The first collaboration between Skepta and Nike last September gave us the Air Max 97 SK, which was inspired by the city of Marrakesh. The London-born grime artist with Nigerian roots is doing it again. The NIKE AIR MAX 97/BW SK is a hybrid model borrowing the upper from the Nike Air Max BW (BW stands for Big Window in reference to the visible Air unit) and the sole unit is from Air Max 97.
The first Nike Air Max BW was originally released in 1991. Designed by Tinker Hatfield, the shoe featured the largest visible Air bag at the time. The release was limited in the United States, and was a hit in Western Europe. In Paris, it was loved by both the hip-hop community and football fans.
It is not a surprise that a preliminary release of the NIKE AIR MAX 97/BW SK occured exclusively in Paris on May 14th. The French capital is of great significance to Skepta as well. This is where he was first recognized as an artist outside the UK. According to Nike.com the red and blue of the shoe’s Swoosh logo is a reference to the French flag.
The specific shade of blue comes from Jardin Majorelle, a 1920s Marrakesh electric-blue villa built for a French painter. The Nike Air Max BW is special to Skepta. “When I was younger, the Nike Air bubble was the flex. The bigger your air bubble was, the more people knew you were stepping well”, he said.
Inspired by punk rock, Skepta had an initial idea to add padlocks on the shoe. The lock is yet another symbol – of love.”I remembered the bridge in Paris, where people go to ‘lock’ their love with someone they love. That’s why I’ve decided to launch the shoe in Paris and involve the people and the city who have shown me love since the beginning”, elaborates the musician.
Skepta’s custom Nike logo is on the foot-bed and sole unit. The logo pays homage to the Air Max Plus logo and is in the shape of a UK electrical socket. The laces are flexible, white with a blue and a red thread. The honeycomb mesh upper is from the Air Tuned Max . Other details are the OG Air Max 97 tooling and reflective vamp panel. These are from the retro models that Skepta grew up on.
For Nike.com Jupiter Desphy, Nike Sportswear Senior Footwear Designer explains a bit more about the creative process :”We combined elements and time periods for this shoe in the same way that kids mix clothes today, or the way that musicians combine genres”. “We wanted to have as much fun with this shoe as possible”, he finishes.
On May 14th, selected users of the app SNEAKRS Stash were hinted with hidden locks(replicating the padlock in the design) around the city, which unlocked access to purchase. The model saw a wider release on May 19th in different locations throughout Paris.
Additionally, the Air Max 97/BW SK will be available digitally from SNEAKRS in Europe. Select retailers (including Patta, Très Bien, Concepts and more) will carry it globally