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 — firstname.lastname@example.org, 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?