It’s no secret that both the consumer and design world were taken back by their recent Presto release, with many of my good friends claiming them to be in the conversation for “Shoe Of The Year” honours.
I’ve taken a snippet from Solecollectors interview were they touch on his involvement in the Presto’s, which you can see below, for the full interview head here.
In your time out there are you seeing things in the Innovation Kitchen that are coming and just kinda being blown away? Things that you can’t talk about?
Yeah, non-disclosure agreements are a big deal at Nike [laughs].
I’m not asking for any specifics, I’m just thinking about your reaction to seeing stuff like that.
All the time, constantly. I mean collaborations ideally should be both parties learning from each other. We definitely feel that way about them and I hope they feel the same way about us. We’ve already designed the next two seasons actually—we’re always looking into the future.
With the apparel you can really see the Acronym influence. How much input do you have on the footwear for these ranges?
That’s considerably less. We’re not footwear designers, so the internal specialists at Nike handle that. The new shoes were designed by Darryl Matthews and Gerald Sullivan, as far as I know, both working under Nate Jobe. They’ve shown us the development. The timeline is also very different. Footwear design is a different science than apparel design, so we get to see all the prototypes and the development and talk to them about it. It’s super fascinating. We’re learning a lot there, obviously.
Shifting back to previous Nike projects of yours, the Presto made a ton of noise this year. A lot of people in our circles are even calling it the sneaker of the year. How do you feel about that?
Good! [laughs] I feel good about that, keep saying that.
Do you agree with that?
I have to obviously. Sneaker of the decade! We were super surprised by the reaction, and we thought they were strong, and we really liked them ourselves. But we’re really pleased and super humbled by how fanatic people have become and the amount of mail we still get from people still trying to get it. It’s really rewarding and great to see.
How much pressure comes with remaking a shoe like the Presto that’s obviously a classic?
A lot, actually. It’s a huge amount of pressure. You just want to make sure you deliver something legitimate. Any of these projects we’ve done with Nike, whether it’s the Air Force 1 or ACG, they’re all cultural icons and they mean so much to people. You gotta bring your A-game to these things. You just can’t do a bad job; it’s gotta be amazing. Every time we work with Nike that’s definitely a huge part of it.
Are there certain design elements you have to respect on a model like the Presto? Are there certain guidelines or things you can’t do to the shoe?
Everyone is remarkably open minded about the whole thing. We’re always asking “If we take this off, what happens? Does it decrease wearability?” The Presto, for example, we issued a few prototypes without the toe bumper on the front and thought it looked really cool. It was super clean and they were discussing it with everybody, but it was going to impair the durability of the shoe, so we put it back on. With good designs, most of the things that are on the product are there for a reason. Sometimes it’s just trying to understand why it is there and get back in the designer’s head and what they were originally thinking and what their intentions were. Once you understand those, then it becomes “obviously this needs to be there.” Then you can maybe emphasize it or call it out even more. In general, particularly with the Air Force 1 project we’ve done, everybody at Nike has been super open minded and really just let us go for it, which is kind of amazing actually.
You mentioned trying to think about what the designer originally wanted for the shoe. Did you get a chance to get a reaction from Tobie Hatfield on the Acronym Presto?
Not directly, but hopefully it will happen at some point. I did manage to meet Bruce Kilgore in London at the launch of the Lunar Force 1, which is a huge highlight of my year. That was super cool.
Did you show him the shoe, was he aware of it?
Yep! We were actually at the launch event in London at the NikeLab there. We had a good chat and had dinner all together, the team, and managed to talk to him for quite awhile. He was fantastic, obviously a legendary designer.
For the full interview, head here.
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