujiwara. "The thing he did was beautiful, and I understand why everyone goes crazy about it. So, I’m a loser this time."
Among the pairs showed off were a redesigned Air Force 1 Low in black with an inner bootie Fujiwara likens to the Air Presto, a white Cortez with a Flywire lacing system, and a unique grey and black take on the Air Max 1 with an ACG-style bottom. Fujiwara was also wearing a sample pair of Air Force 1 Highs he called his "dream shoes" that were constructed of a white leather, replaced a traditional lacing system with three velcro straps, and removed the Swoosh from the lateral side.
Throughout the conversation, Fujiwara also touches on the beginnings of the HTM label with Tinker Hatfield and Mark Parker, difficulties bringing back the Nike Sock Dart, and other collaborations Fragment Design has done in the past with the likes of brands like Stüssy, Levi's, and even Starbucks.
Anyone bummed that Fujiwara's "The Ten" never made it to retail doesn't need to fully give up hope yet. The man behind the designs insisted that they "may come out" in the future. Check out the part two above, and the entire conversation with Fujiwara here.