Ever since their limited, surprise drop at Complexcon last year, the VLONE Air Force 1 has become one of the sneaker world’s most-hyped releases. This weekend the shoe will finally be available as part of a series of Nike activations during New York Fashion Week. Which is really turning into Nike Fashion Week, as the hits keep coming day after day, like the COMME des GARÇONS x NikeLab Air VaporMax and Dunk High “Clear,” the ACRONYM x NikeLab Air Force 1 Downtown, and a commemorative collection at KITH celebrating five decades of Nike Basketball.
NikeLab also quietly opened a shop-in-shop inside venerable Fifth Avenue retailer Bergdorf Goodman, and the Swoosh continues to work its way uptown with a VLONE pop-up this weekend. We stopped by the space earlier today for an exclusive preview. It features a custom basketball court in the signature VLONE black and orange colorway. A space behind the counter boasts a ton of rare AF1 gems, and there will be a a series of hand-painted white AF1s by Pauly for sale too, which will set you back $300 a piece.
A$AP Bari eventually rolled through the pop-up, holding court as a mass of kids began to gather in front, presumably ready to line up overnight in below freezing temperatures. The pop-up represents a homecoming for VLONE, since the A$AP Mob calls Harlem home, and the Air Force 1, which earns its “Uptown” nickname for being the sneaker of choice above 96th Street.
“We was born with the Harlem swag, we was raised with the Harlem swag, and we had the opportunity to spread that around the world,” says Bari. “Honestly, this pop-up is about bringing back that essence to where we came from.”
The predominantly black colorway may remind older heads of 2003’s black and white NYC Air Force 1 Low, a shoe that was recently retroed with an exclusive release at KITH. Bari ditches the white for his signature orange accents, adding an embroidered version of VLONE’s “Every Living Creative Dies Alone” tagline around the heels.
“Everybody knows me for orange, making orange cool,” he says. “Orange is my black.”
As for the mostly murdered-out upper and sole, it’s because Bari wants to make a modern classic.
“I wanted a sneaker that somebody could wear to a funeral, or somebody could wear to a wedding—just like, a classic shoe,” he elaborates. “It’s the new signature New York shoe, but coming from a Harlem kid.”
The VLONE Air Force 1 Low will retail for $250. Also for sale is a long sleeve tee for $150, a basketball for $100, headbands for $55, and pins for $25.
The VLONE x AF1 pop-up is located at 113 W 116th Street and opens tomorrow, February 11.
If you’re more of an Air Force 1 High type of person, then you might want to check out the VLONE AF1 Highs that leaked earlier today.
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- Photography: Thomas Welch/Highsnobiety.com