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August 23 2014

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Nike Goes Denim for Latest Liberty of London Collab

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What happens when an American sportswear powerhouse collaborates with a U.K. prints legend? We are talking about Nike and Liberty of London, who, yes, have collaborated since 2007, but for summer 2014, the two have done something extra special.

“Nike was clear from the beginning they were interested in denim looks,” explains Anna Buruma, Liberty archivist. “So we chose a number of fabrics from our archives which we felt best matched that description.”

Fabric and prints geeks out there, take note: From the vast and legendary Liberty archive, Nike chose “Anoosha,” a 1930s blossom and bell print; “Lora,” a take on a 1970s version of William Morris’ “Willow” pattern; and “Crown,” a paisley block print from deep in the archives.

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The patterns were printed on denim and remixed for some of Nike’s best-loved shoes, including the Air Max 1, Air Max 90, Roshe Run, Internationalist, Blazer, and Dunk Sky Hi. Magnhild Disington, Nike footwear designer, explains her choice: “These prints caught our eye right away, but rather than jump on it at the moment, we stepped away from it all and thought about it. If the prints came back to us a few days later, we knew they were the ones. They became something out of the moment, and became something more enduring—which for us led to a more authentic, honest collection.”

“From the dozens, if not hundreds, of prints we presented to Nike, their selection of prints for us was fascinating,” says Buruma. “The way they combined it was not only delightful for us, but I think will be for our customers.” Given the empty Nike shelves in Liberty a day after launch, it seems she was correct about that.

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