Concept to Reality | The Midnight Club

Recently we’ve found ourselves spending this time looking back at some of the projects we’ve been apart of and the agency’s that have worked alongside us and helped make these visions come to life. For this next edition, we’ve digitally sat down with James and Aldo from Midnight Club to get a detailed understanding into their processes and work.

Take a look through our interview with the duo below for a look into how Midnight Club works and of course, how they’re spending their time during this lockdown.

Footpatrol : Hey guys, how are you? Thank you for taking the time to talk to us today! We have worked together in the past and know all about you but for our audience can you give them a little insight into yourself and what it is you do?

JH: We work at The Midnight Club, a London agency that specialises in strategy and design for adidas. We both work together as concept leads, a role which allows us to work across multiple projects from the earliest stage, developing an idea through to production. This could be anything from designing a store installation, launch event or a visual toolkit for a sneaker release. And that’s how we met you last year, working on the Footpatrol windows for Notting Hill Carnival.

FP: What exactly does your job entail? 

AK: It really depends on adidas’s brand calendar. One day we could be working on a global launch event, the next designing windows for a key London retailer. It’s the rapid pace of the sneaker industry that really drives us. 

FP: What were you doing prior? Was it a creative job or something completely different?

AK: We were both working in different areas of the fashion industry when we met. I was in product design and James worked for a luxury shoe brand. The collaboration really started in 2015 when we both linked up to work on NEUBA, a menswear brand specialising in handwoven fabrics.

JH: We sold the brand to almost 60 stores across Japan, including Dover Street Market and United Arrows before closing shop to join TMC in 2017. When I think back on it, we were lucky to visit so many of the world’s most exciting stores – this really inspired us to start designing experiences and installations for brands.

FP: What we would like to know is how you get from concept to reality. Would you be able to choose ONE project that you have worked on and summarise into 4 steps the process from the client’s initial email to what the consumer sees?

I guess a good example would be the re-launch of the adidas Nite Jogger, one of the biggest shoes to drop last year. The lead time on this was tricky, somebody worked out we had 15 working days to design, build and execute our concept – with Christmas and New Year in the middle. 

1.11th December: we received the brief from adidas. A one night global launch event in London for the Nite Jogger ‘19. The Nite Jogger is a modern remake of the original 70’s sneaker, the first of its kind to feature reflective panels.

2. Present the creative direction to the adidas global team: a 24/7 Peckham high street celebrating the creativity that thrives in the city after dark. Align on the art direction, guest experiences and line-up of talent and collaborators.

3. Find a South London location to bring the entire concept to life in 5 days. This was really tough, but together with a team of 15 carpenters, 8 lighting technicians, 6 scenic painters, 4 sound technicians, 2 event producers, 3 junior producers, 2 graphic designers, 4 runners and 17 event staff – we managed to pull it off.

4. 11th Jan. Launch night for 600 guests; a petrol station with convenience store, mechanics garage, custom spray-shop and photography darkroom, late night cyber cafe, Morley’s Fried Chicken shop,

with a dynamic schedule of product drops, live sets and performances off the back of a lorry. 

FP: Would you have any advice that you could share with our readers? 

JH: Try and find somebody that you can collaborate with creatively, ideally with a different set of skills to yours. Like Jimmy Iovine and Dr Dre.

AK: Exactly. We share the same taste in design, but will often arrive at a concept from very different reference points, anything from contemporary art and spatial design to youth culture and music. 

FP: How are you coping with the current lockdown? Is there anything particular that’s keeping you going?

JH: Succession on HBO. The Preme vs RZA battle on IG live. My veg box delivery. 

The ‘No Problemo’ car radio sessions from @ramdane everyday at 5pm.

AK: Homeland (yes I’m very late to the party). Honing my cocktail game.

Dave Portnoy (if you don’t already follow @stoolpresidente) reviews all the pizza joints in New York, but since we’ve been in lockdown has been forced to review only frozen pizzas.

FP: And finally as it was trainers that brought all us together originally – what would you say is your staple go to for the following:

JH:

Working out – adizero Takumi Ren 3’s for all of those long runs I don’t go on.

Casual everyday – Garwen Spezial for Union LA. Instant classic. 

Impressing someone – I recently got the midnight cowboy loafers by Toga Virilis. I think it’s impressive how little they go with anything. 

Staying at home – adidas ATP tennis sneakers from 1993. Cracked leather and yellow glue stains!

AK: 

Working out – adidas Ultra Boost Uncaged Triple Black

Casual everyday – I rotate both the all white pair and all black pairs of Yohji Yamamoto Superstars

Impressing someone – Tricky one, but I’ve got a pair of the Hender Scheme Superstars

Staying at home – My North Face tent slippers

Thank you, stay safe!

To grab a free copy of The Midnight Club’s latest book release, DM @the_midnight_club

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