Nike’s latest A.I.R. offering reminds us of a certain designer label’s fun side
By Ray Zhang
My friends know I am partial to Nike. Apart from the fact that I was an early adopter—as early as 13, when I bought my first pair of kicks, the Air Zoom Pegasus, I am also an avid follower of the permutations that the Swoosh is able to give to its classic shapes and silhouettes and, geez, the very Swoosh itself. While I am getting increasingly bored with fashion (I know you are too), I am still fascinated with what Nike is able to continually do to arouse fan interest.
Take this track top, the Windrunner, a jacket that goes back to a very distant 1978. I own quite a few of them. Each time a colour-blocked version is released and, especially, in the nylon that’s as thin as tissue, I succumb. But I have never seen one conceived in this manner of colour-and-pattern-block symmetry. And this isn’t under the more experimental Nikelab. Sure, Nike, more than any other athletic brand, has embraced graphics so bold and off-court/track that you’ll think their design team works mainly with those who are perpetually equipped with aerosol paint. Still, this new Windrunner took me by delightful surprise if only because it immediately reminds me of CDG and Play.
There is, of course, the dots, which is a fave repeated pattern at CDG, and the two eyes in the rear that are not unlike Filip Pagowski’s peepers for the heart shape that the Polish artist designed for Play. Nike’s version is part of the graphical composition conceived for the brand’s Artist in Residence (A.I.R.) seasonal program by Chicagoan Cody Hudson, who is also behind the graphic design outfit Struggle Inc. Mr Hudson, who acknowledges that he can’t draw (an admission that I can relate to 😊), relies on irregular shapes that is akin to doodling, and it is this aesthetic naiveness that lends his work freshness.
And, as a consequences, this Windrunner looks different. I like the khaki and obsidian combo and that the jacket easily goes with anything I own under the CDG umbrella. The track top (an odd description, I admit, since it likely won’t see even a running path) comes with a packable hood (can be folded into the collar), which is perfect for those of us who really prefer to conceal the extraneous until needed. The polyester shell has the added advantage of being water-repellent and, if you need it for the darkness of night, is given reflective details. I should wear mine out tonight to see if the eyes will glow to better ward off the stealthy advance of PMD riders!
Nike Windrunner A.I.R., SGD149, is available at Nike flagship, Jewel Changi Airport and online. Photos: Nike