Tag Archives: richard clarke


It’s a less sub-sub-sub-substantial update tonight because I’m packing for Paris. If you can find a twattier introduction to a blog entry anywhere else, I’ll be surprised. Normally I’ll think about a blog topic during the day, but I’ve been distracted by a presentation on sports footwear for some amassed PR folks (who rather kindly, didn’t throw rocks or bottled urine at me for my witless rambling). All I can do is loosely tie some self-promotion to a topic that was raised during said presentation during the Q&A — “What constitutes a modern classic?” All I can muster is ‘Nike Lunar Racer’ and point out that the ability to trace the lineage of an object through its reference points will null future classic status.

Anything lifestyle rather than sports orientated from the get-go is null too (we’re talking sneakers specifically there rather than a bigger picture with that one). I’m becoming quite the rent-a-quote — rant@garywarnett.com, but I couldn’t recall writing most of the 6-page article I submitted to Mr. Simon Wood for the new ‘Sneaker Freaker.’ I think it was a busy month. Maybe I blacked out. Still, I’m pretty happy with it — it’s a couple of thousand words bemoaning the truly strange product on the shelves and an excess reliance on retrospective goods. There’s probably a link between the two.

It raises the subject of the Nike Alpha Project of the late 1990s. It’s generally considered a failure in its attempts to give Nike a new identity at a point when their public relations were in an odd place when it came to some pretty damning broadsheet coverage. But here’s the paradox — it’s one of the greatest moments for the brand’s Innovation output from a fanboy perspective. From 1996 to 2000 the Nike design language went buckwild, throwing the rulebook out (and wisely for some necessary pre-millennial progression, the baby with the bathwater too). I hold the project in very high esteem, as my day job is with a company built on articles on some key Alpha Project releases (thank you to the Seismic and Kukini) made by occasionally overlooked genius designers (and all-round good guys) like Richard Clarke and Sean McDowell.

I was glad to see Woody got plenty Alpha imagery in the piece too. Beyond the Zoom Citizen, Air Max ’99, Presto, Flightposite, Vis Propensity III, Trainer Max V, Radiant RW, Trainerposite and Air Tuned Idea designs, 1999’s $200 ACG monster, the Air Pumori ACG , was a vast boot with shades of Superdome about it, but apparently made with snowboarding in mind. Just as the Zoom Force 1 takes the Uptown to the slopes, this bad boy had some Air Max Tuned ’99 and Air Max 95 to it. An Air Max (well, kind of) snowboard boot. We need this level of lunacy to become a daily operation again.

Other than that, it’s good to see some buddies like professional Frenchman Mr. Jay Smith, Mr. Alex Nash with an MF Doom collaboration and Mr. Craig Leckie contributing to issue #21 too. The design of ‘Sneaker Freaker’s stepped up a great deal too. 21 issues — where the fuck did the time go?


Zoom Seismic designed by Richard Clarke

Between the day job and copywriting today, today’s blog is particularly aimless. Stuck between regressive and attempts to stay at least moderately progressive, my mind’s been on sports footwear. This blog was originally created as an outlet for things that aren’t shoe related, but I can’t deny my admiration for shoe design when its done right. Google Patents has been a godsend for studying the legal nitty-gritty of brands in general, and on the running/basketball/training shoe front, as brands battled in the technology wars of the late ’80s and ’90s, the sheer volume of patents filed was staggering – its on this, another of Google’s glorious timewasters, that you can see the original sketches of core elements that made up classics.

The imagery below is strictly for the nerds and fellow oddballs out there, but design-minds might get a kick out of it too. Good to see that Nike took the development of some of the stranger late ’90s performance pieces now cemented with a certain cultdom and misty-eyes on mention from types who spent hours poring over beat-led stoner music and Project Dragon once-upon-a-time. I’d really like to know more about this though.

You can tell me that sneakers are done while you slide around in your brogues in slapstick fashion, but when it comes to the more ambitious side of shoes with Swooshes, and messrs. Clarke, Hatfield and Lozano were feeling particularly inspired, you got the design classics. Looking at them as component parts here, I appreciate the damned things even more.

As a small, partially-related digression, while this retrospective is more fun than the actual movie, Spike Lee’s ‘School Daze’ doesn’t get the shine it deserves from an apparel standpoint. Custom adidas sweats? A prolonged Jordan II cleaning scene, and while I could pretend I clocked them in ‘Public Domain’ or on Jack’s feet earlier in ‘The Witches of Eastwick,’ is that a pair of Dunk Hi’s I spy as part of the most pauseworthy ensemble of Spike’s directorial career? If you’re gonna rock hi-tops, best not to combine them with daylgo Speedos that even the House of Xtravaganza in ‘Paris is Burning’ would deem a bit “much.” What’s with all the briefs at a pajama party? For me, reeling from the heavy-handed message at work, it was a curious introduction to a shoe that became a phenomenon.


The reason I’m dropping some truly gratuitous screengrabs is in tribute to the homie Jonathan Rockwell’s ‘A Fist In The Face Of God’ blog, mixing screencaps with a true knowledge of black metal, thrash and legends like Saint Vitus. It’s one of the best sites out there – big things a ‘gwan this year for team ‘Fist.

Terra Goatek designed by Sergio Lozano

Air Trainer SC High designed by Tinker Hatfield

Zoom Haven designed by Richard Clarke

Part of the Jordan XI designed by Tinker Hatfield

Zoom JST designed by Tinker Hatfield

Air Flight designed by Tinker Hatfield

Jordan XI IE designed by Tinker Hatfield

Air Moc designed by Tory Orzeck