For more than 50 years, Nike has introduced the world to an array of athletic sportswear while partnering with countless celebrities. But the average Nike connoisseur may find the extreme dichotomy of its recent collaborations a bit surprising.
Take, for instance, its new luxury line of men’s and women’s sneakers and athleisure apparel by French fashion designer and creative director of Balmain, Olivier Rousteing (remember, the guy who designed gear for H&M).
Inspired by the Balmain designer’s longtime passion for soccer, the NikeLab x Olivier Rousteing: Football Nouveau collection integrates the iconic style of the sport with modern silhouettes and touches of gold is all about victory and being a champion and the black sleek, chic and timeless aspect.
“Olivier is meticulous about the details, with a passion for finding clever ways to embellish existing structures,” stated NikeLab Senior Footwear Innovation Design Director Nate Jobe.
Available in men’s and women’s versions, the outerwear was inspired by the look of an iconic soccer jacket but given a longer length, more form-fitting shape, gold framing and an embroidered woven crest placed over the heart.
In sharp contrast to this new high fashion line is the Nike SB Dunk Low Premium sneaker, a retro-style shoe designed with the same mocha and hunter green color scheme as the iconic Starbucks logo with a number of stores in Harlem might be able to pick up a pair. Sure to be popular with fans of the global coffee juggernaut, some may find this sneaker to be an odd departure from Nike’s usual exploits.
Now in the something for everyone category, the Nike SB Dunk High Premium “Waffle” (a shoe possibly inspired by someone from Harlem might say, Silvia’s Restaurant hearty chicken and waffles breakfast, with a syrupy Nike swoosh and waffle pattern).
The custom designs are sure to whet the appetite of some, while making other brand loyalists cringe.
What creative collaboration will Nike strike next? Perhaps a Apollo Theater shoe? Or will it aim for a more mass-market appeal with shoes inspired by other everyday brands like a Harlem sneaker? Only time will tell, but the brand is sure to continue exploring creative partnerships that give new meaning to its tagline: “Just Do It.”