• It was announced a while ago but wanted to say how happy I am to have been asked to select Dress of the Year 2013 at Fashion Museum in Bath. My choice was this @christopherkanestudio SS13 beauty.
  • Love this concertina beach scene print on @marios_official tote available at @therefineryhk now! #PMQIS
  • Congrats to my cousin @elizabethlauldn and her new shop @therefineryhk in the new PMQ building @PMQHKDesign #PMQIS much love for @BernstockSpeirs bunny ears!
  • Love that I always see the best pieces by Brit designers abroad @nicoll_studio @liger_hk
  • Swash land at @liger_hk Patterson St store #SwashLondon

Just under a year ago, I was watching Mo Farah cross the finishing line at the Olympics Stadium in Stratford.  Remember those tripped-out happy months when we were ALL dissecting the ins and outs of anything from coxless four in rowing to slalom to dressage to double trap shooting, regardless of whether we had watched these sports beforehand?  A year later, and I was lucky enough to go out to Portland and shamelessly "pose" on the track at Nike's Beaverton campus in Portland Oregon, where Farah trains on a regular basis.   

That I was so giddy and excited to be stepping on to that tranquil track, surrounded by Portland's natural lush woodland, is testament to my own change of attitude towards the physical act of pushing your body.  I'm still hoping the half marathon I did in San Francisco last year is the beginning, not the exception to continue that feeling of epiphany I felt when I crossed the line.  I've spoken previously about being "active" and how that has permeated my personal style.  In short, I don't want to be a useless potato of a being anymore.     

Therefore, when Nike invited me and Steve to come to their "campus" as it is known (the word headquarters is not quite the right terminology), the beating heart of this billion dollar company, the obvious answer was to say yay.  Plus, we were already on the West Coast and to go from the palm-dotted expanse of L.A. to the far more walkable/cyclable city of Portland (and to experience all of "Keep Portland Weird" isms) felt like a brilliant way to cap off our holiday.  

IMG_8116

It had been five years since Nike had gathered journalists from all over the world together at their campus and the reason being this time was to unveil two footwear and two apparel innovations guided by the Nature Amplified design ethos.  Nike 101 lesson #1 Always Listen to the Athlete.  This was a quote expounded by Phil Knight, co-founder and chairman of Nike and was underlined again by present CEO Mark Parker.

"Innovation is everything at Nike.  It's the core of our character.  We use innovation to serve human potential.  It's the answer to limits," declared Parker in the opening to this media summit.

As we whizzed through the landmark innovations which Nike have pioneered – Nike Air, Free, the Speed Suit, Nike +, Fuel Band, Flyknit – the thing that we were made to understand was that you had to innovate to move forward.  When Bill Bowerman, the acclaimed track and field coach at the University of Oregon, poured rubber into his wife's waffle iron and created the successful 1974 Waffle Trainer, that waffle iron duly went into the bin.  He had moved on.  And so it is that Nike continues to push it and I, the person who works in the ever-schizophrenic, style-over-substance world of fashion, looks on in awe.  You can ignore what I said about not being one to fangirl because I fan-girled pretty hard on Parker during our interview.  Not my finest hour but I did get some good wordage from Parker.    

IMG_7676

"We're not afraid to go some place new," said Parker when asked about why it is that Nike has retained such a monopoly in its field and also physically on the streets.  "I'm always conscious about getting too comfortable with success.  Thinking that 'This is working, and let's just keep doing it.'  We have to keep pushing forward – not new for new's sake, but new because it's better.  Many companies have problems with that.  I don't want to feel like a big company.  I want to feel small and entrepreneurial."  That's a stretch of a thought for a company that has over 40,000 employees and just posted profits of over $2 billion but the proof is in the way Parker still involves himself in the design process, observing and connecting with all the relevant teams to have open dialogue about ideas. 

"We have a very open culture where we try to minimise hierarchical structure," said Parker.  "I see good ideas coming from interns.  It's fresh and insightful thinking and we celebrate that and encourage them.  We'll have charrettes where we get a group of designers together – graphic, product, architectural design -  we put out a problem and see what they come up with.  So often the best ideas don't necessarily come from product design."

