June 11, 2013


Reebok Exec on Sneaker Collabs With Jay-Z, Pharrell, Tyga & Alicia Keys

In the second part of Fuse's tour of Reebok HQ (see part one here), Esteban Serrano sits down with Todd Krinsky, VP of Reebok Classic and Basketball, to talk about the how the company intersects music and shoes.

How Jay-Z kicked off Reebok's collaborations with musicians:
Krinsky: "In the late '90s, there was this huge basketball business going on. In 2001, we really wanted to become bigger in the youth market and we realized young kids are looking at artists and rappers for their style more than basketball players. 

"Who would be the guy to do it? It has to be someone that moves culture, not someone that just moves records. Jay is the guy that could put a line in a song and everyone changes how they dress. I had the chance to pitch the idea and he was like, 'You know, this is something I haven't done before.' And we created S Carter together. We [since] try to sign artists like Pharrell, 50 Cent that would bring a different perspective to the shoe game."

On what California-native Tyga brought Reebok for a West Coast appeal:
Krinsky: "It’s been one of the biggest things we've done in the West Coast in years. When you look at [his T-Raww collection], the overall look is very West Coast. You have the mid-cut, very, very clean two-piece pattern look."

On working with Alicia Keys to make shoes for "lady sneaker heads":
Krinsky: "A bunch of dumb executives think 'All I gotta do is make the sneakers smaller, put pink in it and girls will buy it.' The first thing Alicia said was, 'Look, I love to be this diva, R&B singer. But I'm also a tomboy. I don't want girls to have to go to the boys' [sneaker] wall anymore. I want to create some cool, sophisticated womens look, but also want a tomboy look a girl can buy in multiple colors. But it's for her.'"

"So, we took our franchise model, built it up with some fresher material, raised the height and added a wedge. Something they can wear that's different than what's out there, but still has Reebok’s DNA."

Love hip hop as much as we do?

Catch the premiere of Fuse's new series The Hustle on Wednesday, June 19 at 11/10c. Use the Channel Finder to find Fuse in your area.