It’s been nearly 2 weeks since Virgil…Abloh (need his surname be mentioned?) graced London with his presence, along with a hand picked posse of celebrity creatives to promote his latest collaborative project with Nike in the form of, “Off-Campus”.

As someone who has strong feelings towards the teachings of creative output within footwear, of whom is actively working with others in creating a platform for those who are less exposed to this industry or craft, I have a serious gratitude towards Virgil for using his influence to “give back” to the community.

As one of many footwear creatives who applied to various workshop options offered by Nike, “Off-Campus” seemed to be an illusive opportunity. After reflection, the slight frustration I held after finding out that I could not get into the workshops, subsided. My own selfishness of wanting to create within an exclusive space was washed away by learning that others who did not have the same experiences I have had, now had the opportunity to gain their own. If anything, the window of exposure to the event provided by others has only added kindling to an already blazing fire to create.

Having read a lot of articles about the workshop & talking to people who took part, I feel it is not my full responsibility to discuss what happened & how it has effected, or will affect the climate for Footwear Designers, Makers & DIY-ers going forward. For first hand reference you can head to SSENSE for an article by Adam Wray about the occasions intentions & outcome.

However, myself & Mr.Bailey were given then opportunity by the good people at NikeLab 1948 to physically see the fantastic product & a complimentary curated retail space. Although the space was limited in size, creating a celebration of a product within a confined area was achieved by the talented folks of Rosie Lee. A space where each product within, “The Ten” could tell it’s own story, whilst being supported by the other product spaces.

The first room was informative and impactful, providing the experiencer the opportunity to learn about the process & story in which “OFF-WHITE” / VA wished to convey. A frame-work of scaffolding & layered elements such as glass and concrete that represented the rawness of the products within the space such as the Presto, Air Jordan 1, Blazer High, Vapormax & Airmax 90. The second room however was, to me, the icing on the cake. The entrance came from the first room partitioned by a vail of rubberised curtains. As you entered the space the atmosphere went from in your face, to calming & seemingly philosophical. With your eyes pulled to the quotation, “GHOSTING” taped to a black rubber floor in-front of you, to then averting upwards seeing a red flashing board with Eliud Kipchoge’s marathon record time of 2:00:25 presenting the Vaporfly model. Veering your vision to the left you could see yet another, larger, more transparent vail of rubber where the lucky participants of the workshops had an exclusive experience of purchasing their much anticipated new sneaker acquisitions. Within the space was the rest of the range was exposed. Prior to the event I was not a huge fan of this “GHOSTING” capsule, but after spending some time with the product & presentation, I quickly converted my preference in taste.

Overall, I feel that on the rare occasion an event like this is composed, that it creates a wake of design ideas, trends & insights. I honestly hope that in this instance the range & the stated intent really provides a positive outcome. Evoking enthusiasm, inspiration & the need to “give back” from an already established industry and to a generation of budding designers/ creatives not yet on the ladder.

Take a look at the photos I took below. Hopefully you find something which evokes some excitement within you.

David Mawdsley

The Footwear Composer.

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