by Caitlin Thompson, photos by Molly Cranna
As the tennis world’s eyes turn to the Southern California desert this week with the start of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, the iconic American heritage brand K-Swiss has teamed up with New York menswear brand Corridor to launch a footwear collaboration for on and off the court. With stylish minimalism, the unisex collection features both a re-imagination of the Classic 66—a sustainable canvas shoe with serious cultural bonafides—as well as the performance oriented SpeedTrac, in cream and black colorways.
We spoke to both teams about how their partnership came to life, and why everything about this launch, from the design to the narrative campaign, references tennis’ past in order to pave way for its future.
“For K-Swiss, the goal was to blend the world of heritage tennis and performance tennis,” says Anna Amador, Vice President of Marketing at K-Swiss. “There’s a sweet spot that this collaboration really hits that speaks to what tennis was and what tennis is going to be. Corridor brings another element of styling and perspective that curates a poetic execution, and we absolutely love it.”
Designer Dan Snyder founded Corridor in 2013, and the menswear brand has grown into one of the most influential workshops, using selectively ethical and environmentally sustainable practices. Tennis is also tremendously meaningful to him, between playing with his dad to his near-daily hit in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. So the idea of creating his first foray into tennis with the legendary K-Swiss presented him with both the opportunity to pay homage to the past, but also contribute in a real way to the future of on-court performance shoes.
“The Classic 66 is that perfect, stripped down casual shoe,” he says, “But the collaboration wouldn’t have any teeth without the SpeedTrac performance shoe. To me the point is to get them into pro shops, on recreational players. I think this collaboration works because it’s about tennis—not fashion, not necessarily the pro game—but for people who love to play.”
He says both referencing his own tennis experiences helped him really articulate his desire to make something tonal and sleek and technical enough that it would look and feel at home on the courts, but also be able to transition to the part of his life that is work in the Corridor studio.
For Jon Tang, K-Swiss’ Senior Designer of collaborations, everything about the way the collaboration grew beyond just the canvas shoe into a modern, technical offering that will be worn by K-Swiss athletes at this year’s BNP Paribas Open, makes perfect sense.
“As we were brainstorming ideas that hit the sweet spot between the intersection of tennis and streetwear, we started off with the Classic 66. What’s the modern New York outfit? It’s canvas shoes with no socks,” Tang says. “Dan really wanted to switch it up and go into performance, and our tennis group was innovating for speed already. That was so exciting for me, it allows us to span tennis past, present and future.”
For this bi-coastal partnership, the timing of a launch around Southern California’s biggest tennis event is a huge opportunity to get eyes on the collaboration, and Racquet’s visual campaign, shot by frequent collaborator Molly Cranna at municipal courts in Santa Barbara, evokes both a classic SoCal look with super modern and dynamic play.
“We knew we wanted to launch during Indian Wells, as a brand so aligned with Southern California,” Tang says. “And the Santa Barbara courts look so wonderfully washed out—the tone feels like a perfect marriage of old and new. The timelessness of this campaign is like we were shooting in the 1970s, but for today.”
For K-Swiss and Corridor, it’s hard to think of a more perfect encapsulation of the collection’s retro futurism.