Nike | Air Max 270 React LA Editions | “Collaboration. Originality. Inclusivity.”
This is what we have been waiting for. In Los Angeles, Nike is coming out with limited-edition Air Max 270 React sneakers and fleece hoodies. Not only are they limited-edition, they are specially-designed by three talented L.A. artists: Sage Adams, Jheyda McGarrell, and Gabrielle Richardson. Each artist used their stories to create a this new collection of sneakers and hoodies, incorporating their unique style and flare. Flaunt was fortunate enough to get to chat with the women, see below.
SAGE ADAMS: The NY Transplant
“Designed by artist and curator Sage Adams, this Air Max 270 React is a reinvention of the classic white shoe that Adams saw in her childhood. The shoe comes outfitted with a pizza slice charm to nod to the classic comfort from her home-state, a reminder to pay tribute to your roots.”
What inspired you to pursue art?
For me the lack of representation of marginalized people as popular visual artists really spoke to a gap I wanted to fill. We needed more than Basquiat, we needed to know Carrie Mae Weems, Kara Walker, Henry Taylor! I needed to see more of a spectrum of the stories being told and mediums used.
Do you feel that art has opened up new possibilities for expression for you?
Art In many ways has taken over how I see the world. Before I started breaking things down into shape rather than how they ‘actually look’ was the moment I began to feel like an artist. It’s opened my mind to an array of possibilities otherwise deemed impossible. I didn’t even think I could draw as a kid.
What is the process you go through when curating an exhibition? Do you have a specific message in mind?
For me it’s getting to know the artist and what made them make the thing and then it’s how do these things come together to tell the story.
What connects the works, what makes them different from other pieces in archive? What medium? What does the architecture of the actual gallery space look like?
Creating an authentic representation of an idea or ethos is one of the hardest and most rewarding things there is.
JHEYDA MCGARRELL: The Homegrown Angeleno
“L.A. native artist Jheyda McGarrell’s take on the Air Max 270 React is influenced by her Black and Mexican upbringing. Pops of red pay homage to rose bushes grown in the front yard of her childhood home, while gold accents represent the evolving idea of opulence for Black and Brown communities. Topped off with a cherub charm, a reminder to honor traditions and use the lessons of the past to keep it moving forward.”
Questions for Jhyeda Mcgarrell:
How does your heritage, as an Angeleno of both Black and Mexican decent, reflect onto your artwork?
My heritage is reflected in all of my work due to the heavy impact of it in my formation. The contention of growing up experiencing all these different aspects of culture and tradition is an experience many without their stories ever been told. This specific project in my mind has worked to piece together the different aspects of the different culture backgrounds, that our two cultures share. This shoe to me bridges the created tension of an American landscape. It shows the ways we are one and the ways people like me live between these different ideologies and physical spaces. It bridges the weird black kid in the white neighborhood to the dark skinned mixed Mexican kid growing up with Tias smoothing down their curls and gives us space to just be all our different facets without contention.
What was the most rewarding and challenging part of this process?
The most rewarding part in this has been seeing the smile on my mom’s face when I told her I was working on a collaboration with Nike. The most challenging but also rewarding part has been working with an entire crew of people to execute an idea which is still relatively new to me. It’s so beautiful to see all these brilliant, different minds working to make something I once imagined.
What do you hope people feel when they wear your shoes/hoodie? Confidence? Individuality?
I hope when they wear the apparel they feel like they are truly reflecting their highest self. I hope they feel comfortable and free. I hope they feel every good emotion that has been out into the making and the lifestyle behind the creation. I hope they feel loved because I know I do from them.
What qualities do you see in yourself that you know you got from your family?
Pretty much everything. My family is completely made up of immigrants and all of the qualities I’ve gained from their strength and preservation in a country against them is appreciated. I have learned love and a desire to improve our lives and the lives around us and to honor heritage. I have learned even the qualities they might oppose in me. I have learned to always crave freedom and to always have a strong sense of self among so many other things.
It is so amazing that you get to work with Nike to be a source of inspiration for many people. What has inspired you, and in return, what do you want your work to inspire in others?
Thank you! It is literally such an honor. I’ve been inspired by everyone around me embodying the phrase “existence is resistance”. I’ve been inspired by the black, the brown, the indigenous, the queer, the trans, the fat, the disabled, the people who make up the qualities most worth embodying, utter freedom of expression and true strength. I hope my work inspires people to follow myself and others in moving forward towards freeing themselves and seeing the value in their everyday life, even when it’s boring, even if you hate yourself, like I did once and still do sometimes, I hope they know they are important.
GABRIELLE RICHARDSON: The Passionate Traveler
“Neon meets pastel in a technicolor dream in the Air Max 270 React designed by model and multimedia artist Gabrielle Richardson. The colorway exhibits the dichotomy of the modern-day jetsetter — neon being those moments of movement, and pastels representing the comforts of home. Embellished with a ‘Real’ charm, an encouragement to make creative dreams a reality without letting others restrict your point of view.”
Questions for Gabby Richardson:
Which place that you’ve travelled to been the most influential, or just your favorite and why?
I think the most influential place I’ve ever been is in Cape Town, South Africa. It was beautiful to be in a majority black country, but still felt a sense of disillusion being in a country with such an intense racial caste system. I felt so lucky to be in Africa, a continent that felt so connected to my identity but where I had never been. I met so many young talented South African artists in Cape Town who shared their art with me, and it reinforced my drive to do better to create and facilitate spaces for young black kids globally.
What do you want people to feel or think when wearing your design?
I want people to feel validated, I want to give people hope. I want people to know, in our constant shared state of anxiety that we live in that there is a silver lining. I used the neon colors because they’re utilitarian colors used often in industrial and emergency settings, I offset the abrasive colors with pastels to give it a sense of softness, and a sheer window so people can show off their personality. I think the real chain is self-explanatory, what you do, whatever you want to do, that shits real, that shits valid, don’t let anyone limit you and tell you that your aspirations are fake.
What does it mean for you to be a part of Nike’s limited edition collection?
It feels crazy! I As a child I never thought it was a possibility for me to work in the creative world and even more of a ludicrous fantasy to be able to have my own shoe. I think it’s a testament that any dream you have can be built. This journey with Nike has been a really formative experience for me as artist, I have never been so affirmed in my artistry. I was able to direct so many aspects of the campaign from the casting, color ways, and insert in the shoe. Being believed in is a magic that I want to pass on. Everything can be real!!
What does travel mean to you?
Through my time traveling I’ve realized that I learn mostly through experience. Through meeting people and exchanging stories of each other’s lives, I not only gain an objective knowledge but also broaden my emotional intelligence. A willingness to learn doesn't have to only connote traditional practices of learning, an education can be childlike and involves a lot of falling and getting back up. Traveling allows to see me to see the world for the first time always, everything and anything can fill me with wonder.