Monday, 5 December 2011


Shoelaces have always allowed for creativity. As I previously touched on in an earlier post, it’s a culture of customization unto itself. Since the mid to late 90's the art of the lace has been increasingly overlooked. With sneakers being produced in industrial quantities and in all manner of shapes, sizes and colours, the lace has become somewhat accustomed to a more functional than decorative role. However, it would seem high time to bring a renewed focus back onto laces in a bout of updated nostalgia.

Reminiscing aside, it's accepted that any shoestring can give additional flavor to the shoe but those that bring out the sneaker as a whole have historically been both wider and fatter. Recreating such a look has its throwback qualities but it's limited in its expression of something new. What we have learnt since the 80's is that the fatter the laces are, the better they are. If issues of size are still of relevance, then it should be expanded to their logical and practical conclusion. From the simple fat lace came the medium fat lace, which quickly evolved into the super fat lace. From this point on there were no further developments. The shoelace was at a dead end and ready to begin its steady decline within sneaker culture. It was unable to be salvaged even by the fancy lacing systems of the 90's. It would seem that there simply wasn't a shoe large enough to accommodate the next size up. But what if the shoe was ditched altogether?  

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The Silhouette | Function & Future

Blank Model/Template

The advent of Adidas’s Adipure line-up is a timely reminder that the sneaker silhouette as we know it is subject to drastic and sometimes unrecognisable change. This evolution is and always will be driven by a basic instinct to innovate and incorporate the latest performance based technology in new designs. The 1991 Nike Air (Flight) Huarache is a case in point. By combining an exoskeleton support system with stretchy neoprene, the design gave birth to a whole school of barely-there shoes such as the Nike Air Rift, Nike Air Presto and arguably the Adidas Adipure. What distinguishes the Nike runners from the Adipure is their success at maintaining an appealing silhouette despite the radical changes. Regardless of the technology and fabrics incorporated by Adidas, its exact mimicking of the human foot is aesthetically floored.  Shoe design over the centuries has obsessed over hiding and disguising the shape of the human foot. It is an insufficient attempt by Adidas to veil this new silhouette with a camouflage of new technology and fabrics. The silhouette is so blatantly resembling the foot’s exact anatomy that it will inevitably jar with peoples instinctive aversion towards the  naked foot. What I would like to illustrate is that the silhouette has been increasingly overlooked and sidelined in its importance to the aesthetic qualities of the shoe. Thus, it is time we look past the excess of fancy materials and colourways as the indicators of success.

Taking the above image as a starting point, it's function is as a template, mimicking the shape of a human foot as closely as possible but still retaining qualities of a standardised shoe silhouette. This provides a neutral blank canvass where the material makeup of the shoe is immaterial. Painting the original colourways of selected models with distinguish one shoe from the other. It is also integral that the comparison be made with the original sneaker as below.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Beyond Function

Street Intervention Installation | Adam SmithAlot

Historically the creative relationship between artists and sneakers has been self-contained within the boundaries of customization. Here the preoccupation with decoration relinquishes the potential for the sneaker to act as anything beyond a blank canvass. In contrast from a design perspective, the shoe’s intended function is rarely considered an issue let alone beyond the difficulties it provides for decoration. The artist’s need to accommodate for a changing canvass, through the obvious culprit of wear, typifies the most difficult of these decorative challenges.

For the artist to engage with the shoe on anything other than a decorative basis, it has to be made into an entity of its own right. By severing the shoe from the individual/athlete (who might wear it), the sneaker becomes a static object, seemingly paralyzed by its inability to perform its intended function as an item of dress. It is in this state that an artist can begin to play with ideas of its identity, symbolism, silhouette, animation, form and even its function again. The work of street artist Adam SmithAlot is a case in point to this approach. His playful method allows an accessible point of entry into the world beyond the simply decorative and the material.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Is this what they're calling force?

"Force is the perfect word for my game. People ask what you trying to do in the game? I'll tell you what. I'm trying to force my will upon the guy I'm playing against!"

