This entry is short and Nike heavy. Seeing as a couple of things pertaining to the swoosh went live over the last 48 hours, I may as well direct you there. First up, there was this quick chat with Mark Parker about HTM (I had to include my dud attempt to get him to compare the Presto Roam to the new Superfly. He was too professional for that) for 032c. Not included was a quick conversation about the Nike Internationalist (which I was wearing) — Mark actually designed that shoe as well as a few of the V-Series, the Epic and the Escape among others. Nice guy and great to get the opportunity to talk about specific shoes with him. Then there’s this Genealogy of Innovation site right here which I’m proud of. I worked with a bunch of talented project managers and designers (salutes to R/DA for that execution), with invaluable help from Nike’s DNA department to get this done — the way they laid this out (provided that your wi-fi is strong and your browser ain’t out of date — otherwise you might want to pass until it’s on paper) as a site is great. Displayed like this it’s basically a simulation of the inside of my head. I wish we could have gotten our hands on the cleated versions of the Air Match models and hasn’t omitted the Air Fire due to circumstances beyond our control, but bar the Air 180, they’re all original shoes. It could have easily spilled into 500, 600 or 800. But it didn’t. Maybe next time. If you like some of the nonsense I put up here, you might find something to like there.
Tag Archives: mark parker
Apologies for the lack of updates during the week — I was at the launch of the new Superfly in Madrid with Nike and didn’t get much time to do much research on anything. It was good to get some interview time with Mark Parker to discuss HTM, football design and other related things — that conversation should be up on a certain magazine’s website pretty soon. It was also good to see what Nike is planning with its top-tier think tank when it comes to football design — previous attempts from every brand to cross football and lifestyle on the footwear front have been variable, but the prototype of the Nike Free Mercurial Superfly HTM looked very good up close. That project has come a long way since the days of fruitlessly rushing to Footpatrol at the weekend after a Being Hunted heads up to grab some Presto Roams or Terra Humaras with the three-letter premium. Then again, a lot’s changed since then — I never thought I’d get the opportunity to work in that particular field back then, because I was buying shoes with Jobseeker’s Allowance and a pit of credit card debt.
If you’re interested in the incredible attire on some of Britain’s street-level elite back in the day (and I’m assuming that you’ve already got a vague interest in hip-hop), join the UK Hip-Hop Archives Project group on Facebook and check out the collection of Martin Jones’ (Goldie’s former manager during his graffiti/b-boy years of 1984-1989) incredible photographs that are currently being scanned. A 1987 picture of Trans-Atlantic Federation era 3D wearing Nike Air Safaris and a Mercedes pendant (the only other celebrity I’ve seen in Safaris beyond Pos and the Biz) is just one of the current highlights. Go get involved.
(Image by Martin Jones, taken from the UK Hip-Hop Archives Project page)
An interesting looking biography of Ol’ Dirty Bastard is on its way late this year. The Dirty Version: On Stage, in the Studio, and in the Streets with Ol’ Dirty Bastard by Buddha Monk and Mickey Hess drops via HarperCollins in December. With Buddha Monk being a Brooklyn Zoo member, he should have some extra insight on the ODB myth. Buddha’s been doing the rounds with some tales of misbehaviour that indicate that this could be a potential classic for rap trivia obsessives. With a North Star member cut his genitals off, it’s been a bad month for Wu affiliates, but this should readdress the balance (speaking of obscure Wu family, whatever happened to the brilliantly named Ancient Coins?).
I don’t know whether this is real, some kind of Jimmy Kimmel prank or a viral for a movie, but Miami rapper Stitches (who’s apparently just 18 years old) has some of the most insane face ink to date — stitches on the mouth and an AK on the cheek (plus a startling amount of Instagram followers). Pinhead hurling Johnson’s Baby Powder around, guns being wielded and a shouty mixtape with a cover that doesn’t live up to the visuals in the video are just part of his initial assault. Snitches might get stitches, but Stitches preaches a no-ratting rule, as the No Snitching Is My Statement title testifies. It takes a lot to make me bat an eyelid when it comes to rap, but this had me doing a full Roger Moore eyebrow.
