“It’s built on taking a risk for a good reason, which was to tell a story,” says Tinker Hatfield, the legendary Nike footwear designer. “And to also make a better product.” Hatfield is lounging in his caravan somewhere in Oregon, calmly talking to the camera as the subject of Netflix’s Abstract design documentary series’ second episode.
What Hatfield’s talking about is the creation of the Air Max 1 – one of his very first projects after joining Nike. With that sneaker, Hatfield took a risk. And in that way he was a bit of a revolutionary. “After those [early design] sketches came out it was widely discussed that I had pushed it too far,” he adds. “People were trying to get us fired.”
Just over thirty years have passed since Hatfield majorly ticked off Nike’s top brass. Those first moments, when the former architectural student – inspired by the brash and bold inside-out architecture of Paris’ Pompidou Centre – managed to convince a confident sportswear brand to sell a piece of performance footwear with an exposed air bag “that looked fragile like it could be punctured” was kind of a revolution.
Running from through Air Max month, we’ll be commemorating that with a raft of stories. First off: we’ll salute the sneaker’s ingrained place in European streetwear culture by visiting three of the continent’s capitals – London, Paris and Berlin – to speak to people who, like Hatfield, look to the future and push things forward with what they do. We’ll also give you some pro stunting tips with exclusive lookbooks – styled on the big three’s streets – before switching things up and turning the attention to Nike’s own story as well.
Back in the late ’80s, Nike was big, but it wasn’t the global force it is today. Through stories pinned to the Swoosh’s upcoming releases in Air Max month – the Air Max 1 Anniversary (based on the OG that started it all, of course), the people’s favorite Air Max 1 atmos “Elephant”, the upcoming Nike Air Max 1 Master that references famous Air Max releases of days past, and the future of Air contained in the upcoming VaporMax release – we’ll see how the story of Air essentially corresponds to the story of modern streetwear.
We’ll also get an exclusive first-hand look inside Nike’s most secretive facility at its Beaverton campus for a never-before-seen tour of the AIR Manufacturing Innovation (AMI) facility where Nike’s Air units are manufactured. Oh, and we compared how the original Air Max 1 OG compares to this year’s re-release.
We’ll also be camping out with you live on drop dates, too. Catch us at:
– Berlin’s Overkill on March 10 for a live camp out;
– On March 24 we’ll be visiting the guys at Crepe City, London, for a live tour of their sneaker archive during the day;
– And on the night of March 25, we’ll head to Paris’ Pompidou Centre for Nike’s special Air Max Day event.
If you can’t be there in person, stay locked on your screens as we’ll be unboxing all the major releases live from Highsnobiety HQ, Berlin. We’ll deep dive into the sneakers, giving you out-of-the box first-hand info and up-close shots.
Finally, we’ll also be giving you the chance to be featured on Highsnobiety‘s Instagram through Snobshots. More details on that one here.
To stay on top, follow the tag #HSxAMD17 across Highsnobiety here on highsnobiety.com and across the social networks. To kick things off, Nike opened its doors for the first time to its most secretive building: the AMI factory where AIR tech comes to life, and we got inside. Take an exclusive look inside here.Subscribe to Highsnobiety’s sneaker chatbot on Facebook to receive lightning quick updates on release dates, sneaker street style, shopping tips and more.