"Round Mound of Rebound the Chunky Funk of Dunk. It was get the ball, get your motor running, get off the floor, get out the way... I'm dunking on you!"

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Footwear Odes | Part 1

"I'm not paying for them... size eight and half." So begins 'Sneakers' by Raekwon, a Pete Rock produced track that has that familiar feel to an old Raekwon crime joint but with some serious overtones concerning his footwear. We are treated to a character study of The Chef entirely through his affiliations and adoration of sneakers. Early confessions to being an "Adidas Freak" with a collection totaling out at a round "multi thousand pair" are the simple bragings of his opening verse. If anything these rhymes are just the declaration of some rudimentary facts, a rightful way of passage before he treats us to the real nitty gritty of it all. It is itself a topic so large that it comes as no surprise that the whole second verse is a flush with individual models and brand names and their connotations within the game. Italian lines Diadora and Elesse get a shout out along with the connoisseurial cops of retro line Patrick and non other than that 80's hip-hop footwear staple, Travel Fox. Pleasingly fellow Wu Tang Clan cornerstone, Ghostface brings his chips to the table this time about that all important moment of copping a fresh deal: "bright fat yellow Air Max's" for "20 bucks off no tax" on "Apollo Kids". That's just credit to the whole game.


Friday, 21 October 2011

Reminiscing | Copping Kicks

Its non other than a pleasant reminder of what footlocker looked like back in the day. Judging by the desires of now, we have some slept on butters seemingly being taken for granted. Them being so hard to come by, one can only have the pleasure of reminiscing. 

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Caught in Time

Sometimes all that's required to pass the time is for a little dig and rummage within the dusty archives of the internet for some simple sneaker memories. Thus, what's been cooked up here is an insight into how some of hip-hops finest have wanted to immortalise some of their favourite footwear moments. By all means this is just the first installment of this image based exercise but there is more than enough light hearted entertainment to pour over in the chosen 8 below.  

Nike Air Pressure on Audio 2

Air Assaluts Fat-Boys 

Air Jordan 3's on 3 Times Dope

Air Jordan IV's on Ice T

Nike Air flight 87 sighting on EPMD

Air Jordan I's on LL Cool J

Nike Air Assault's on the polished Will Smith

Air Jordan IX's on Tupac (no creases on them toe boxes)

Monday, 10 October 2011

Beats, Rhymes and Kicks: In the beginning there was Troop

Continuing to explore hip-hop's adoption of sneakers we return to the early 1980's and in doing so turn our attention to the Footwear brand Troop. Conceived and owned by a Korean man named Hyosung, his approach to business would change the sneaker landscape forever. Troops success was in its marketing to the inner cities. They were the first company to identify with hip-hop culture so much so that at one point in the early 1980's, sporting the footwear brand Troop was the height of rap status. The likes of Stetsasonic wore them and their spokes person at that time was a fresh faced L.L. Cool J. Unlike any of the the major footwear companies to date, Troop wouldn't buy into the sport specific mentality for training shoes. Of greater impact still, they acknowledged and catered for potentially the largest market for footwear, the overlooked inner city business.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

The Blame Game

Sneakers are in the DNA of hip-hop. Since its earliest incarnation on the streets of 1980's New York, the beginnings of hip-hop saw training shoes seduced away from their athletic heritage. The conservative sneaker archetypes of performance and function suddenly had to accommodate for the emergence of the individuals style and aesthetic to champion their game. This was as important when on the mic as off the mic even as when on the hallowed turf as off it. If you came into the circle, the wall or the mic (the arena that governs them both) all of a sudden you had to represent yourself. You are forced to be the art form in both appearance and substance. It was more than simply peacocking. An identity had to be forged through the performance and its flavour respectively. This mindset would eventually spill out beyond the streets, beyond the 80's underground music scene into the mainstream and infect primarily the world of professional basketball and its global audience. This evolutionary development is best illustrated by the publication of Michael Jordan's comments to Tinker Hatfield: 'If I look better, I feel better. If I feel better, I play better. If I play better, I win'.

