August 7, 2012 BY John Kim
Art, skate, surf, punk, hip-hop, street graffiti – all of these colonies of expertise were in focus when Nike sought out like-minded individuals for much of its freelance projects in the 2000’s. Nike, of course, grew to a multi-billion dollar company with its focus on mainstream sports and competition, but simultaneously established its place in the sub-culture with a number of memorable collaborations in an attempt to bring sublime art to Nike shoes. This, in part, explains why many sneaker collaborations were so limited to begin with; simply put – Nike didn’t intend the shoes to be for ‘everyone’, but the inevitable growth of the sneaker sub-culture made these limited edition affairs unprecedentedly coveted and eventually became the pillars of ‘sneakerhead’ history. Perhaps the most art-concentrated sneaker collaboration was in 2005, when Nike teamed up with Aaron Rose – the curator of an art collective known as Beautiful Losers.
Beautiful Losers (first a published book in 2005 and later a documentary film in 2008) was a compilation of the some of the most influential and organic artworks of the generation. Contributions from notable names like Shepard Fairey, KAWS, and Geoff McFetridge played a role in displaying the most significant cultural accomplishments in history and how they were a result of self-seeking outsiders rather than the ‘establishment’ of marketing experts or corporate focus groups. The Nike Blazer ‘Beautiful Losers’ was a special release to pay tribute to the release of the book; both the Varsity Red and Black versions feature the reflective Beautiful Losers typefont on the heels of the shoes, with each version owning a unique tongue label (messages like ‘The Painters of Contemporary Life’, ‘The Beaten Path’, and ‘Transforming Terrains’). This limited release was, as expected quickly picked up by art and sneaker collectors alike, and today remains as one of the most significant art-based Nike sneakers in history. More of ‘Beautiful Losers’ below, so take a look and check back tomorrow for more of Classics Revisited: Nike Blazer.
Nike Blazer ’73 Premium
Varsity Red/Varsity Red-White