Warren Lotas, Mike Cherman, Ava Nirui, Asspizza… the list of bootleg designers who have penetrated the style sphere is growing constantly.
In the past, getting eyeballs on work was no easy task. But now, thanks to the rise of visual social media platforms and rulebook-ripping designers such as Virgil Abloh, fashion's democratization has gathered speed, with a new cast of street-savvy heretics emerging from the digital landscapes of Instagram and Tumblr. All it takes is a good idea, the proper execution, and a bit of luck getting noticed — 501 mules, anyone?
Based in Toronto, BENTGABLENITS (aka BENTGABLE x NITS) is a joint project by design firm Bent Gable Design and vintage fashion collector Angelo Nitsopoulos. The duo's MO is simple: Nitsopolous scours the globe for vintage Nike items and Bent Gable unleashes its wicked alchemy upon the wares.
The team transmogrifies each piece, adding hand-cut silk velvet Swooshes and decorations such as vintage crocheted flowers. The finished results are one of a kind and take about 10 hours to complete. Think Cactus Plant Flea Market meets Mini Swoosh.
The process is painstaking but fun. "It's been great scouring all the eras of vintage Nike, learning about the history of the brand," says Nitsopoulos. "We've enjoyed the challenge of enhancing such an iconic brand. We love the challenge it provides. We wouldn’t consider this a clothing line, it's more a fun project we love working on.”
BENTGABLENITS might still be in its infancy, but the response so far has been overwhelming. The first 11 pieces in the first drop sold out in 11 minutes, with Drake — who, as we know, loves stepping out in modified duds — quick to lend his support. “We knew we had something special when my close friend Levi showed Drake and he took five pieces," says Nitsopoulos.
The second haul of BENTGABLENITS drops on August 1. Buy it here.