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It's one of the most iconic sports brands the world has ever seen, sitting on a pedestal with few to rival it- Adidas has been setting the pace on the running tracks and sports fields around the world since its birth in 1949. Named Adidas after its founder, Adolf 'Adi' Dassler, the story of how the brand was born comes out of one of the greatest feud's of all time. Originally named Dassler Sports Company, Adidas became the result of a failed enterprise between Adi and his brother Rudi. Rivalry, jealousy, and the stresses of growing a company during war time Germany, turned the brothers to enemies. They went their seperate ways, but their rivalry still lives strong today through the brand legacies they left behind. Adi created Adidas, and Rudi developed Puma; two brands that still go toe to toe even today. Adidas started life producing shoes for American soldiers who occupied Germany following the second world war. They knew that they had to rebuild and consolidate the brand before making any big expansions. In 1949, the brands fortunes changed, thanks to a piece of innovation from Adolf. He introduced three stripes down the side panel of his sports shoe and football boots, to increase their stability. Little did he know that this idea would be loved for its aesthetic as well as it's technological advantages. The three stripes continued, cropping up on a host of styles. It soon became an iconic feature, making Adidas footwear instantly recognisable. Adi took advantage of this, coining Adidas as 'the brand with the three stripes', a slogan which has stuck. Adidas' next big turning point came in the 1950's, when the brand supplied the German national football team with the first ever boots to feature removable studs. This, linked with the hugely popular three stripe design gained Adidas massive recognition as a brand striving for sporting advancement. In the 1960's, Adidas took it upon themselves to offer athlete's from a broader range of sports a chance to compete in Adidas designed footwear. They began to produce for disciplines such as high jump- proving themselves yet again as innovators of sport. The 60's also saw the inception of another key Adidas logo- the trefoil. Picked from over 100 designs, the trefoil was chosen to represent Adidas as it moved into the casual wear market- a logo which the brand still uses today on its Adidas Originals range. The 1970's saw another football revolution for Adidas. The national sport had risen sharply as a love for the masses, but in 1974, it was confounded as an obsession when Germany beat Holland 2-1 in the World Cup Final. The entire team was sponsored by Adidas, wearing three stripes on their apparel, and their boots. The likes of Franz Beckenbauer, Paul Breitner and Gerd Muller competed for eternal glory wearing Adidas. Sadly, the following decade saw Adi Dassler's death. The brand continued to grow and prosper with growth coming outside of the sports market, thanks to endorsement from some big up and coming cultural icons. In 1983, Run DMC left Queens, NYC, and started making a scene in the music industry with their revolutionary hip hop sound. They wore Adidas Superstar's- a style designed for Basketball. As RUN DMC grew more infamous, so did Adidas, and soon their cultures became synonymous. Adidas Originals had landed as an icon for music, street style, and youth culture. In 1996, Adidas equipped 66,000 Olympic athletes from 33 countries. 220 medals, 70 of them gold came as a result, and Adidas had continued it's journey of sporting excellence. Right up to today, Adidas has been in constant development across its huge ranges, from multi-million deals with the biggest names in sport like David Beckham, to celebrating the Adidas Originals culture with musicians like Nicki Minaj, the Adidas brand is more alive than ever.

Ryan J Gray

 

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