With the rise of any new cultural maxims, it is symptomatic of current society to remember the innovators over the failures. Explaining the reasons for failure within the sneaker hip-hop crossover is simply not as straightforward as one might think or willingly believe. Pinpointing the influences of sneakers on hip-hop might as well be the history of hip-hop's influence on sneakers. Any questions as to who wrongly influenced who in their mistakes is a round robin game. Was it the ambitions of the music embodying the artist's image and lifestyle or the very design execution of the sneaker for this new cultural market? What is certain within this article (and I choose my last few introductory words carefully) is that it's possible to unearth the primary suspect at the source of this  sneaker and music failure. Our culprit is the album art of graphic design firm Pen & Pixel.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Inside the Innovation Kitchen

In this rare chance to see the the ins and outs of Nike's Innovation Kitchen, Nike basketball's Head of Innovation, Shane Kohatsu, and their Head of Innovation for Sportswear, Ben Shaffer, lift the lid on the hyperfuse phenomenon and its projected  future and possible outreach. As hinted in the video, the nature of the technology will see it's possible incorporation into any sneaker project. It wouldn't require too much speculation to see the term 'hyperfusing' becoming a bona fide verb in sneaker circles. For better or for worse, the potentially problematic 'hyperfusing' of increasing numbers of classic models and silhouettes is inevitably going to cause a variety of schisms. But putting all those issues aside, it is none the less  extremely refreshing to see a little transparency from Nike when it comes to the technological breakthrough's they tend to avoid explaining. A similar approach to 'vach tech' would be much appreciated I can guarantee. 

Monday, 11 July 2011

What is the true Nike Air Force 2?


Nowadays people generally refer to the 1986-87 Air Force's as Air Force 2's or even more commonly, "Barkleys". As the name suggests these were the flavours of Charles Barkely's Illadelph crew, and were the first sneakers that Nike produced in the colours of blue on white with yellow accenting and blue on white with red accenting. Obviously these colourways were the cleanest of the pick even among the later retro releases. As happy and keen as I am to continue referencing to them as "Barklays", they are in fact not the real Air Force 2's and should not be referred to as such. There never being an official release of an Air Force 2 by Nike is what complicates the matter. So it begs asking the question, how then can I challenge this common misconception?  

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Flying Kicks + Laces = Typography Round 2

In a previous post entitled the 'Mystery of Flying Kicks', this film's meticulous groundwork suggested a whole variety of explanations as to why our urban landscape is decorated the world over with kicks thrown onto telephone wires etc. Of the many answers suggested I want to simply focus on the topic of commemoration. Paired with my earlier posting of the TYPELACE typeface by Rafael Farias (an illustration of typography's infiltration into the sneaker game) I wish to illustrate the possible complexity of information conveyed in something as simple as the imagery of flying kicks. 

Monday, 23 May 2011

Pens & Paper

Nike Dunks on the Road - Anon
BACKGROUND: Founded by Christopher Gray in 2009, TOY is a collective of European designers, artists and illustrators who among other things were recently featured as One's to Watch in Creative Review magazine. Working as both a creative agency and an artist management service, Toy's global client base includes Sony, Macy's, Hilton Hotels, Nike and Busch Gardens (courtesy of Art&Sole)...

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

'Rafael Farias' Upping The Anti - Shoe Strings Round 2

Background: Farias is one third of the 'BUMF' Collective, an ongoing online exhibition that involves the creations of work following rules set by the collective. The 'TYPELACE' typeface was created in 2009 as a response to a very specific brief set by 'BUMF': to create a typeface using a single found object. Two years later it is getting its first airing as part of 'THE 3D TYPE BOOK'. 
(Courtesy of Art&Sole)

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

A must see and do! - Round 3

INTRO: Blackstar (feat. Talib Kweli & Mos Def) is a tantalizing bill of Hip Hop royalty accredited with shaping the now acclaimed underground alternative rap scene of the early 1990's. Part of the Native Tongues Posse and rising from the thinking artist's anti violence brand of 'conscious rap with a soul vibe', these two are undoubtedly on anybodies roll call of hip hop's finest and most intelligent team talents. These universally respected artists share the stage to take us on a journey through hit after hit that are lyrically and musically still streets ahead of anything out there today. The songs are as relevant now as they were back in the day, and this show (like all their shows) promises to deliver a timely reminder of Hip Hop's ability to show the possibility of a better world.

