Introduced to the public with the slogan ‘Air in a box’ in 1982, the Nike Air Force 1 was the first basketball shoe that featured a pocket of air, offering extra comfort on the courts. In addition to this history of innovative technology, the iconic white on white and black on black sneakers present a blank canvas of self-expression, making their reign as royalty in sneaker culture consistent. To celebrate one of Nike‘s most recognizable silhouettes Nike invited a curated group of creatives to customize the sneaker.
South African designer, photographer embroidery queen Danielle Clough, aka Fiance Knowles, along with designer and stylist Nokana “Dodo” Mojapelo were asked to apply their creative freedom to reimagining the AF-1.
Clough, armed with her needle and thread, reinterpreted the triple white sneakers, displaying bursts of bright colours. Her one-of-a-kind “Summer Salad” theme includes watermelon slices, kiwis, and an array of citrus fruits, making a connection between the classic sneaker and memories of fun in the sun. Her interpretation of embroidery as art gels with Nike’s design process, where sneakers are see as more than just protection from the elements.
Mojapelo’s triple black AF-1s follow on from his own D.O.C.C collection of the same title, “STAFF ONLY”. His thinking around how to reimagine the AF-1s came from his desire to create stylish, functional shoes that show appreciation for the workers behind the scenes of making South Africa a beautiful, ever-evolving country. Mojapelo has been invested in understanding how basketball has influenced street style and vice versa since the ’90s, and this knowledge can be seen in his treatment of the sneakers.
In addition to these two South African creatives presenting their own interpretation of the AF-1s, their designs will be auctioned off with the proceeds going towards the upkeep of the recently refurbished Zoo Lake courts, where Nike is hosting the 3-on- 3 Battle Force Challenge on 25 November and 3 December. The courts feature a brand new design created by local artists Faatimah Mohamed-Luke and Karabo Moletsane. “Summer Salad” will be auctioned on 27 November, and “Staff Only” by will be auctioned on 3 December.
Follow the conversation on Twitter @NSWZA using the hashtag #BattleForceJHB.