The best example of this would be Tinker Hatfield, another Nike don entrenched in its hall of fame.  On the second day we were lucky enough to listen to Hatfield speak about designing the Air Max shoe, an iconic gamechanger in footwear design in general, let alone the trainer field.  Hatfield came from a corporate architect background but he was also a cartoonist and a cross-discipline athlete.  When he joined Nike's design team, he said the atmosphere was "utilitarian" and the company was also in dire straits as its profitability was down.  Hatfield's mighty inspiration brainwave for the visible window in the Air Max shoe was looking at the Centre of Pompidou in Paris, and marrying up its inside-out aesthetic with a technically advanced shoe.  The Air Max 1 debut was initially met with derision and controversy.  Hatfield obviously had the last laugh though as the Air Max, in all its subsequent incarnations has been something of a benchmark shoe for Nike.  Therefore Hatfield's design legacy was that by serving the athlete and striving for high levels of innovation that might appear renegade at first, you could also capture the wider populace's imagination.  Hence why Nikes do dominate the feet of the street at large.  Why sneaker heads foam at the mouth at every new release.  Why Nike' authenticity has seduced the fickle beings of the style world and why have had the ability to crossover seamlessly from the performance world.  

On that note, I probed Parker about the balance between functionality and aesthetics.  How does he see that balance at Nike?  An interesting story concerning the late Alexander McQueen came up.  "We don't start with aesthetics," asserted Parker.  "We start with the functional.  We're able to solve problems in very unique ways ways – new manufacturing methods, new materials, new constructions, new ways of prototyping – you will create a new aesthetic in that process."

"I've spent time with designers from the fashion world.  For example, we had a great meeting with Lee McQueen at his height.  He wanted to come and partner with Nike and create a collection as he was a big sneaker head.  I was curious as to why.  He said 'With Nike, you are pursuing performance in a pure way.  The aesthetic comes from the process of solving problems.  As a designer, I'm somewhat jealous.'"

A similar sentiment is felt by many designers that I've spoken to as they often have admiration for Nike's ability to a) give time and b) resources to devoting themselves to pure unadulterated functionality.  The incredible thing is that the bi-product of that devotion is a completely new aesthetic – something that we've not seen before.  Innovation is a word that we're often seeking in fashion but time and time again, come up short because the current timeframe of the fashion world doesn't allow for real innovation to develop and come to fruition.   As an example, Parker compares the cut-and-sew techniques of trainer making to a collage and the technology of Flyknit to airbrushing, allowing for precision and that has become a powerful tool.  

IMG_7448

Nikeist

That tool forms the basis of the two shoes we saw but with wildly different results from when we first saw the debut of Flyknit last year.   We padded around different surfaces – grass, gravel, woodchip, foam – in just our socks to connect feet to ground.  That's the basis of the Nike Free Hyperfeel.  It's the first time where the Lunarlon cushioned insole touches the foot and has been worked with a Flyknit upper for that seamless and light quality, that makes Flyknit so mind bogglingly wicked.  It was indeed a bit of a strange "feet" sensation (feetsation? footsense?)when we tried it on, bouncing about on the grounds of Nike campus, both grass and tarmac.  It felt like the shoe wasn't there and that when you did run or walk, the shoe would absorb all outside pressure.  The shoe makes its presence known though with the neon waffle outsole and the Flyknit lines dancing across the foot.

IMG_7513

IMG_7527

IMG_7515

IMG_7522

IMG_7525

IMG_7528

Another Flyknit hybrid is the Free Flyknit where you could visibly see the technology of Flyknit working its way all over the foot in bands of colour that accentuate pressure points on a foot.  It's supposed to be like a second skin, fitting your feet like a sock and when combined with the Free sole that moves with the body.  The designers spoke of different "rides" when talking about the shoes and the sort of running experience you had with them.  Techno mumbo-jumbo means nothing unless it functions well and that's down to the run.  The Free Hyperfeel would give you a "nice and smooth" ride and the Free Flyknit was a more "natural" ride.  Unfortunately it would always be in my nature to ignore any potential "ride" experiences and hone straight into the glorious colourways, which the Free Flyknit will be available in from 1st August.  Tri-colour neon green, orange and blue were obviously my combo of choice.   

