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The Ten: Virgil Abloh Baptizes Nike Classics
3 min read
Nike’s highly anticipated collaboration with creative director, DJ and designer Virgil Abloh is finally here.
The collection includes 10 pairs of classic Nike shoes that have been deconstructed and reimagined by Abloh. For the designer, who has a background in architecture and engineering and founded cult streetwear brand Off-White, this partnership is about more than just sneakers.
Photo by Nike
The collection, entitled The Ten, consists of two sets with distinct but related themes. “REVEALING” includes the Air Jordan I, Nike Air Max 90, Nike Air Presto, Nike Air VaporMax and Nike Blazer Mid. This set was created with accessibility in mind and is meant to have a handmade, deconstructed aesthetic.
The second set, “GHOSTING” takes the concept of revealing one step further by integrating translucent elements into each shoe. This set includes the Converse Chuck Taylor, Nike Zoom Fly SP, Nike Air Force 1 Low, Nike React Hyperdunk 2017 and Nike Air Max 97.
Photo by Nike
To Abloh, The Ten represents a democratizing moment that transcends art and design. Speaking to Nike, he said, "these 10 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.”
“What we're talking about here is larger than sneakers, it’s larger than design culture, it’s nothing short of state-of-the-art design.
As a teenager Abloh was already a devout fan of Nike and even sent the athletic megabrand his own sketches. Now he finally has the chance to make those designs a reality and to influence today’s design-minded youth. Many of the pieces in the collection include labels rendered in Abloh’s favoured Helvetica font with words like ‘air’, ‘foam’, ‘vulcanized’ and ‘shoelaces.’ These labels, although somewhat obvious, turn each shoe into a diagram allowing the wearer to learn about design in a hands-on and intuitive way.
Along with the release of the new collection Nike has also announced a series of ‘Off Campus’ events celebrating the collaboration in New York and East London. The first five silhouettes - the Air Jordan I, Nike Blazer, Nike Air Presto, Nike Air Max 90 and Nike Air VaporMax, will be available at NikeLabs in New York, London, Milan and Paris throughout September. The full collection will launch worldwide in November.
Photo by Nike
This collaboration also represents an opportunity for Nike to regain some of its cool. Over the past few years Nike has had multiple high-end partners, including former Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci and Balmain designer Olivier Rousteing, however the brand still seems to have fallen slightly behind rival brand Adidas when it comes to street cred.
Photo by Nike
Video by Gucci Mane/Youtube
written by Kerala Woods