As far as names go, LA-based PLEASURES has the kind of “what you see is what you get” moniker that brands spend a lifetime looking for. Not only does it reflect the joy of ownership and the commodified rapture of wearing stuff, but also the euphoria of experiencing popular culture: the unique pleasure found when fully submersed in its familiar iconography. Not just in fashion, but in music and in film and in art.
PLEASURES is as PLEASURES does, so to speak.
When it comes to founder Alex James’ cult label, then, this is often heart-on-its-sleeve homage: collaborations with bands like N.E.R.D. and Blur, for example, or with Playboy or even the late Hunter S. Thompson – clothes and accessories which proudly wear the fonts and logos and subtext of these totems as a part of their design as much as the final human wearer does.
The brand’s latest offering, then, follows suit in that way – even if considerably more subtle when it comes to the end result. Partnering with 3D-printing footwear specialists Zellerfeld, PLEASURES’ new “Tank” shoe is a tribute to the legendary anime franchise “Neon Genesis Evangelion.”
This may not sound like a recipe for the low-key, particularly when you consider other sartorial celebrations of “Evangelion” – but, somehow, PLEASURES has made it work.
Of course, this is in no small part due to the nature 3D-printing process – a production method that lends itself to single-color creations and a minimalist geometry. It’s also, of course, down to PLEASURES’ design philosophy and flexible approach to reappropriating popular culture.
It’s this combination, too, which has allowed the brand to create one of the more aesthetically interesting 3D-printed sneaker variations on the Zellerfeld Open Beta platform and to push PLEASURES further forward into the realm footwear design: “Footwear has always been in the DNA of PLEASURES,” James tells FUTUREVVORLD. “I’ve been told ‘NO’ so many times in design phases of sneakers. 3D printing allows for maximum design possibilities.”
The format, too, in its inherently futuristic process chimes with the “Tank” shoe’s unusual subject matter – a rare example of life imitating art in a way that’s actually wearable. “Internally we love Evangelion,” James explains, “The robot suit worn in the series lends itself to the perfect hyper-real tank design on foot.”
As the PLEASURES website notes, and as is the case with all the shoes printed using the Zellerfeld production system, the customized order process means that each “Tank” shoe is an entirely unique fit – created with more or less the promise comfort.
Asked about the sustainable credentials of the “Tank,” James points to previous trepidation with jumping into footwear. “It’s hard to make footwear sustainable,” he says. “In this case, though, they are fully recyclable, so it’s a win win,” with PLEASURES making further inroads and doing so with the backing of a dedicated, sustainable and forward-thinking infrastructure provided by Zellerfeld.
And, as far as 3D printing’s future is concerned, “The sky is the limit. Consumer goods on Mars. Homes, cars, everything.” Hey, who knows, right?