IMG_7530

IMG_7531

IMG_7575

IMG_7565

IMG_7563

IMG_7562

IMG_7564

IMG_7568

IMG_7559

IMG_7547

IMG_7585

IMG_7549

On the apparel side, we saw natural meets manmade as the slubby feel of a cotton tee, the warmth of wool and the breathability of a knit worked with Nike's Dri-Fit technology so that you basically don't sweat when you're running.  Climate control is the main agenda for Nike in their running gear as they also develop Aeroloft – a perforated down material, which gives you warmth but also for heat to escape when you're running up a sweat, tested in the most rugged of conditions in New Zealand and Japan.  Having run in all manner of garments – a mix of high street, sports brands and miscellaneous – I've found that function is one of those things that takes precedence.  The shoes are where you can go all out in aesthetics, but when you're working up a sweat and materials start to rub causing heat rashes that's when the technology of material  really comes into its own.  

IMG_7645a

IMG_7645b
IMG_7646

IMG_7646a

IMG_7647
IMG_7647a

IMG_7774

IMG_7724

IMG_7749

IMG_7786

IMG_7842

The second part to our Nike campus experience took place in the Nike Sport Research Lab, where all the "science" comes.  The real secret lair to Nike is their innovation "kitchen" where all of the juicy stuff gets cooked up but seeing NSRL was the next best thing.  I'm not one to throw science around for effect but basically they look at the way a human body moves, gathering as much data about how muscles are exerted during a run, how a foot takes off when a basketball player goes for the kill, how feet swell up in size during physical activity, how a body's temperature changes in different environments etc etc.  It's a seemingly infinite laboratory where physiologists and scientists extract as much data as possible to then inject into design.  How that is done?  That would be telling apparently.  The point is that all of NSRL's gadgetry and gizmos exist for a very real and accountable purpose at Nike – to always listen to the athlete.  

IMG_7924

IMG_7924a

IMG_7925

IMG_7944

IMG_7957

IMG_7969

IMG_7970

IMG_7977

IMG_7998

IMG_8008

IMG_8032

IMG_8037

IMG_8047

Nike's need for secrecy is justified were some elements we weren't allowed to divulge but could only glimpse at.  Nike Sportswear for S/S 14 and all the new Air Maxes for instance are looking quite insane.  There were audible gasps in the room when we were shown this product.  Grown journalists, writers and photographers literally sallivating when secretive white boxes were removed to reveal the shoes.  

After speaking to Parker, Nike's various designers and seeing the campus itself, you can see why onwards and upwards is ingrained into all its endeavours.  A tour of the campus was like going on a life-enhancing motivational walk.  The rough cobblestoned steps through a fountain was meant to symbolise the fact that you had to watch your step as you grow.  A case of numerous Air Jordans showcase Nike's most successful partnership with Michael Jordan, which almost didn't happen because he originally wanted to wear adidas.  The $35 swoosh logo designed by Carolyn Davidson in 1971, which didn't impress Knight at first but became a "grower" – something asymmetrical and odd can dominate if given the right context.  "There is no finish line" and the all powerful "Just do it!" slogans resonate not because they're relevant to just Nike's products and ethos but because they can be applied in so many other instances.  I come back to the that beautiful track where the surrounding trees and seclusion made the path look like it would go on and on forever without a definite finishing point.  It was exactly the right sentiment to take back home from Portland.          

