Back in 1987 the Nike Air Max was the first shoe to make the invisible visible starting a sneaker design revolution. Since then the Air Max family has constantly evolved creating a collection of footwear icons, re-appropriated from the world of sport to the street. Adopted by new generations and new subcultures the Air Max has consistently been reinvented.
Celebrating 25 years of Air Max, Nike introduces a series of stories of reinvention from London, Paris and Milan to mark the launch of the Nike Air Max HomeTurf pack. The latest series of Air Max models have been reinvented taking subtle cues from each city’s distinctive architecture and unmistakable street styles. The result is a mashup of classic sport heritage and the latest technical innovation.
Now the next generation, who live and breathe Air Max, express their artistic stories of reinvention in their home cities. Their stories of creativity and passion reflect the attitude of the Nike Air Max evolution that has had such a significant cultural impact on the world of music, fashion and technology.
The Nike Air Max London collection for example merges Nike’s Hyperfuse material with an intricate combination of textiles to create a mix of matte and shine, inspired both by the contrasting grit and luxury of modern London and the traditional colors of London’s bustling public transport system.
Furthermore the Nike Air Max Milan collection is inspired by the muted tones of the city’s architecture and the vibrant pop colors of the city’s fashion and art industries, showing a subtle yet noticeable line of footwear that seamlessly blends with the fashion-forward masses who flock to Milan year after year.
Last but not least the Nike Air Max Paris collection uses Nike Hyperfuse construction to play with tonal hues of blue and black paired with bold naval-inspired stripes, suede uppers, waxed canvas laces and washed-out accents which mimic the city’s understated and timeless aesthetic.
AlunaGeorge is a London based duo consisting of electro-pop singer Aluna Francis and producer/keyboardist and former indie math-rock guitarist George Reid.
Starting a little over a year ago after meeting through the internet, and brought together by the mutual respect for each other’s music work, the British duo has come a long way: from the London suburbs to the inner city, from the studio to the live venues, Aluna and George tell us about how they made it and how they reinvented themselves to become AlunaGeorge, something more than the simple sum of its parts.
And London might as well be the third element of the British act, because it’s the city that allowed them to be free to express their own creativity and style allowing them to achieve a more personal approach to music. After all
“reinventing is a way to give new life to something. And sometimes you find out that something that you reinvent today makes more sense than what you did in the first place”, they say.
For this occasion AlunaGeorge reinvented their song “My Town”, an ode to London and to the infinite possibilities it gave them to become who they really are. In Aluna’s own words: “While living in the suburbs I was the odd one out. In London I found out who I am, who I want to be, and how to make it happen, because this is a make or break city. If I hadn’t moved to London I probably wouldn’t be making music in the same way… or at all. You need the kind of environment that’s conducive for writing”.
Parisian artist Yué Wu humbly describes himself as a person that makes drawings. And even though this is an undeniable truth, Yué is a lot more than that: an illustrator, an animator, a film director; a half marathon runner, a pain overcomer and most of all a Paris lover.
And Paris is all over Yué’s work and mind. From Pigalle to Belleville, from basketball to running, from the major museums to the smaller galleries, Yué has drawn inspiration from almost anything the Ville Lumière has to offer.
Nike chose Yué Wu to celebrate the Air Max Paris collection, a mix of traditional and washed out solid darks inspired by the Parisian unique street wear style.
Through the lens of the Nike Air Max most recognizable element – air – Yué reinvented his favorite spots in Paris by placing on site 5 different big inflatable balloons illustrated by the artist himself.
“My artwork is a way to pay homage both to Paris, where I grew up, and to Nike Air Max and its trademark air bubble, which is definitely something that belongs to my past and memories as a kid” he says.
Each balloon will focus on a letter of the word ‘P A R I S’, and will be filled with a seamless flow of drawings and words to capture and reveal in just one object / letter his inner relationship with that city area.
P is for Pigalle, where he painted a basketball court, fresh out of Art School.
A is for Abbesses, near Sacre-Coeur, where a gallery in which he had one of his most successful art shows is located.
R is for République, where he first moved from the north-east of the city, and where he first got a taste of the Parisian nightlife.
I is for Iéna, the area of the Guimet Museum and of the Palais de Tokyo, in which he spent many hours as a young art student.
S is for Stalingrad, where he lived and where the French Graffiti movement started in the late ‘80s, but also stands for Sneakers, his personal addiction.
“Reinvention for me is taking something old and make something new out of it.. and it’s important, in art, as you should try not to repeat the same gimmick over and over again. Reinvention is, in the end, learning and being free”.
Jacopo Ceccarelli was born in Milan on January 25,1981. He started painting at the age of 14 working on the walls of his city. When he was 20 he moved to Sao Paolo, Brazil, where he got in contact with the South American graffiti school, thus changing his approach to painting, and his name, to 2501.
“I didn’t go to art school. I’m a self-taught illustrator and painter and I’ve learned to do it through mistakes. Mistakes give you new inputs, and you may follow them to discover new paths you wouldn’t have taken otherwise”.
Since the Brazilian years, 2501 reinvented his style which has become a blend of wall painting, paint on canvas, video and sculptures made out of objects and material found in the streets: such a broad range of styles that can only be summarized in one concept: continuous evolution and reinvention.
“I think that being an artist sometimes is looking for things that other people cannot see, and also reinventing the truth”, he candidly says.
For Nike, 2501 used natural, raw and unusual materials to create metaphorical shoe sculptures representative of his favorite spots of the city: from Bovisa to Parco Sempione, to China Town and Navigli.
So tree leaves and branches, pieces of wood, concrete and printed street billboards all found in the streets of Milan represent the new colors of the Air Max Milano Collection: light and dark browns, grey, white and a neon touch typical of 2501’s art.
“I am always inspired by the unobvious, by the uncommon. I like to see strange mixes. If I were to sum up what my art is, I would say it’s everything I did until now. Brushes, white and black, natural environment, natural materials, leaves, wood, Brazil, Italy, ceramics, lines, gold and found objects, raw materials, fine art, neon colors, graphics”.