Nike teams up with Virgil Abloh
Nike’s footwear classics have been reinvented.
The sportswear brand has teamed up with Virgil Abloh for a “collaborative exploration of ten Nike footwear silhouettes.”
Baptized "The Ten", the designer and founder of Off-White, has reimagined ten classic Nike shoes with his reconstructed design language.
The collection is divided into two themes – “Revealing” and “Ghosting” – and includes the Air Jordan I, Nike Air Max 90, Nike Air Presto, Nike Air VaporMax and Nike Blazer Mid, alongside the Converse Chuck Taylor, Nike Zoom Fly SP, Nike Air Force 1 Low, Nike React Hyperdunk 2017 and Nike Air Max 97.
The “Revealing” line features tongue-in-cheek text placements and was designed to look accessible with hand-cut, open-source detailing. Meanwhile, shoes that fall in the “Ghosting” theme were designed with translucent uppers and common materials “to further the idea of revealing and unite”.
“What we're talking about here is larger than sneakers, it’s larger than design culture,” said Abloh, in a news statement. “It’s nothing short of state-of-the-art design. These ten shoes have broken barriers in performance and style. To me, they are on the same level as a sculpture of David or the Mona Lisa. You can debate it all you want, but they mean something. And that's what's important.”
The 36-year-old, currently based between Milan and Chicago, has long been a fan of Nike and its ambassadors such as Michael Jordan. As a teenager, Abloh said that he and his friends would even sketch shoe ideas and mail them to Nike.
“We were enamored with Air Jordans,” said Abloh. “Michael Jordan was larger than life — he was Superman to me. My entire design background and ethos came from the ‘90s.”
The collaboration was equally one of Nike’s fastest ever completed: ten shoes created in about ten months.
“Most of the creative decisions were made in the first three hours, while actual design and iteration took two to three days,” said Abloh. “The Jordan I was done in one design session. I work in a very like dream-like state. I see it, and it's done.”
The project initially included five Nike footwear icons and later became ten.
“In one gesture, I wanted to underscore how the design system and manufacturing of Nike are so perfect,” said Abloh. “By combining these shoes with design that amplifies their ‘handmade’ quality, we’re intensifying the human element and expanding the emotional connection of these ten icons.”
The first five icons of The Ten — the Air Jordan I, Nike Blazer, Nike Air Presto, Nike Air Max 90 and Nike Air VaporMax — will be pre-released at NikeLab stores in New York City (Sept. 9-13), London (Sept. 18-22), Milan (Sept. 21-25) and Paris (Sept. 26-30).
The full collection including all ten silhouettes will be available as of November at NikeLab stores and select retailers worldwide.
Nike will equally host “Nike Off Campus” to celebrate the launch of The Ten collection. Events will take place in New York City from September 6 to 8 at 23 Wall Street and from September 14 to 17 at various locations in East London.
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