IMG_8056

IMG_8129

IMG_8127

IMG_8091

IMG_8068

IMG_8072

IMG_8074

IMG_8077

IMG_8078

IMG_8106

IMG_8096

IMG_8144

IMG_8145

IMG_8119

Comments (29)

  1. I like your blog, you post some interesting stuff for me from time to time, but I seriously do not support this, and that is why I comment here by the first time, just to as you, sarcastically or course, if you also visited the factories where the nikes are made.

  2. I meant “ask you” sorry… :)

  3. Putri Soe says:

    This is so epic. You are not lucky, you worked hard and you earned this by yourself. It’s so amazing to see all those “behind-the-scene” moments in the Nike “campus”.

  4. Francesca says:

    First of all, I miss the Olympics so much. Secondly, those shoes are amazing! I saw them on your instagram and was like ‘W O W’
    xo
    http://www.yummylikecake.com

  5. Lady Vintage says:

    Great shoes! Nice post very interesting :) M-C
    http://theladyvintage.blogspot.fr/

  6. susie_bubble says:

    Ah the factory question. I knew this would come up. In which case can we hold ALL companies accountable please and just not write about anyone whatsoever save for vintage shops and small indie designers? To my knowledge Nike since the 90s have committed to eradicating unethical production practises – have they been wholly erased? Nobody can know for sure. Just as Zara/Topshop/Primark (*ahem*… far worse offender in my book) and even high end luxury labels like Alexander Wang and Marc Jacobs cannot 100% guarantee their supply chains are clean. Nike are perhaps the figurehead scapegoat with regards to a problem that pervades the entire industry from mass production to high end (read Lucy Siegle’s book To Die For for more insight). The question is are companies openly challenging these chains and trying to instill change like Nike have done in recent years? That’s all, that we as consumers can hope they will commit to doing…
    As a writer/reporter, it would be impossible to ignore what they are doing on the design front on the basis that we haven’t visited their factories in the process to verify accusations that have long become a cliched trope to hold against a company like Nike when a) in reality they are NOT the only offenders and b) we cannot verify 100% of the chain even if we wanted to.

  7. susie_bubble says:

    Actually, on re-reading the chapter regarding Nike’s labour practises in Siegle’s book, your point seems even more moot. Siegle is a hardliner in all issues of sustainability and I trust her unbiased opinion. Precisely because Nike have come under fire in the past is why they along with the likes of Gap, H&M etc have emerged as leaders in their way of publicly reporting their supply chains. In fact, Siegle praises Nike’s recent actions to audit their labour trails and bring in CSR staff and green technologists. Sure, is it completely foolproof? Perhaps not. But at least there are those measures. And Nike are one of the few companies who have the revenue to instill such measures. The same can’t be said for other companies and again, would you besmirch every other blogger who writes about high street companies? Do you yourself wear high street clothing? My point is, it’s a far more complex issue than to just plainly declare “I don’t support this post because they have shit labour practises.”

  8. zxa says:

    Whoa! Bubble went bust on dis Bitch!

  9. doreen says:

    great article susie! your comment rebuttal is as fascinating amd insightful as your blogpost!

  10. If they are so big that they can pay millions to hundred of football players, basketball, and all kind of athletes, i think they could take care, they have resources and profit enough for that. Well…maybe all that profit comes from something, like not paying well. I recently watched a documentary about this, and the boss from one little company made the way to china to see how was it going there, and after that he decided he did not want that anymore, and canceled all their supplies, for example. That made me though about how many business men/women give a shit about that. I just say I do not support these kind of companies. Of course anyone can be pure 100% in anything in life, but we try to do our best, and I do not like who just do not care. I have been working with Oxfam and I kind of know what I am talking. Now, luckily, after people dying, people making documentaries about labour conditions and so on, seems that everything is going to how it had to be from the begining.
    I do not wear any of that clothes, be sure, neither high brands or low-cost. I make my own or I buy to local producers, i exchange a lot too, and get second hand garments. I do care. Anyway, I am not judging anyone, i just follow my principles, everyone is free to see, think, decide.
    Thanks for considering “moot” my opinion in the message below.

