May 23, 2012 BY John Kim
Got enough Dunk history in ya? The features of the Pharrell/NERD and the UNDFTD Dunk High collaborations should’ve provided a swift re-invigoration of classic energy, but if you’re yet to be moved, we’re reaching back even further into the Nike vault for our mid-week Classics Revisited feature. Before we go on discussing the Haze x Nike Dunk High, let’s have a quick overview about the man behind the project – NYC-born graffiti artist Eric Haze. After establishing himself as one of the icons of street graffiti in the late 70’s and 80’s, Haze went on to create logos and album covers for some of the most industry-relevant companies and hip-hop groups of the era, establishing a firm following with his own brand in NYC, LA, and in Japan. He later cemented a spot in sneaker history in 2003 with one of the earliest sneaker/artist collaborations in history – a true testament to the growing popularity of Dunks and sneaker collaborations of that period.
In the early 2000’s, Nike had been developing a new style of overspray technique, so to give the new development a whirl, Nike contacted Haze directly to work on the Dunk High collaboration; Haze was immediately intrigued and after testing out the first prototypes of the overspray technique, one of his first decisions in the project was the selection of the black/white motif, as it is a common theme in his own artwork as well as being the best representation of the gritty style that he attributed to his roots in New York City. It wasn’t much of a surprise to see that Haze and the spray technique were a perfect match, and if you were to take away one thing from the Haze x Nike Dunk is that the overall project, from its inception to its final product, was true to Haze’s heart.
In addition to the shoes, Nike also presented him with the task of creating a special edition box for the Hyperstrike/Friends & Family release, which were considerably rarer than the 1,000 pair run of the Dunk High. As he was given full creative control on the project, Haze completed an insane box using the overspray and the classic stencil technique to complete one of the sickest Nike shoeboxes in history, applying various personal touches to the box’s outer facade. The special-edition version of the Haze Dunks also featured a custom tongue label with his graffiti logo, and released on July 15th, 2003, at Alife Rivington Club in NYC, UNDFTD in Los Angeles, and the Haze store in Tokyo. Also, the Dunk High wasn’t the only shoe of the project; he also produced a Dunk Low in the same manner, using the exact ‘reverse’ palette of the High. Certainly one of the more memorable Dunks in the history of the shoe – but we’ve got some more history coming your way in the following days!
Eric Haze x Nike Dunk High