Now for the fact and figures. Black Star's Mos Def and Talib Kweli reunite in the UK for the first time since 1999 at the Hammersmith Apollo this Tuesday the 10th of May. As ever if you needed any more reasons not to miss out then here they are...

Monday, 18 April 2011

A must see and do! - Round 2

INTRO:       GZA is one of the most influential lyricists of our time. Serving as a figurehead for the Wu-Tang Clan on several multi-platinum releases and as the creator of one of the most critically praised albums of all time (Liquid Swords), GZA has proven time and time again that he is worthy of the tittle 'Genius'. As Wu-Tang Clan member Method Man attests, "... he's the head. Let's put it that way. We form like Voltron and GZA happens to be the head."   

Throughout the years, GZA has remained exceptionally busy, tourgin the globe, releasing his sixth solo album ('Pro Tools') and appearing on various Wu-Tang releases. Look out for a brand new album this late spring of 2011 from the Genius titled 'Liquid Swords Part II - Return of the Shadow Boxer'

As one might have been expecting, coming this Tuesday the 19th of April is GZA aka the 'Genius". His much anticipated return to these shores will see him celebrate with a heavy dose of lyrical nostalgia. In what may be seen more as a career retrospective, we can expect to be treated with a whole range of material spanning from classic tracks from the legendary 1993 album, 'Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)', to his critically and commercially acclaimed album 'Liquid Swords' from 1995 to his latest release of 2008 'Pro Tools'. We can only hope that this time round, he will take it upon himself to wet our appetites by lifting the veil on his new material of the yet to be released Liquid Swords Part II - Return of the Shadow Boxer'. However, this may be a desperate cry on my behalf for the impossible but there seems little danger in some well placed hope of sorts. 

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

How Good Is Your Discerning Eye?

It has come to my attention that the time has come to shed some light upon the subtle design changes seen in the newer generations of Nike Air Max 1's. With the current rate at which new models are dropping, it is of integral importance to understand where these modifications are to be found on specific releases. By doing so (which I cant stress enough) it is possible to discover design changes that Nike have and more importantly have never authorized. This makes perfect sense in an age where internet sites like eBay have become all too easily the second mandatory port of call for anyone looking for a rare if not limited edition release of sneakers.  To avoid any further confusion this is not explicitly an exercise in the quality control of the Air Max 1 and so it's not my aim to dismiss the importance of quality control either. My efforts are to discern the evolving nature of the design elements of the Nike Air Max 1. The desired result of this exercise will be a clearer understanding as to how this sneaker, that is only statistically second to the Nike Air Force One in its number of different designs and collaborations, is able, without the crutch of retro re-releases, to still infatuate the sneaker community new release after new release. 

For the sake of simplicity and clarity, the sequence of sneakers to be discussed will abide to the chronology of their production. As illustrated in the introductory photo, the depicted models of Nike Air Max 1 are:

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Did someone mention shoe laces/strings?

The role and rhetoric surrounding shoe laces (strings) has come on leaps and bounds since the earliest materialisations of the sneaker game. To this day, cynics hold out that these developments - for the perceived worse - are not unique to laces but applicable to the bigger picture of sneaker culture as a whole. For the sake of this exercise though, our attentions will primarily focus on the developments of shoe strings and their evolutionary pathway as a separate journey, and a subject matter in their own right. 