  11. Something that I love from german: EGAL

  12. The Fashion Fraction says:

    you inspired my with that first picture, perfectly dress in running start postion. I’m planing to do a whole photoshot in these theme right now!
    http://www.thefashionfraction.com
    http://www.thefashionfraction.com

  13. Very inspiring- grateful for my blog which stops me from being a complete couch potato!; http://thelaststraggler.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/icon-series-vv-brown/. Am definitely not quite ready for any marathons tho- well done!

  14. susie_bubble says:

    You don’t seem to be reading my replies. Or you’re choosing not to? First to answer your point about being “egal” – as in egalitarian. Frankly the fashion world isn’t that. The world at large isn’t that. Is it unfair? Yes but I see the situation as irreversible in many instances so it’s best to work with what you have and judge instances of unfairness accordingly.
    That you’re a hardline second-hand devotee or that you make your own clothing is admirable. I’m not. I choose not to be. That is my choice and I think we can respect each other for it.
    But it does seem like you have based your initial comment on a sole documentary without actually reading into facts. You seem to have lumped Nike into “these kind of companies” – what does that mean exactly? Do “these kind of companies” ALL operate in exactly the same way? Have you personally investigated their supply chains? You say you work at Oxfam and you know what you are talking about but can we talk about specific cases here? I replied and said that the facts are… Nike have an excellent Green Index sustainability programme (you can Google this). They along with Gap have the best social reporting systems which have stages which rigorously audit their supply chains (that is, they go out inspect them and do it properly – not like other auditing systems). They’re not just imposing their codes of conduct on suppliers but they’re also trying to place orders responsibly so that factories aren’t pressured to let standards slip. There have been many reports on this (again all on Google). This isn’t Nike feeding me this info but I have independently researched this as well. Like I said though, we STILL cannot guarantee that 100% of the supply chain is clean 100% of the time.
    You say you buy second hand clothes or make your own – is the fabric that they are made out of – is it cotton or wool? Have they been dyed different colours? You get into a whole other can of worms there as cotton farming, chemical dyeing and wool farming have a whole host of other implications on labour trails (suffering cotton pickers in Uzbekistan, insecticides used on sheep in Australia, chemical processes to fade denim)
    As it happens, i will be posting an insightful interview with Orsola de Castro who is a brilliant spokesperson on sustainability in fashion. I think this should give my position on how I see sustainability in fashion in a clearer way.
    Sorry if I’ve come off looking like a batty old pedant. I just see facts before me and take them as such. I do think it’s a bit of a misguided cliche to say that Nike are a corporate fat cat and that buying secondhand/local puts you on a superior moral high ground. It’s quite similar to the food industry. Jay Rayner’s latest book is enlightening about supermarkets for instance. It’s not as simple as just saying big companies = bad, small companies = good.

  15. Biba says:

    Wow Susie, I cannot believe you used as an argument that they “are not the only ones doing it”. Two wrongs do not make a right.

  16. susie_bubble says:

    But why flag me up on this particular post? When EVERY other post could potentially come under fire? What would i write about then? Just charity shops and vintage stores (which also have their pitfalls…) – OF COURSE I don’t think it’s right that these issues exist. But I do think it’s changing for the better and I can only judge the situation by what their actions and in the case of Nike, as I said above, they out of most big apparel companies have indeed put in the effort to alleviate the wrongdoing. Read those reports. Read the academic studies. The original commenter didn’t seem to have facts to back up what she was saying and I was merely rebutting with my own facts. My argument wasn’t based on “They are not the only ones doing it.” In fact by their recent CSR report, they AREN’T doing it. That isn’t completely foolproof of course but it is some way of assurance. It’s just too easy to take the moral high ground when not every party has all facts before them.
    Furthermore it is not my remit to investigate EVERY single companies’ labour practises and sustainability policies. We as consumers can only take the word of the companies and from independent research (which I have tried to look into). If that were the case, I might as well shut down the blog entirely… what if I found holes/gaps in EVERYTHING that I wrote about… and I think that might well be the case anyway…
    But it’s good to bring up issues of labour practises and sustainability and it will be something I address in future posts..

