adidas ZX BringBack with Robert Brooks and Kevin Stuart from Taking Shape Association
German collectors have always led the charge when it comes to ZX. Many however, overlook the fact that within London, ZX has also been synonymous with the city. A range that longtime collectors like Robert Brooks have had an affinity for since its birth, brings a whole new look, feel and style. A new found freshness needed with the market.
Bringing back that sense of reconnection and togetherness ZX once brought to London. Adidas have chosen to bless us with 2 all time classic colourways – the ZX8000 ‘Germany’ & ZX9000 Citrus – As part of their BringBack launch.
At Footpatrol, we felt there was more that could be done with this campaign and rather than BringBack we said GiveBack. The same way older generations were brought together over a commonality such as ZX, we want to be able to offer the same for the next generation.
Connecting with Robert Brooks and partnering up with London based organisation, Taking Shape Association, we look to co-host a series of kids summer camps. Offering support, the aim is to create a space where youngsters can be creative, expressive and have fun. Everyone should be allowed to be inspired and try something new, and with Taking Shape we hope to produce just that.
For more information surrounding the upcoming summer camps, stay locked to Taking Shape via their Instagram and website.
Why not join the family of ZX collectors by shopping the latest adidas ZX in-store and online here!
Footpatrol: Gents it’s a pleasure to sit down with you both to talk about this project! How are you?
Kevin: I am well thank you!
Brooksy: All good, joyful!
FP: Lets start off with a bit of insight into yourselves to give people more of an understanding as to what you both do?
K: My name is Kevin Stuart and I run the Taking Shape Association, which I have been leading since 2013.
B: My name is Robert Brooks and I am a designer and adidas collector.
FP: Kevin, tell us a bit about how Taking Shape started and what its purpose is within London’s communities?
K: Taking Shape was born out of seeing the lack of community resources and activities for young people to do. At that time, I was successfully working in the city, known in the area for practicing martial arts. During one of the classes a local boy came up to me, quite distressed, after seeing some violence on the street with his friends who were attacked. After experiencing that, it made me question how I could impactfully help the community using the ethos of martial arts, from this Taking Shape was born. Starting with small bespoke classes, we now support over 200 kids per year in London and Liverpool. Delivering programs that integrate martial arts, well-being, creativity, and enterprise to form a neighborhood of support and networks for social change.
FP: In terms of helping the community, why does it mean so much to you, besides having seen this youngster in distress. Were there other motivations to want to pursue this?
K: Definitely! Community growing up was a huge part of my life, it gave me the drive to want to do new things. The community centers and local champions like Charles Shillingford, my kung-fu teacher, were a massive influence and helped me realise that anything was possible. That later led me to think that we have lost a lot of essential community elements we once had. My goal is to support community empowerment by changing mindsets and shaping futures to build a better quality of life.
FP: My initial question I had planned was to ask if you aim to go nationwide, but as you mentioned prior to the interview you’re already reaching cities like Liverpool. So, to change it up a little, what is the next big aim for Taking Shape?
K: I want to be able to help as many kids as possible. I think everyone deserves an opportunity and every kid deserves a chance. In Liverpool I currently partner up with Mandela8, who work directly with the Mandela family. Together we created the program Roots and Wings. Working with a global known organisation definitely helps in our plan to continue to grow nationally.
FP: Brooksy, tell us the story of how you guys got to know each other?
B: We met through mutual friends! I used to promote parties with my friends and Kevin used to do the same with his. You know when you meet someone and you just click, your heads are in the same place, your morals are the same. Although career wise, we are totally different, we always had a lot in common and have been friends ever since.
FP: Did working in the corporate world have much effect on your approach with Taking Shape?
K: The city gave me a different angle to look at things. Having worked in such a fast-paced environment it helped me make sure that the quality I was delivering at Taking Shape was always kept to a high standard. I wanted to be able to build a good foundation t to support these kids, and parents for that matter.
FP: Growing up Robert, we spoke about you going to youth clubs, how did those adventures and experiences affect you?
B: It was a place that you could express yourself, whether it be football, pool, cooking or music classes. All these things allowed you to be yourself. It brought a sense of community and togetherness that allowed you to come together with other people you didn’t know from the area. The idea that at that age of being able to try something new, which I feel everyone should be able to do, was also hugely important. One of the most valuable aspects of it was the fact that some of the youth workers were parents from the area, they were like wise counsel that would give us advice and support. Even now, when you see these people, you have the utmost respect for them. It was a wider family that made you want to feel included. – I will never forget the time we went on a weekend away to go canoeing. It was the first time any of us had ever done it and as a grown man today I still look back at how good it was.
K: I have tried to bring that back too. One of the projects we do is take the kids from Hackney to Liverpool. We do a tour of the history of the city and visited Liverpool Bushido (Karate club run by Harris Jonas). When we arrived at Liverpool train station one of the boys was surprised by the scouse accent, he thought everyone spoke the same as him. By the end of the trip the Hackney kids came home with a with different perspective so many things.
B: It’s all about creating life experiences.
FP: In the grand scheme of things, I think there is always more we can all do to help support the next generation. What would you both say is the most important thing we could do as individuals?
K: I think people need to spread more love. At the end of the day that’s what it comes down to. You need to start looking out for other people, I feel that’s the best thing we can do for those struggling around us.
B: Sharing as well. Some of those little nuggets of wisdom we were given as kids have stuck with us today and that says it all really.
FP: I got to ask a little side question away from the moral of this interview briefly to talk about what’s on both your feet, was ZX ever something you saw in these Youth Clubs?
B: ZX was a huge part of my community center! At the time it was where you saw the latest trainers or trends, We were looking at the older boys saying – Oh that’s a ZX 800 or ZX8000 or many of the trainers in the range, everyone was chatting about it, which brings it back to that idea of togetherness in a space sharing interests.
FP: Thank you both so much again for sitting with us. Before we let you go, we like to give all our interviewees the opportunity to sign everything off whether that be a message of positivity, sharing some exciting news you may have, anything really! So, without further ado take it away.
K: Yes for sure! It’s worth mentioning that thanks to Footpatrol, we will be running a project in July for anyone that would like to get their kids involved. They can contact Taking Shape via our Instagram and website.