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

More Than What Catches The Eye - Part 1

Phil Knight's last words before retiring were: 'never forget to hear the voice of the athlete'. The relationship between the shoe and the athlete is one of the most important aspects of sneaker design, especially in the designing of a signature shoe. I have discussed previously the marketing and design importance of the Air Force One (in 'where is my complimentary poster') and furthermore touched upon some aspects of the sneaker's relationship with the athlete. Much has been said about the 'Original Six' and what they represented for Nike. The word silhouette, however, has become a synonym for the Air Force One. In its literal context, the white on white of the sneaker's composition leaves the the main body of the shoe devoid of interest and detail, so by focussing all attention upon the outline. Little further study as such has been made on this silhouette beyond its aesthetic qualities, undisputed performance and role as a cultural symbol. The genius of the design of this silhouette lies in its referencing of something singularly more efficient than the performance of an athlete. It is the incorporating and reinterpreting of the evolutionary traits of nature's own perfect athletes. I am specifically referring to nature's best predators. 

To avoid confusion over this subject matter, it is useful to unearth the extent to which selected examples of sneaker design have incorporated this ruse. In the case of  Kobe Bryant's signature Nike Air Huarache 2K4 shoe, the initial preconception was first realised by the athlete. Kobe, when interviewed as to how he conceives himself on court, described himself as something of a predator. His further elaborations  expressed an interest in the behavioral characteristics of predators, especially sharks. It is from this brief interview that designers from Nike took Kobe's ideas and incorporated some physical characteristics of a shark in the designing of the shoe. This may be initially illustrated in the images below:

Nike Air Huarache 2K4

Close up detail of the shark tooth pattern
Close up detail of the herringbone pattern

Monday, 7 March 2011

The various languages of design

Too often, the sneaker game begins to fall back upon its old habits; habits that fail to see much beyond the finished product of the sneaker. We find ourselves talking about the latest drops, new colourways, who's been rocking what and so on. Every now and then the conversation might touch upon a piece of iconic sneaker history. This occurrence usually happens within the context of a retro re-release or such an anticipated calender event as Black History Month. This is not to say that within the finished product of the sneaker, important issues over its design improvements or modifications are not discussed. We just have to look at the controversy surrounding the Air Jordan "Carmine" & "Aqua" 6-17-23's. The language of design couldn't be more explicit than when broaching the topic of a new hybrid sneaker. Immediate issues of contention (though still grounded on an aesthetic judgement) revolve around such observations as which architectural traits have and have not been kept from each original sneaker. Though it might be obvious it is by no means lacking importance to remind the reader that in such an illustration it is not simply the case of splicing together half of one model with that of half the other. It should not be singularly, however, within such a limited scope of sneaker hybridization, that the overall aesthetic appreciation of the sneaker should include an active engagement and a conscious recognition of the shoe's design features, both past and present.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Music/Art exhibition at NYC MoMa - with a little bit of a twist

New York's Museum of Modern Art is hosting their third exhibition on the intersection of music and art. Its title "looking at Music 3.0" presents the New York scene on the 1980's and 1990's, a rich period when graffiti, performance art, and hip hop emerged from the underground. The show features the work of dozens of artists like Keith Haring, Diamanda Galas, Karen Finley, Christian Marclay, Sonic Youth, Run DMC, Afrika Bambaataa, Kathlene Hanna and Le Tigre, and Laura Levine, just to name a few. The little taster above is a Levine's stunning portrait of Talking Heads bassist Tina Weymouth and hip hop legend Grandmaster Flash, shot in 1981 for a cover of New York Rocker. 

In light of this artistic emprise to explore the cross-fertilization between art and music in the 1980's and 1990's, it doesn't seem like a bad idea to do a bit of digging ourselves to explore the murky world of sneakers and sneaker culture of this very same cultural underground. The temptation would be to dive headlong back into the 1970's but really that venture can be saved for another rainy day. If anything, I guess it would be nice to bolster the work of the MoMa with some genuine sneaker scholarship to paint a fuller, more replete image of this historic window in time...  

