Meet Adidas Originals Top Chinese Collaborator Melting Sadness

In the world of Melting Sadness, childhood fun is for everyone: after all, who ever decided that cheerful animated characters and fantastical stories were just for kids? The brand, led by Chinese artist Zhang Quan, brings a whimsical twist to streetwear, known for its always striking collaborations with adidas Originals, since the first in 2017. Think classic sneaker silhouettes remade with 3D bunny ears , carrot tops , flower badges and mini stuffed animals.

The adidas Originals favorite was launched by Quan in 2013, after graduating from Nanjing University of the Arts, where the original concept art was conceived alongside his friend Hong Yang. Melting Sadness’ sculpture work and streetwear collections feature the bold characters of Karoro, Babo, Kuka, Best and Messy, as displayed in London, Taipei, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing, and adorn the playful ready-to-wear from Melting Sadness. collections to wear.

The brand’s uplifting pastel tones and cartoonish illustrations all hint at a Gen Z consumer base. . In the summer of 2021, free ice creams were given away at the Randomevent flagship store in Shanghai to promote the adidas Originals x Melting Sadness collection, and in October 2021, the duo teamed up again to open the pop-up “Puppet Theater”.

Combining eye-catching installations with an equally engaging design, Melting Sadness is the ultimate way for a global name like adidas to connect with China’s young demographic, while establishing its relevance in the competitive streetwear industry. So, Collaborations and Jing drops decided to ask Quan all about it.

Jing Daily: How did Melting Sadness come about?

Zhang Quan: “Melting Sadness was actually born out of my artistic creations in college. The name of the work was “When the carrot melts, the little rabbit is very sad”, because at that time I wanted to make a work that everyone could understand. Usually people go to art galleries and some sculptures and artworks may be difficult to understand, and its name may be untitled or very strange words, so I wanted to start a work that may also be of interest children, using words they would like to know. I hope he can evoke the beauty of everyone’s growth.

How would you describe your main customers?

“Our consumers are a group of young and energetic people who have stories and love to listen to stories. They are really interested in the Karoro family. They love each character, find their own traits in each character, and recreate these characters in various forms. It’s definitely one of our intriguing assets, and it’s also something that I think is different from other brands.

Tell us about your partnership with adidas?

“For us, our collaboration with adidas Originals was very iconic. First of all, it fulfilled my childhood dream – I think it’s probably every young sneakerhead’s dream to work with such a big name. The team gave us lots of creative space and worked with us to create many historic moments.

A sneaker from the adidas Originals x Melting Sadness Ice Cream collection. Photo: Melting Sadness

What do you think Melting Sadness brings to the adidas brand?

“It brought a youthful vitality to adidas Originals, and it also let the world know more about Chinese youth, artists and brands. We are incorporating more gamification into our products, exploring various forms of market activity that adidas Originals might not have achieved on its own.

What is your design inspiration for the Melting Sadness x adidas collaborations?

“Melting Sadness has an amusement park project and every year we tell a story from that with adidas Originals: in 2020 we had the debut of the Karoro family (five members: Karoro, Babo, Kuak, Messy and Best). I hope they will be seen less as a product than as a work of art.

A design from the Melting Theater’s collaboration with adidas originals. Photo: Melting Sadness

Are you currently working on other collaborations?

“There will be a lot of collaborations in the future! 2022 is a very important year for us. We will be preparing for the Chinese Year of the Rabbit in 2023. In the middle of 2022 we will also have new collaborations, other than adidas Originals which continue to have Melting Sadness drops.

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