Air Force 1 and Air Jordan 1 are the sneakers that even an anti-hypebeast would know. But while these classic silhouettes have a long history, they've now been reborn for the first time by women and for women. "They're two of our most iconic shoes at Nike, and they're rich in DNA," says Georgina James, senior creative director at Nike Sportswear. "They were designed for men, and now the challenge was to reimagine them for women." Given just five days, a group of women from across the company united to create 10 distinct pairs of sneakers that transformed the shoes into something totally new and different, known as Reimagined 1.
So what was it like bringing together a group of women and tackling a project in a way never tested by Nike before? "Working through the collection we really supported one another. We worked as a team; rather than one person taking one shoe, every single person on the team touched every shoe in the line. Working as that female collective," notes James. "We came up with some rules to guide us. Some of those were stay chill, speak up, be honest and open, check your ego at the door, and ultimately have fun."
The result was a range of five archetypes for the two shoes. The Lover, the Jester, the Sage, the Explorer, and the Rebel were all intended to represent a facet of a woman's personal style. "What we loved about the archetypes is that they gave us the great design narratives that were really rich but at the same time representative of different style choices," notes Marie Crow, the Material Design Director of Nike Sportswear NikeWomen.
Over the past few years, sneaker culture has grown exponentially in the women's space, but the way women and men think about footwear isn't necessarily the same. "Designing [the sneakers], we were thinking about the head-to-toe look, which is incredibly important to our female consumer," says Crow. They focused on "creating multiple styles that [they felt] would be desirable to her." Below, take a look at the 10 sneakers.
"The Jester," James notes, "was where we really wanted to have some fun with our own DNA and be humorous and quirky."
"The Lover was about this idea of soft tactile being very easy to wear," James said. "She's going to brunch on a Sunday morning."
According to James, with "the Explorer we wanted to get at this idea of being utilitarian but through a translucent feminism lens."
Says James: "For the Sage, it's about simplicity and paring it back to its most simple of forms so the DNA of the OG shoes really shines through."
"The Rebel was really about using our icons and distorting them through reconstructing them back together," James adds.