  17. Khoa says:

    I find it humorous to the point of ridiculous that some people brought up the issue of this (unethical) labor practices while what she was trying to do is to give a reportage of her experience at the event and the fact that Nike’s keeps pushing the envelope with this specific product. If you want to talk about labor practices, then everything you use from your Macbook, iPhone, clothing (well, the vast majority. I’m not including made in italy stuff) and shoes is made in the third world. Would you stop using them altogether? Did you run a research on where the computer you’re using to type comments is from and how it’s made? I’m speaking this from the perspective of someone being born and raised there and seeing first hand how it’s like, not just preaching about it after watching videos and reading newspapers while comfortably residing in the first world. Peace out!

  18. Interested says:

    It’s an interesting debate. On the one hand for the individual consumer it is completely impossible to be totally “clean” ethically – as Susie points out when she says that even if you make your own clothes you are buying fabrics or dyes that may be of ethically dubious origin. And if you are literally knitting from your own sheep and dying your clothes with beetroot juice, well – I don’t particularly want to go back to a medieval style of life to be honest.
    On the other hand something about the tone of this piece did make me a little unsure, perhaps that’s where all the criticism of Nike is coming from. It just reads a bit like a PR piece. I really like this blog, and I understand that one must fund oneself somehow, but still, its nice to maintain a critical (not to mention personal) perspective, and I’m afraid I do think that is particularly important when it comes to big companies

  19. susie_bubble says:

    Well on that second point, I can assure you that there is absolutely NO commercial ties between myself and Nike. You can verify that with Nike if you want further assurance. The cost of the trip was undertaken by Nike as it was a media summit where all journalists (over 100 over them) were invited by Nike.
    The tone of the piece was entirely my own – influenced by what I saw, who I interviewed and what I observed. If that reads like a PR piece, then so be it. I am genuinely in awe of their product and the way they go about developing that product. If that doesn’t sit well with readers, then so be it.
    But the original commenter wasn’t criticising the design aspect but brought up a separate issue about corporate social responsibility which is a point that Nike have specifically tried to rectify. Those reports have been so well documented in press that it just surprised me that people were still bringing up issues that have lagged on from the 90s. Yes, Nike need to be analysed and criticised but people should also look at the facts at hand too.

  20. Biba says:

    I do not disagree at all with the points you make. Only an hypocrite in this day and age could reserve for themselves the right to take the moral high ground on this subject.
    What i do object is your argument that because probably everyone has something to answer for we shouldn’t single out Nike.
    Nike is a massive enterprise that made millions in profit from all sorts of dodgy working practises, so you can say the company’s success, regardless if they cleaned out their act or not, is indeed built on that past. Their reputation was tainted and because they are so visible and so big, it’s normal that they became the poster boy for the sweatshop horrors.
    I’m not surprised people singled out this post, I agree with Interested, there were something about the tone that smacks of PR exercise, I’ve been reading your blog for ages to know that was not your intention, but that’s certainly for me how it comes across.

  21. Interested says:

    Hello Susie, thank you for the reply. And apologies for jumping to the conclusion that there was a commercial link.
    I think I was trying to link two different points in a way that did not work. My second point was just that what I like about your posts is that they do maintain a critical perspective – not on every product or company, but where it seems appropriate. Because Nike is a company of a certain sort, it seemed to me appropriate here. The critical perspective could be ethical, or about design, but actually here what interested me is the relationship between companies (like Nike) and journalists (such as yourself). As you say, Nike flew you out to the US so you could so you could write about their product.
    I’ve actually read many a post of yours where you do write about precisely this issue (e.g. about Arcadia http://www.stylebubble.co.uk/style_bubble/2009/08/top-of-the-shop.html) and I always really liked that you were positive about the product + unapologetic but willing to reflect on and justify what you were doing. I thought maybe that was missing here, although I understand that maybe it would be dull to write about it every time.
    Anyway, perhaps my criticism is totally misplaced – and I just want to say again that it is the context of really liking your blog and also with the knowledge that it it must be pretty exhausting for you to have to justify everything you write to a load of anonymous commentators.

