Virgil Abloh and Nike Announce New Design Project
“By the time I made my first trip to Beaverton (Nike), I immediately wanted to make something,” Abloh says. “I didn’t wait all those years just to have meetings at Nike.” During the first visit, he rebuilt a pair of triple-black Air Force 1 Low shoes using an X-ACTO knife and drew on them with markers, initiating one-offs for his staff to wear at that December’s Design Miami/, where he presented OFF-WHITE furniture.
This exercise became a quick turn of 12 Air Force 1s, all handmade by Matt Kilgore at Nike’s Blue Ribbon Studios. (Kilgore is the son of Bruce Kilgore, who designed the original Air Force 1 in 1982.) Abloh wanted the tongue’s inner foam exposed, a silver Swoosh with thick, obvious stitching and text nodding to the shoe’s origins in Beaverton, Oregon.
Establishing this reconstructed design language, combined with Abloh’s urgency to fulfill a life-long dream, would ultimately lead to The Ten, a collaborative exploration of 10 Nike footwear silhouettes.
“What we’re talking about here is larger than sneakers, it’s larger than design culture,” says Abloh. “It’s nothing short of state-of-the-art design. 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.”
The 10 shoes were divided into two themes. The first, “REVEALING,” was designed to look accessible: hand-cut, open-source and reconstructed. It includes the Air Jordan I, Nike Air Max 90, Nike Air Presto, Nike Air VaporMax and Nike Blazer Mid.
The second, “GHOSTING,” was designed with translucent uppers to further the idea of revealing and unite the second set of silhouettes through common material. It includes the Converse Chuck Taylor, Nike Zoom Fly SP, Nike Air Force 1 Low, Nike React Hyperdunk 2017 and Nike Air Max 97.
Nike will host “Nike Off Campus” events in New York City and London to celebrate The Ten through presentations of the full collection and exchanges about the ideas that inspired it. « Nike Off Campus » will take place in New York City from September 6 to 8 at 23 Wall Street and in London from September 14 to 19 at NikeLab 1948 LDN.
The first five icons of The Ten — the Air Jordan I, Nike Blazer, Nike Air Presto, Nike Air Max 90 and Nike Air VaporMax — will be pre-released at NikeLab stores in New York City (Sept. 9-13), London (Sept. 18-22), Milan (Sept. 21-25) and Paris (Sept. 26-30).
The full collection including all ten silhouettes will be available in November at NikeLab stores and select retailers worldwide.