Nike has once again collaborated with AMBUSH to reinvent the iconic Air More Uptempo in a campaign that channels higher feminine energies. Months ago, Yoon Ahn, the South Korean designer and founder of AMBUSH, teased her Uptempo collaboration on Instagram. The kicks were to boast a nubuck upper, “Air” overlays on the sides, and AMBUSH branding on the heel, with co-branded details on the footbed.
Now that the product is here, we can see it was worth the wait. A descendant of the Nike Air Max, which was born in 1987, the Air More Uptempo was introduced by Wilson Smith in 1996. Who better than the dynamic duo from Cape Town’s nightlife scene, to represent the present evolution of the Air More Uptempo? Thanks in part to Haneem Christian‘s expert lens, Queezy and Cheshire Vineyard embody the elevated vibe of Nike like no other.
Never mind the fact that these hunties are simply legendary in the South African creative scene, let’s acknowledge that here, they’ve done an outstanding job. The campaign is a remarkable professional accomplishment and we’re so here for it. On top of that, the models exude sincerity in a project that undeniably carries a grand commercial heft. Their authentic proximity doesn’t diminish the project’s grandiosity but enhances it, illustrating that images of femme unity are as dynamic as those of, say, a pro baller sinking a hoop.
Queezy, a Cape Town-based performance artist and DJ, is already known for their winning lewks. As a non-binary artist, Queezy challenges societal norms and confronts homophobia with intentional performances that aim to bring hyper-glamour into the everyday. Inspired by fellow artist Jody Brand, Queezy promotes self-empowerment within the LGBTQIA+ community and recognises the younger generation’s commitment to implementing change.
Cheshire Vineyard, otherwise known as Cheshire V, is a formidable force in Cape Town’s queer event space. Operating in Cape Town’s queer ballroom scene, Cheshire V is the Mother of the South African chapter of the House of Vineyard. As a freelancer, Cheshire knows the value of taking up space and contributes to the local nightlife scene by prioritising community. The young queen is driven by the principle that “everything is energy”.
With a manifesto of claiming space, the energy of this campaign is clear. While the kicks exude sportiness and are firmly rooted in street style, they embrace fluid silhouettes and palettes. Take, for instance, the already sold-out Lilac and Apple Green Air More Uptempo Low x AMBUSH, worn by Queezy in the shoot. The luxe leather shoe showcases original graffiti-inspired branding and colours, reimagining a hoops icon to mirror the rebellious skate shoes of the early 2000s while featuring a low-cut silhouette—something few Uptempos have done.
We can’t make up our minds whether we’re more psyched about the shoes or the shoot. Led by Director and Photographer Haneem Christian, alongside Producer Chloe Turner, Stylist Donna De Kock, and Makeup Artist/Hairstylist Justine Alexander, the SA visual campaign had a powerhouse team who produced stunning visuals that were also culturally spot-on. Nike X AMBUSH Air More Uptempo SP dropped Saturday, 2nd December ’23. Get yours now!