Ask any sneakerhead to name you one of the most iconic kicks in the game, and you are guaranteed to hear the words “Air Max” on more than one occasion. Debuting in 1987, Nike’s Air Max shoes are easily one of the sporswear giant’s most popular models, thanks to the eponymous air cushioning unit on the heel of of the shoe. Reimagined many times over three decades, with over 60 variations created throughout the years, the Air Max has returned, this time in the form of the Air Max 270, Nike’s first lifestyle shoe to get the Air Max treatment.
Thinking outside the (shoe) box to celebrate the release of the Air Max 270, Nike Australia recently joined forces with fashion designer Alexandra Hackett (Mini Swoosh) and Pitch Studios creative director Christie Morgan to create the ultimate Air Max launch experience: a fashion ‘deconstruction + reconstruction’ app that transforms the Air Max 270 into a custom-made t-shirt. Keen to learn more about this interactive app experience, we caught up with co-creator Christie Morgan to all things app, Air Max and what it feels like to be a part of the Nike family:
Talk us through the creative process of making the app. What inspired you to deconstruct the Air Max 270 and transform it into a tee?
The concept for the entire workshop was to work collaboratively with Alex (Mini Swoosh) on an interactive concept that would feel like it fits equally inside both of our disciplines. My practice (Pitch Studios) focuses heavily on digital experiences and Alex focuses on tangible or physical objects that are fundamentally suppose to be worn (or sat on — see her Nike deconstructed furniture).
We wanted a concept that could come full circle. So the idea was to develop a boutique app (which was available on iPad and multi-touch sensitive screens) that used elements of the 270 shoe plus 3D objects and create a custom t-shirt design. So you have your digital transformed into the physical.
We were mostly inspired by the idea of mutation and juxtaposition of digital and physical outputs. We wanted to create something that felt truly collaborative too.
We all have a “shoe love at first sight” story! Where did your love for Air Max shoes first begin?
When I first got into sneakers, I loved the Air Max 97 but I never thought I could pull it off. So I opted for an OG Air Max 90, which I still love. I now own a bunch of 97s but my 90s are still a good everyday staple.
The Air Max line has been around for an impressive three decades now. What do you think makes Air Max shoes so timeless and iconic?
The fact that anyone can wear them. No matter who you are, what demographic you’re a part of. That’s what makes Nike so accessible and iconic as a brand.
What do you think of Nike’s latest Air Max innovations, for example, the Vapormax Plus, which fuses two Air Max designs together?
I mean its genius, really! But I’m also a sucker for OG styles. I think it’s great that they were able to combine a 180 and 93 into the 270 this year and it still feels super modern but has a retro feel.
What’s been the best part of working with Nike thus far?
Honestly the fact that they are so open to us to be really creative. They trusted us this entire process and it never felt like a battle on trying to get a concept approved. They trust us without question and I think that’s just so important when collaborating with a brand that’s so big.
Sneaker culture used to be largely dominated by men but women are taking to the scene like never before, thanks in part to Nike encouraging women to take on creative roles in both design and tech. How did find your experience as a collaborator and do you think the sneaker space is improving for women?
It’s certainly moving forward. I’m not really deep into the streetwear scene, I have a love for the style and sneakers but I’m not fully across it. And it’s a super male-dominated industry but that being said, the times are changing. We’re seeing more and more ways in how women can empower themselves when associating with this culture.
Nike is one of those brands that holds a high value to women’s roles within their collaborations — and it was just such a treat to work with essentially an entire female-lead department at Nike AU!
It’s also great to see Nike opening up stores (e.g. Nike Unlaced, Paris) that is accessible to women and having interesting styles or silhouettes that are available in women’s sizes. This hits really close to home as I have relatively small feet and can never get the best styles due being restricted to men’s sizing.
I think it’s so great that Nike asked Alex and I to be a part of their Air Max celebrations for 2018, it shows how dedicated their are to a female-future (particularly women of colour) and wanting us to be truly equal to our male counterparts.
If you could bring back any shoe from the Air Max archives, which one would it be?
Well they’ve already bought so many back or reimagined so many old styles! It would be really cool to see another 2 styles combined into a new Air Max… maybe something wild like the 2003’s with 95’s? Who knows how that would look (probably iconic!).