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Big Big News Indeed!

The Air force 1's absence from the online NikeiD design studio has been a glaring issue with sneakerheads over the past few years. And save for a brief appearance on Christmas day last year, the classic sneaker has been able to be customized at only a handful of locations worldwide. Thankfully though, the Swoosh is bringing back the AF1 to the well deserving and patient masses. Remember this date! Friday, February 18th will mark the sneakers long awaited return to NikeiD. No word has been given as to how long the shoes will be available for but if you want some customizable kicks, you had better get your skates on and move fast; only 350 kicks were released last time. Ouch!

As we're talking about two things that really excite me, firstly customization and secondly, the bona fide phenomenon that is the Air Force One, it's about time that we take a little look at what is achievable with the silhouette of the AF1 as our blank canvass. From the sublime to the ridiculous here are some ideas for anyone that has got their creative game tight enough for the NikeiD studios...

Where is my complimentary poster?

How do you honor the past when you have to define the future? When Nike sold the Air Force One in 1982, they sold you the sneaker, you got a poster. In those days posters were the internet and the cable television of that time period. A kid would take a poster and put it on their wall and that was the game to communicating to that kid. The beauty of this system was that it made the shoe into something more than just a shoe, a shoe that represented a culture, a phenomenon and consequently an icon. 

Most bizarrely Nike never advertised the sneaker. There's never been a commercial. THe only brief period was when a complimentary poster would be found in your new Air Force One shoebox. For that poster Nike needed individuals to capture and personify the essence of the Air Force One. The 'Original Six' were chosen and represented the shoe. This meant that the ones who knew about the sneaker, knew that there was a poster with six guys on it who were super human.  

Thursday, 10 February 2011

More than just a sneaker

Here's an all important attempt to explain in an explicitly deconstructed visual language that the whole wide world might understand as to what it means to a sneaker head to lace up that fresh pair of Nike kicks on their feet and flaunt them to all them other street cats! Well then, here goes:

The best a blazer can be

Monday, 7 February 2011

Nike Mini Swoosh

Who doesn't love the mini swoosh on the side of the Air Max 1 toe box guard? It's such a great accent , but long forgotten by Nike a few years back. In 2009, Patta brought it back in their 5th anniversary shoe series and many sneaker enthusiasts loved the missed iconic accent return. Unfortunately though, we'll probably not see it again unless its requested by someone doing another Air Max 1 collaboration. For now, it was good seeing this fan favourite symbol back again.

As you can see, the above image has the 2002 Nike mini swoosh compared to the 2009/2010 versions. Just like the never ending changing shape of the Air Max 1 through the years, the mini swoosh has evolved to a shorter stubbier look. Luckily, its not a debacle re-hash like the recent shape trends of the AM1. 

Which one do you prefer? Original or New?

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Cabinet of curiosity

Sneaker storage is always something of dilemma. The challenges of finding adequate space are never ending. Shoe boxes, though they contain and protect one's prize, are not necessarily too pleasurable on the eyes. Worst of all is how do you combine a complex formula for classification that includes those kicks that are not too special to stomp around town in? 

The answer is simple...

Friday, 28 January 2011

A Little Exercise in Compare and Contrast

Its common knowledge that DJ Clark Kent is a force to be reckoned with within the sneaker game. His distinguished achievements in both collecting/wearing his kicks, as well as reaching the lofty heights of designing them too, means as an area of research, Clark's collection has got some surprises. I've managed to plunder the images for three models of Air Force 1 from his collection, that New York staple which is his kick of choice. I guess in this round the theme was minimalism, something I believe doesn't get enough of a shout out for in the current sneaker climate but of these three we will be needing a winner. So I guess it's time to meet the final three.    

Contender no. 1:

Beijing Basketball Air Force 1's (player exclusive)
Look at those milky bottoms! These are player exclusives they gave to USA basketball team to walk around in when they went over to Beijing for the Olympics


Contender no. 2:

Clark Kent New York City pack Air Force 1 (New York Jets)
The lack of visible stitch work on the side paneling requires some close attention. Made even better by it only being visible on the swoosh. 


