The athlete normally gives you a range of great insights to develop and design the shoes, but with working on an icon, the only insights you’ll get are from the lovers and haters of the icon, the people who originally worked on the icon, as well as the people who don’t wear the icon. Once you open the narrative, you really start to think about every stitch on the shoe because there must be reasons behind it.So as a designer, you have to look back and ask yourself, “What is still relevant today?” That’s really how we came up with using Flyknit and created the lightest AF1 ever.Having worked on the AF1 already, if you could pick another icon from Nike’s archive to re-work, which would it be?That’s a good question…I would probably say the Command Force because it was such an iconic shoe for a period of time. You automatically think of the Command Force showing up in White Men Can’t Jump and also what it meant for the ’90s.
I was in the team that brought it back around two years ago and we literally spent so much time replicating the speckle/volt paint feature so that it looked exactly like the original.Flyknit Command Force?It could be something else by then! It might be some other innovation we haven’t even dreamed up yet! I think that challenge to me just feels like a really interesting one.I’ve read that you draw inspiration from anything and everything. What has been the most ridiculous source of ideas to this day?Probably the one that most people know is the LeBron “Cork.” It was just like, “what do you do when you win a championship?” You pop a bottle. So we literally took that idea and applied it to a shoe. When we shared it with LeBron, he was like, “that’s amazing!”
That was actually the first extension (into lifestyle) we ever did. The whole point of doing it was that we wanted to tell LeBron that we’re right behind you for the championship and this is the shoe that is going to be symbolic for your first championship – and the rest was history.What are your thoughts on people bringing technical shoes to the streets? Do designers somehow have that perspective in mind when designing?Most of the time, the aim is to think about how a shoe can be worn 24/7. We’re in a point in time now of sneaker culture where it’s a competitive advantage to think how the shoe can be worn from the boardroom to the street. For me, personally as a designer, also as a purveyor of sneaker culture, the biggest passion is how to push the culture to a number of different places.