While female fans have been calling out the sneaker industry for its lack of inclusivity for years, Nike has been making strides recently to push the endorsement, marketing and storytelling of a female athletic shoe by women. Last fall, the global brand hired Aleali May as the first woman to design an Air Jordan sneaker, and come next spring, Jordan Brand will drop three women's exclusive renditions of the Air Jordan 1 and Air Jordan 12.
Its newest effort is Nike 1 Reimagined, a collection of 10 new takes on the Air Force 1 and Air Jordan 1 designed by a team of 14 female Nike employees — including colorists, materials specialists and mainline footwear designers — handpicked by Footwear Director Andy Caine. "The genesis of creativity is diversity," says Caine in an official statement. "From a design point of view, each of the designers has a very unique background and personality. Our theory is that when you mix diverse creative talents you realize some magic."
With a simple brief by Caine ("Make some cool shit."), the select designers had complete creative power to produce their own interpretations of two classic Nike sneakers. Georgina James, Design Director for NSW Women's footwear and notable designer behind Nike's Studio Wrap, was assigned to lead the group, spearheading brainstorm meetings for a week at the brand's headquarters in Portland, and four days in London to actually execute the 10 sneakers.
Nike 1 Reimagined divides the Air Force 1 and Air Jordan 1 into five distinct personas or archetypes: Explorer, Lover, Sage, Rebel and Jester. These themes helped guide the designers to not only push forward each shoe's design while paying attention to athletic performance and fashion-forward trends, but also manipulate details that were originally created for male athletes by male designers.
For example, the Air Force 1 Sage has a platform-inspired silhouette and slip-on style; the Air Force 1 Lover showcases a transformed basketball shoe into a mule that's lined with velvet and detailed with iridescent perforations; and the Air Jordan 1 Rebel is completely flipped in design, with cool corset lacing up and along the high-top sneaker. The 10 styles, ranging in price from $120 to $160, are crafted in white leather, suede and velvet, as well as lined with Nike's signature memory foam sockliner for comfort.
I will certainly be placing my order! Will you?