Contender no. 3:

2004 NBA All Star Game Air Force 1 (player exclusive)
White on whites are the most beautiful Air Force 1's ever but this sort of detailing is definitely asking some questions.

"Alive & Well" Photoshoot with TT Coles

Something to simply kicks back and enjoy... 

But here's a short intro:
"Alive & Well" is a collaborative project consisting of Liuns Den member, Ekundayo and Dead Prez member, MikeFlo. These two emcees come together to bring you that rawness that hip hop is respectfully known for. But with this clip we go behind the scenes of their photoshoot with photographer TT Coles for their upcoming project.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Just Got to Love Customisation - Air Force Huarache 'Hexachromes'

Customisation has upped its game in recent years yet with these latest pictures of the work of JGoods, the Air Force Huarache 'Hexachromes', we are beginning to see a toning down in brash outlandish even confrontational styles typical of the work of such artists as Tangible Thoughts. We are no strangers to the idea of custom kicks with their bold, mural-esque imagery and brilliant execution but these would suggest that there is an up-market move to something a little bit more minimal in design but still with an eye for detail. 

What's represented on your Air Max's

It's easy enough to simply accept the external appearance of a sneaker for granted. The choosing of colours, the material, the texture, the design, the laces, the internal and external architecture and structure, the silhouette etc are all things we considered when making any new purchase of some fresh kicks. Though it may seem a bit left field, on how many occasions does one consider how each singular part of the sneaker captures the essence of that sneaker and what does that individual element and all the other elements combine to mean? Obviously each sneaker in its own way contains within its DNA historically unique and once revolutionary traits. These traits are as much about enhancing the aesthetic of the sneaker than purely further enhancing its performance. 

Yet it is when you start to have a somewhat radical re-haul and begin to replace this genetic makeup that I have described with the emotive reactions one gets by wearing them or even how we conceive ourselves when wearing them, we get an altogether more exciting shoe. So by stripping away the flesh of the physical aesthetic and performance elements and building upon this new bare skeletal structure we start to generate up an image of the examples below. The final product is something that is historically relevant but more deeply personalized than any custom kick and is just a conceptual evolutionary advancement in the sneakers own genealogy.   

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4: The Final Product

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The Renegade Advertising Monster - Nike's Secret Weapon - Part 1

Its an observation I've harbored for some time but one which I wouldn't begin to suspect as a sole note of my own, this being the coining of the concept of ‘renegade advertising’. 

Driven entirely by the independent artist and designers worldwide, who are not in any shape or form part of the make up of Nike, find themselves in a position of constantly developing and providing images that are a reminder as to what is possible by pushing the boundaries of perceived creative limits. Their intentions are seemingly simple. With the given examples below, it would be difficult to assign any further meaning to their work other than a desire to perfect an overall style, aesthetic, design and even ‘school’ of their own making. Due to the never ending popularity of Nike’s brand name, its image and the important ideology of the brand, provides the raw materials that has and always will produce independently creative conceptions that can only benefit and thus flatter the creative forces within Nike.

But what we find when these excellent pieces of creative work are displayed in their designed setting of the street, is that inevitably their using of the Nike brand and its own clear cut imagery sees these works take on a whole new purpose altogether.  This purpose is inevitably one of providing further exposure and advertising for the brand independently of Nike’s wishes or commands. So it is from this that we find use in the coining of the term ‘renegade advertising’. Crucially what is important in this example is that the association of these creative works to Nike can only be a brilliant thing and more importantly prove that Nike is very much on top of its game, if it is to inspire this level of creativity from fellow artists and designers. 

Words of wisdom never to be forgotten

A true and fair message for any sneaker head 

Digital Nike taking it back to the 90's

Nothing other than one of the best Nike murals to have been created in the last five years 

A taste of my childhood