adidas & Barry McGee & HUF
Here we look back to 2006 and this controversial collaboration between adidas, artist Barry McGee (aka Twist) and streetwear store HUF...
As part of the collaboration, San Francisco-based McGee was enlisted to work on the adicolor Low Y1 and, among other things, created a portrait on the tongue - a caricature of himself (McGee is Chinese-American) under the guise of 'Ray Fong the bail bondsman'. The character was based on a picture of McGee when he was just eight-years-old and featured a bowl haircut, pig-nose and buck teeth - something that enraged Asian-American communities who, prior to discovering it was a self-portrait, believed the caricature to depict a racial stereotype.
The collaboration eventually ended up in a storm of controversy, but has since become intensely sought-after due to the fact it was recalled by adidas. Limited to just 1000 pairs, the shoe also featured a pinstripe upper (representing prison bars) and illustrations of confused detainees on the footbeds - both a reference to the Ray Fong bail bondsman character. The release also included a McGee-illustrated shoebox and book.