20 posts tagged "Nike"
Every fourth summer, the nations of this earth steep themselves in the sport we in the U.S. like to call soccer. (Most Americans blithely continue upon our own preferred summertime business: outdoor drinking, barbecues.) Local fütbol fans have long had to content themselves with the stray Irish pub to catch the coverage, but Nike is giving them a stadium-sized outlet for their fervor. The label is set to open its latest STADIUM outpost on the Bowery in New York City, and the multipurpose shop/community center will be airing key World Cup matches for the public. Sting and Trudie Styler were among the guests at the private opening of the space, which was designed by Rafael de Cárdenas. “I was here all night with my assistants, laying down tape,” de Cárdenas noted, referring to the graphic design on the floor in the front room, executed in various colors of gaffer tape. “I based the design on a soccer ball, and then extrapolated,” de Cárdenas added by way explanation. “Ask me how many colors gaffer tape comes in. Go ahead, ask.” Answer: lots. Conveniently, that’s also the number of uses Nike intends for the NYC STADIUM, which will remain open for a year and host exhibitions, house the duds for the company’s Bridge Runners club, and air other major sporting events once the World Cup ends.
Nike STADIUM NYC opens May 20 at 276 Bowery, NYC, www.nikestadiums.com.
Runway fashion. Action sports. Strange bedfellows? Even in the age of Cynthia Rowley for Roxy, well, yes. But that doesn’t mean the twain shall never meet. Nike will announce today that it is debuting the first women’s collection from its 6.0 action sportswear line, and it’s clear from the fall pieces that the company’s had an eye on the world of style. Slouchy crewneck sweatshirts (sound familiar?); loose, color-blocked tanks; and functional, weather-proof parkas can stand up to the waves and the slopes—they were tested on surfer Monyca Bryne-Wickey and snowboarder Ellery Hollingsworth, who double as campaign girls—but don’t look like they’re fresh off the racks at Modell’s. And in case anyone was prepared to doubt Nike’s commitment to style, the brand brought in Helena Christensen to lens said campaign. Here’s your first look at HC’s shots (above), plus one of the photographer-supermodel-philanthropist in action (below).
I spent a lot of time in London this season thinking about shoes. (For reference, see here, here, and here.) But on Wednesday night, I was inducted into a footwear cult of a totally different kind, as Nike unveiled its new boot—i.e., soccer shoe—to me and 300 or so agog sports journalists. The Mercurial Vapor SuperFly II was designed with World Cup play in mind—invisible fretting inside the shoe to fit it to the foot, eye-popping color to attract teammates’ peripheral vision ahead of a pass—and Cristiano Ronaldo, currently the world’s best/most expensive player, was on hand at the Battersea Power Station to attest to Nike’s technical cunning.
Seeing is one thing, but wearing is believing, so Nike invited me to give the boot a test run, and on Thursday morning, I kitted up and headed down to a pitch in Chelsea to run drills and play in a pickup game. The drills were a lot like the ones promoted on Nike Football+, an interactive online training program purchasers of the Mercurial Vapor SuperFly II can access. (Maybe the next time Riccardo Tisci decides to show tottering platforms, he can give buyers an access code to an online training program that’ll drill them in walking down staircases and running for cabs.) The field also provided an opportunity to test out the shoe’s “adaptive traction technology”—basically, cleats that shrink or lengthen depending on what the player is doing and how the ground feels—on rain-soaked sod.
The shoes should improve the performance of the guys who wear them on the field in South Africa this summer, but if they improved mine, it wasn’t by enough. Arriving on the pitch after two solid weeks of fashion shows, with a Champagne hangover and an eye twitch from looking at too many clothes, I didn’t exactly do womandom proud. (I was the only girl on the field.) When the ball finally came sailing at me—a beautiful, clear, arced pass—I screamed, and the two French guys who’d been skeptical of me from the start traded a look equal parts satisfaction and disgust. But you know what, French dudes? Walk a mile in my six-inch platforms next fashion week. I’d like to see you try.
Why: Although I’m spared from vertiginous-heel-related pain during fashion month, I know many an editor and girl-about-town who yearns for a flatter option, even if just for between-show activities. So when I saw Nylon‘s Dani Stahl working her magazine’s kicks (Nylon paired with Nike to make some super-bright low-tops), I knew I’d found a potential arch saver. “The ultimate sneaker fanatic is my boss, Marvin Scott Jarrett, who has scoured the globe for the best trainers,” Stahl told me. “But the Nylon girl loves her kicks. So we’re happy to give them to her.”