  22. Helen says:

    Very interesting post! Thank you for sharing! I love those Nike shoes..
    http://helentsokana.blogspot.co.uk/

  23. susie_bubble says:

    Thanks for your reply. I guess I felt it wasn’t a relevant subject to bring in considering a) I’ve written about Nike previously before and b) I personally feel their positive work with regards to CSR reporting is already well publicised. Their 2011 sustainability report in particular has won awards and plaudits from various organisations. Perhaps it’s an industry thing to assume such a thing. I am GENUINELY surprised that the sweatshop thing comes up and often without any specific proof to back it up. Yes, it is something that Nike need to continue to answer for and I’m not denying that there isn’t the slightest of possibility that there are still “unclean” supply chains (it’s an issue that is sometimes beyond the control of the company in question – the bigger you are, the longer the chain etc – again, Siegle’s book To Die For is such an enlightening book on the subject). But with my critical capacity with regards to this trip and Nike in general, I felt duty bound to report on the experience at campus, the way they deal with athletes and more importantly, their actual designs and not their CSR policy, which is something they have taken care of themselves – it’s all public domain information as well if people wish to research.

  24. susie_bubble says:

    I agree that that past still taints them for a lot of people but I guess my view is slightly more skewed because I’ve personally spoken to people who used to work for Nike (and so aren’t personally tied anymore) who were there when all the sweatshop stuff was blowing up and they talked about how they took direct action to alleviate it – the auditing trail they set up etc. That’s besides the fact that the plaudits they have won for their recent CSR work are so well documented and publicised. Like I said to Interested below though, maybe it is more of an industry thing where such knowledge is widely known.
    I personally feel that it’s BECAUSE Nike are mahussive (they’ve made billions, not just millions) that they have the resources to swallow up costs of CSR teams, auditing teams, thorough inspections, outside/third party analysts. That might sound strange but a British high street company for instance is more likely to falter in these instances of using unsound labour practises simply because they don’t have the financial capacity to accommodate for all the aforementioned. Nobody wants a dirty chain and purposely uses such factories but who is there to control it and to continually inspect? That is why I wholly support the idea of an outside organisation set up for inspections/auditing to prevent things like the Dhaka incident from happening.
    Like I said before, there are no commercial ties between myself and Nike and if the tone was PR exercise-esque, then that is down to a genuine love of their way of thinking with regards to design and the actual product itself. Honestly, like I said in the piece, it is a real privilege to be able to devote so much time, research and effort to a technology like Flyknit that is ultimately a game changer. I compare it to the fashion world where time and research is so often disregarded and it does actually make me a bit sad. I think of people like Ghesquiere – who in the end wasn’t given the time to research as he often referred to his studio as a laboratory.
    To add to that, another emotional tie that would affect the tone would be the fact that I did one of the greatest thing i ever did, wearing Nike gear – that half marathon was an experience that sounds dumb to articulate when I get all emo about it but there you go and there your clothing and footwear are connected with you in a way that they really aren’t in day-to-day life. You’re relying on materials to G you on when you’re running up a hill (Kate Bush’s track also got me through that bit…).
    In short (or in long…), like I said to Interested below, I feel justified that this piece was written with the primary concern of talking about Nike’s design ethos and specific product and experience as I feel their CSR issues have been more than answered elsewhere.

  25. Amaya W says:

    I love that Nike is engaging the fashion community with these creative projects. Looks like you had a blast!

  26. Matthew Pike says:

    One of my favourite posts ever Susie, Nike are such an aspirational brand on many levels; community, sports and fashion. You guys look like you had such a super time, to run around the track, lucky ducks! I’m not surprised you got a bit giddy in the interview, I bet it felt a bit surreal at the time.
    Very exciting about the Free Flynit and it will be interesting to hear how the hyperfeel shape up when the reviews start coming in.

Comment below