Six Collaborations spawned from Nike Sportswear’s desire to celebrate the beautiful game of football in a way that connects to the national team fans who dwell at the intersection of sports and culture. In 2006, Nike collaborated with a group of artists to curate and design environments and spaces that represented their countries, but there was no product connection to this partnerships. This year, Nike worked with established and emerging artists from six countries to create alternative National Team Kits that flip the script on the classic football kit. “We wanted to include the kinds of apparel and accessories that would be in a footballers bag,” “They would be the same colors of on-field uniforms, but with the artists’ twists.” says Jarrett Reynolds, Nike Sportswear Apparel Design Director. In order to accomplish this, the Nike team asked artists contribute a badge, mascot, print and an alphabet in their handwriting style. Each collaboration includes N98 Track Jacket, AW 77 hoodie, kit tee, polo shirt and short for both men and women; then tee for men and tank for women.
Each kit includes a selection of Nike Sportswear footwear coordinated with the apparel. In addition to a team-color customized Nike LunarLite Rejuven8 Mid and Air Max BW Gen II, additional silhouettes such as Air Zoom Tiempo, Dunk High AC, Air Footscape Freemotion and Nike LunarLite Chukka Woven have been selected to provide plenty of options to express team pride.
The classic Tiempo, one of Nike’s most popular football boots from 1994, was re-crafted and re-introduced in Summer 2009 for Nike Sportswear LIVESTRONG Collection and is sure to be seen on feet off the pitch through 2010. In 2006 during the Football Game in Germany, the original Footscape caught a lot of attention from creative audience. The latest Footscape with Flywire technology push the innovation and silhouette further again. The simple but classic look of Nike LunarLite Chukka Woven and Dunk High AC give fans choices of style to wear the team kit.
England Artist: James Jarvis While British graphic artist James Jarvis is best known for his playful illustrations and contributions to the designer toy phenomenon, he takes his sports seriously. At first glance, his interpretation of the England crest stays true to the national archetype, but up close the designs are all Jarvis: his heraldic lion flashing a trademark googly-eyed grin. Jarvis drew from medieval woodblock prints for inspiration, and the “10” on the chest is traditionally reserved for the most beautiful players of the game.
Brazil Artist: Nunca Inspired by Incan symbolism and a primitive style of graffiti called “Pixação,” Sao Paolo street artist Nunca crafted a unique Brazilian kit that connects the people of the favelas to the sport they hold dear. Five stars within the otherworldly, eye-like crest symbolize Brazil’s five championship wins, and Nunca’s hieroglyphic handwriting and pattern (lining the hoodie) connects the kit to the ancients in a modern way.
Netherlands Artist: Delta Graffiti artist Delta, aka Boris Tellegen, has created a geometric world with his art that is a colorful reflection of the constructivist movement that brings to mind both block-like cities as well as pixelized digital environments. A rabid football fan, he was especially excited to play with the colorways on The Netherlands’ new kits. His artwork for the assortment is an extension of his blocky visual language: The boxy mascot is a simple-yet-dynamic running man, the crest is a cubic puzzle of numbers, and the font is unlike anything before it – heavy as concrete, but somehow agile through its italicized forwardlean.
France Artist: So Me So Me, nee Bertrand De Langeron, is an acclaimed illustrator as well as the art director of Ed Banger records, one of the world’s most cutting – edge labels. Since 2003, his album art and music videos have come to embody the eclectic world of Ed Rec, adding complimentary visuals to their innovative sounds. His contributions to the France kit exhibit his pop art sensibility and tongue-in-cheek style. The colorful mascot and crest feature a simple character that’s a parody of the stereotypical Frenchman – complete with a tilted beret and manicured moustache. The pattern lining the hoodie on the AW77 is a brick-like repeat in vibrating red, blue and black and the hand-written font features rounded edges, adding to the kit’s playful vibe.
USA Artist: Mister Cartoon Calling himself “Mister Cartoon,” this Los Angeles street art legend has had a strong relationship with Nike for many years. His detailed black and white drawings, inspired by prison tattoos, are highly sought after in the music world and beyond. When presented with this project, Cartoon jumped at the opportunity to work on a uniform that would represent the country he loves. His eagle mascot is tough as nails, with a halo of stars and a look in his eye that says, “Don’t mess with the U.S.” On the crest, “USA” is written in Cartoon’s modified version of old English and scrolls remind wearers of the visual language of tattoos art.
South Africa Artist: Kronk Kronk is an emerging designer/illustrator from Cape Town. His work is colorful and whimsical, a collision of rock poster rebelliousness and wry pop culture references. His contributions to the South African team kit are the most intricate of the collection, with an insanely detailed crest embroidery, a bubble lettered font, a kaleidoscopic illustrated pattern (lining the AW77 hoodie), and a cartoonish mascot who seems to be in constant motion. Is he a footballer breaking away on the pitch or a fan blowing a horn in the stands? They are one in the same in Kronk’s mashed-up world.