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atmos & the Nike Air Max 90: Duck Camo x Infrared

November 21, 2013by Aaron Kr.
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Nike has significantly scaled back their collaborative efforts in recent years, especially here in the United States. With the exception of the SB category, which still regularly teams up with Stateside skateshops and longtime collaborators like Stussy and Supreme who appear to be grandfathered into the ongoing rotation, it’s not often that we see the Swoosh partner up with respected domestic boutiques like they used to.

One shop that has managed to find a loophole in the system is atmos, who may be based and originated in Japan, but also maintains a successful U.S. location in Harlem as well. While not all of their Nike projects get distributed through their NYC shop, the Asian leg of the Tokyo-based atmos empire has built a long and fruitful relationship with the brand that has produced countless exclusives and globally acclaimed collaborative footwear offerings.

While atmos has put their own unique touch on a wide variety of Nike silhouettes over the years, it’s their incomparable arsenal of Air Max 1 creations that remain the most memorable. Their most

recent addition to their AM1 lineup came this past February with a head-turning combination of synthetic snakeskin and tiger camo on the uppers set off by Infrared accents on the branding.

Their latest Nike project picks up right where those left off, but takes an interesting twist along the way as atmos puts aside the Air Max 1 in favor of the Air Max 90, linking the two shoes in the process with a flip of the same general design elements. Using the iconic “Infrared” Air Max 90 as its base, atmos’ version adds a healthy helping of vibrant green duck camo along with black suede replacing the white mesh of the original and black snakeskin on the Swoosh as a call-out to their like-minded AM1 counterpart.

Unlike the 1’s, the atmos Air Max 90 will be seeing a very limited Stateside drop with Bodega set to release them this weekend. Stay tuned to see where else they’ll be popping up, and for now, check out our gallery and an interview with a true pioneer of the industry, atmos owner/founder Hommyo Hidefumi, discussing their latest project, the store’s longstanding relationship with Nike, and much more.

Sneaker News:  Nike isn’t doing a lot of collabs with US retailers these days, but Atmos is able to knock out one after the next. How nice is it to be one of the only shops in the world that gets to work with Nike on a regular basis?

Hommyo Hidefumi:  We do not know the reason why we are able to make collaboration shoes with Nike. We believe Nike US and Nike Japan have different business models and customers, so we are able to make more exclusive shoes with Nike Japan. Japanese customers are more Otaku (obsessed) than other countries’

customers, and they are very selective and into details. We are able to see both parts, good and bad. We love our Japanese customers and want to influence them. Maybe Nike knows our concept and agrees with our policy, so we are able to make collab shoes.

SN:  With so many classic collaborations under your belts, do you guys feel pressure for your new projects to live up to the shoes you’ve done in the past?

Hommyo:  We do not feel pressure with new projects. We have the concept that comes from Immanuel Kant, and we always focus on Space (Being) and Time. If we understand the time (modern trends), we are able to create strong new products (colorways and materials).

SN:  After so many great Atmos Air Max 1 collabs over the years, what finally got you guys to turn your attention over to the Air Max 90?

Hommyo:  This is also trend. We are able to see that people are looking for symbols of ’90s items. We are able to tell Air Max 1 stories and it’s great, but also, the Max 90 is great too and something new. This is good timing.

SN:  What does it mean to you for Atmos to get the global recognition that comes along with these high-profile collab projects?

Hommyo:  We just do it and we love Nike. I am doing sneaker business more than 20 years, so my half life is spent together with Nike. We just do them “because we do for ourselves”.

SN:  What’s your personal favorite of all the Atmos x Nike collaborations that you’ve done?

Hommyo:  Air Force 1. When I started with the shoe business, everyday we wore Nike Air Force 1 Lows. It was very strong and comfortable. Also, nobody was doing any exclusive Force 1s then except Footlocker and other big accounts. We still love the Air Force 1 and enjoy those innovations.

SN:  What’s a Nike model that Atmos has never done that you’d love to get your hands on?

Hommyo:  I think every Nike fan wants to make an Air Jordan Retro. I believe Jordan is GOD and I feel freedom in Jordan shoes.

SN:  How is the Japanese sneaker consumer and market different from here in the US and what brands or styles are kids in Japan going crazy for right now?

Hommyo:  US Customers are more strong and physical. However, Japanese customers are more weak and sensitive. Japanese kids love New Balance because Japanese women love NB. Is that crazy?

SN:  Does Atmos currently have any other collabs in the works, and if so, can you tell us anything about what’s coming up next?

Hommyo:  We try to make noise in the sneaker market and many projects are going on. adidas, Reebok, Asics, Timberland, and so on. But next month we have an Adidas ZX8000 – glow in the dark with silver and red.

A big thanks to Hommyo for taking the time to talk shop with us!

Watch out for the atmos x Nike Air Max 90 hitting Bodega this weekend and stay tuned to Sneaker News for further release information coming soon.