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.