June 7, 2012 BY John Kim
Brooklyn-native Josh Franklin, perhaps more readily recognizable as ‘Stash’ in art and sneaker circles, is the first artist to freelance with Nike on a sneaker. There’s a lot of prestige with that title, as his works with classic Nike silhouettes are credited as the pioneering figures for the “sneakerhead” culture of the early 2000’s, which circled around the sexiness of indie art and exclusivity and tied into the growing appeal of sneaker boutiques. Stash started out tagging up subway cars and eventually became engrossed with sneakers thanks to the B-boy culture, and things took off for Stash in the sneaker scene when he met Mark Parker out in Japan and when NORT/Recon opened up in the Lower East Side not long after the events of 9/11. The last few years haven’t been quite as harmonious for Stash; fall-out with Nike, which some would say is the brand that put Stash’s name on the sneaker map, and the closing of his store partly due to a freak accident with plumbing in the building kept Stash’s under the radar for a short period of time, but he came back in full force working with brands like Reebok, Lacoste, and a slew of other urban fashion labels as he’s done even before his “tenure” with Nike.
Stash’s Nike legend began with 2002’s Artist Series and the Air Classic BW, which was limited to 1,000 individually numbered pairs. What followed was a slew of other freelance projects (a term he prefers over ‘collaboration’) with Nike iD, the Air Force 1 High, the Air Force 1 Mid, and finally, in March of 2006, the ‘Blue Pack’ consisting of the Air Max 95 and Air Force 1 Low. Stash’s ‘stash’ of Nike collaborations (no pun intended, we promise) is not to be messed with, revitalizing old classics with his personal visions and proving that with these “collaborations”, it truly is the “collaborator” who makes the shoes. After the release of the Air Force 1 and Air Max 95 in March of that year, he worked on the Nike SB P-Rod as well as the Air Zoom Kobe 1 to give both debut signature shoes that level of ‘cool’, but sadly, the volume of his Nike projects would slow down considerably, as his Air Force 1 Mids in ’08 would prove to be his final bow with the brand. Regardless of how his relationship with Nike played out, he undeniably sparked the flint in the sneaker game and left at the top – that’s a success story that only a small percentage in any field can be legitimately tout in their resumes.
For today’s Classics Revisited, our focus is on the Nike Air Force 1 Low of 2006; it released exclusively at NORT/Recon in New York City (March 25th) and San Francisco (March 26th) alongside the Air Max 95; the colorway was a bit of a reprisal of his original Air Classic BW concept, using rich suede, leather, and nylon materials to give the sneaker a unique construction. Not only is the Stash x Nike Air Force 1 a great looking shoe, it’s one of the most durable, weather-ready Air Force 1s ever made because it’s built rock-solid from front to back. Stash was present at both release events and signed shoe-boxes for those who came through (there were lines around the block for the release). Check below for a detailed viewing of the Stash x Nike Air Force 1 as well as some photos from the release event and let us know where these rank among your favorite Air Force 1s in history!
Stash x Nike Air Force 1 Low
Harbor Blue/Sport Royal-Soft Grey