When: Officially this June, but we spotted the fluorescent sneakers during New York fashion week, so keep your eyes peeled for London, Milan, and Paris sightings.
Richard Clarke really likes the word “innovate.” In conversation, the global creative director of Nike Sportswear scatters the verb like a bee spreading pollen, as he tries to get to the essence of the brand he’s worked for these past dozen years. This, he emphasizes again and again, is what Nike does: Nike innovates. “The brand is constantly on a journey toward perfection,” Clarke notes. “From the first shoe Bill Bowerman ever made, the goal of Nike has been to innovate new solutions for athletes. Back in 1967, runners wore track spikes. But you can’t run long distances in spikes. Bill Bowerman saw a problem, so he innovated a solution—the Cortez.” And the rest, as they say, is history: The first cushioned running shoe, the Cortez launched not just a brand, and a new category of footwear, but an entire fitness revolution. Now, the Cortez is one of eight “Icon” styles by Nike that are being relaunched and re-innovated under the auspices of Nike Sportswear, a distinct division within Nike that made its debut this spring in Beijing. Pop-up Nike Sportswear shops have opened in Los Angeles, Tokyo, and cities throughout Europe; tomorrow, the first and only permanent Nike Sportswear store opens on Mercer Street, in Soho. Here, Clarke talks to Style.com about the compromises of sporting style, meaningful retail, and looking to Nike’s past in order to innovate Nike Sportswear’s future.
Can I admit to some confusion? What distinguishes Nike Sportwear from just, you know, Nike?
From the most utilitarian standpoint, the difference is that Nike Sportswear is dedicated to eight styles: the Icons. We wanted to create a space where breakthrough products like the Air Force 1 or the Eugene Track Jacket could be remixed, and brought up-to-date technologically. And more generally, we think of Nike Sportswear as a range that honors personal style—for many athletes, there’s an aesthetic sacrifice that comes with playing sports, either because you’re required to put on a uniform, or because the most functional shoe or shirt or what-have-you is just not to your taste. Nike Sportswear gives consumers the opportunity to carry a personal sense of style into the realm of athletics.
I think I might still be confused. Let’s start with the concept of “remix.” From a consumer perspective, what does that mean?
Take the Air Max 90: When that shoe was released, it was the most advanced running shoe around. A lot of people wound up wearing it just because they liked the way it looked, but its design was inspired by a leap forward in technology. That’s always been Nike’s brief—innovation first. We serve athletes. Now, some people still identify with the Air Max 90, they like the shoe, they feel an emotional connection to it. But in the past 18 years, Nike has continued to innovate, and the Air Max 90 is, technologically, a shoe that’s way behind. Nike Sportswear’s Air Max 90 looks like the iconic Air Max 90, but in terms of how the shoe works, it’s brand-new. We’ve worked the latest innovation into a classic body. And then, of course, consumers can remix that shoe themselves: We’re doing a bespoke program at the Mercer Street store that allows people to customize the colors and so on of all our Icon styles.
Thank you, much clearer. But you touched on something interesting in that explanation, which is the fact that a lot of Nike’s classic styles are classic, in part, because they wound up making a fashion statement. Is style vs. innovation a false opposition?
Nike Sportswear is founded on the idea that style and innovation needn’t be opposed. To some degree, we’re just acknowledging the fact that consumers adapt our products to their own needs. They cherry-pick. They wear extraordinarily high-tech running shoes just to walk around in, because those shoes are comfortable. And they identify with products in ways we didn’t foresee—like, the Nike Dunk, a basketball shoe, was embraced by skateboarders. Nike Sportswear’s attitude is, yes, do that. Make your own meanings. And while you’re at it, come into our store, and make your own shoe.
I know that the Nike Sportswear boutique is the only place the full range of Nike Sportswear products will be available, but what does that mean, beyond the eight Icon styles?
The New York store is going to be the home of a number of products available there and nowhere else—the 21 Mercer Nike LunaRacer and 21 Mercer Flywire Windrunner, for example. And then we’ll be offering a selection of products that Nike has introduced into other markets, but not in the United States.
The store is launching with a block party tonight. Any particular reason you’ve decided to concentrate the opening fanfare outside the store, instead of inside it?
We really want the Nike Sportswear store to belong to the community. I mean, that goes to the values of the brand, this idea that our products can be vehicles of expression for the people who use them, and that we embrace that expression, and look to it for inspiration. The design of the store reflects that idea, too. We sourced materials locally, grabbing whatever we could from old gymnasiums that were being torn down. It’s as though the Nike Sportswear store itself was built on the sweat and blood of athletes; for every strip of wood, there’s a story. Make your own story: That’s the point.