I’m slacking on blog updates because I just got back from NYC and I’m prepping to go on a stag weekend. I’m not used to actually living an existence — I’m more adept at forging one vicariously via the internet outside of everyday working hours, so it throws my WordPress routine and makes me twitch with OCD. I had something bigger planned for today, but the ground’s moving beneath me in pulsating waves — not good Max B wavy, but weirdo body clock wavy. Still, while London Fashion Week sounds dull so far, I’m feeling some new acquisitions that do an admirable job of taking something traditional and turning it into something technical. The thing about press trips is this — you can actually polish a turd. If you fly enough journalists out, make them feel special and present the turd to them in a glossy, bombastic fashion then thank them for attending, they’ll probably write a glowing write-up of the turd. What’s good for the karma is when you go on a trip to see an unveiling and you can gush about it because it’s genuinely excellent — Nike’s Flyknit is my kind of shoe. Beyond those of us who would take a man’s life for some shoes with a space scene on the upper, there’s those oddballs I identify with, who like moments in Nike eccentricity like the Alpha Project’s Seismic, 2008’s Lunar Racer (modern classic), Zoom Havens, Mariah PRs, Duelist PRs, the Woven collection that ushered in the ’00’s, Humaras and the entire HTM line that somehow linked Nike’s CEO, Mr Mark Parker to Tinker Hatfield and Hiroshi Fujiwara in a way that reeked of mutual respect and real-deal top-tier sensibilities.
Mark appreciates design (he really loves the Haven) and Hiroshi has a knack for elevating performance eccentricity. Somewhere down the line we became bogged down in variations on a theme, but the Nike GYAKUSOU range indicated that the future was top-tier performance rather than retros. It’s easy to assumed that HTM was always about premium classics in nice boxes, but the mid-cut Woven variation that was only an HTM release, first Macropus and latterly, the HTM2 Run Boot, indicated that is was a more freeform concept than that. That the latest HTM release debuted in a significant Track & Field trial at the start of the year rather than in the pages of ‘Warp,’ and that Mark mentioned the HTM project in his address to the global media is proof that there’s a conscious effort to push things forward that slapped me out of my footwear apathy.
If you compare initial whisperings about HTM from the Hiroshi interview from a Summer 2000 issue of ‘The Fader’ to the brief Q&A I had with Hiroshi and Mark that you can read here, there’s some interesting developments. Something went wrong in other sections of the collector-targeting offerings from every brand along the way in the interim, but HTM has always been an interesting experiment. I’m infatuated with the HTM+ Lunar Flyknit Trainer+ for that densely detailed toe, the threaded Dynamic Support eyelets (the Zoom Haven’s influence runs deep in these), the flipped colours on the medial side plus the way they feel like slippers on your foot, whereas the majority of attractive Nike slimline runners leave me doing the Verbal/Keyzer Söse hobble. A knit shoe can work like the Missoni Converse effort or it can be twisted into something even more cutting edge, and I imagine that in the wrong hands it could look like it was purchased at a craft fair from an earnest lady in a tie-dye skirt. Developments like Flyknit remind me why I like shoes. Seeing a Flyknit Air Max 1 or some such merger of classic and brand new technology would be a step backwards, but I’m not mad if shoes of the Flyknit Trainer’s calibre. I’m still waiting for the time when NIKEiD will allow us to submit an image or pattern for the Knit machine to add to the upper of our iD creations. For the time being, this colourway is a fine display of showboating the technology’s visual possibilities.
Today, vast conga lines of kids with Air Max 1s on slowly advanced towards the Supreme store doors and spent some serious bucks. I like the Kate stuff a lot – sneer all you like, but that official photoshoot stuff always delivers, yet the item I was most preoccupied with this season was the Taped Seam Coaches Jacket. It’s a basic look (Eazy-E on the ‘It’s On…’ EP cover wears a coaches jacket perfectly) and as a kid, from Naf Co 54 (the fake market store Naf Naf) and Spliffy to the cheapo faux-fur lined Raiders NFL-licensed efforts from Olympus Sports, they were a favourite. Supreme like to mess with the design, whether it’s working with Champion on collections of colours or giving them animal prints inside, but delivering a triple layer technical fabric jacket in the coach format is the kind of thing that those hype-wide eyes might miss during the feverish retail of the next few days, but with the nylon versions from my childhood being somewhat limited in their protection during blustering, inclement weather, this is tweaked to perform and look good. What’s often boxy has been taken in a little, and the teal variant is a killer coat, with an economic look that makes it versatile. I particularly like the contrast between the basic drawstring mode of fastening and the precise liner lines of machine-applied tape. The Champion variation in a similar shade eluded me a couple of years ago, so salutes to Angelo and James for their kindness.