Released earlier this summer, the limited edition Nike Claw Blazer was the first of a two-part collaboration between Nike and graffiti legend Claw Money. The highly anticipated follow-up to the Blazer, the Nike Claw Vandal Hi will hit streets October 27th. Claw, who has recently reinvented herself as a fashion designer, has a special connection with this sneaker: “I wanted to do the Vandal because it’s my favorite hi-top. And after all — I’m a vandal, too.”
Jesse Levya, Nike Design Director, was equally enthusiastic about the working with Claw on the Nike Vandal after collaborating with her on the Blazer: “Claw’s unique vision as a female street artist, along with her love affair with the Vandal itself, made this a very exciting project.”
According to Claw, she bought her first beat-up vintage Vandals over ten years ago. She’s been collecting them ever since. “I was instantly mesmerized,” she says. “In my opinion, the Vandal is the Holy Grail of hi-tops.” Being able to put her touch on her favorite sneaker was, in her words, “like writing on the best real estate in town.”
The Nike Claw Vandal Hi retains the shine of the first nylon Vandals, but the Nike design team deconstructed the shoe by removing foam from the upper, allowing it to slouch and crinkle. Claw added peacock feathers to the body in reflective ink to achieve a more “couture” look — meant to draw attention in the same way the colorful birds do. Old school fat laces keep things from getting too chi-chi.
Originally a 1985 hoop shoe, the Nike Vandal was one of the first sneakers to have a full nylon upper. Based on the original Air Force 1, the shiny quilted hi-tops with the Velcro strap became a favorite of breakdancers, who rocked them seamlessly with parachute pants. The shoes famously made an appearance in The Terminator, and it wasn’t long before skaters were also seen abusing Vandals on ramps and sidewalks alike. And so, as with many Nike kicks, a sneaker initially created with court performance in mind became a street legend.
Born in Queens, New York, Claw Money started writing graffiti in NYC in the early 1990s and has since sprayed her signature three-nailed claw symbol — based on the letter “W” — in cities around the world. The reigning princess of a male-dominated world (she counts membership in graf crews PMS, TC5 and FC) is also a well-established fashion editor and designer of her self-titled clothing line that is sold in a selection of the world’s best boutiques. Claw is the fashion editor at Swindle magazine and author of her own book Bombshell: the Life and Crimes of Claw Money, which she released this year with powerHouse Books.