Virgil Abloh x Nike Collab On New Book 'ICONS'
A defining moment in sneaker culture.
Virgil Abloh, the artistic director of menswear at Louis Vuitton and founder of Off-White, has once again collaborated with Nike on their new book, titled ICONS. Published by international art-book publisher, TASCHEN, the book traces the origins of the partnership, giving us behind-the-scenes insight into all things Off-White x Nike.
Abloh partnered with Nike back in 2017, to reimagine ten of the sportswear brand's footwear icons. Named The Ten, the collection included new takes on the most recognizable styles, such as the Air Force 1, Air Jordan 1, Air Max 90 and Blazer Mid. Red plastic tags were secured to shoelaces in a DIY fashion.
ICONS celebrates this collaborative collection as a defining moment in sneaker culture, alongside Abloh’s ongoing work with Nike. The book comprises over 352 pages, exploring the creative narrative of these hyped designs for the reader to follow the process from concept to completion. For Abloh, ‘each shoe is a piece of industrial design, a readymade sculpture, and a wearable all at once.’ Original text messages between Abloh and Nike designers are also included, as well as raw material from the Nike archives.
Zak Kyes, founder of London-based studio Zak Group, was in charge of the book’s design. As he refers to the 1972 art exhibition catalogue, Documenta 5, as a dictionary of the 20th century, the second half of ICONS lists the people, places, objects and ideas that significantly shaped the project. “It was always clear to us that ICONS should aspire to be the Documenta of sneakers,” he says.
Kyes commented on their teamwork and dedication: “Books, like sneakers, are meticulously crafted objects… ICONS was two years in the making and involved countless WhatsApp conversations, meetings, mock-ups, and layouts. Culture moves fast, but making a book takes time.”
The book has been admired by Sneaker Freaker as “the ultimate Virgil Abloh x Nike retrospective.” NYLON stated: “As sneaker culture becomes more and more prevalent in both the realms of art and high fashion, there are very few books on the market that are worthy of a chic coffee table arrangement – until now. ICONS captures the cultural connection between sneakers, art, and fashion behind one of the biggest collaborations in sneaker history.”
It’s hugely exciting to see designers contributing to the transformation of the sneaker landscape and create a new era for the industry. We definitely have Virgil Abloh and Nike to thank.