Nike Air Max turns 30 this Sunday and to celebrate three decades of the iconic Air series, it’s celebrating with the ‘Month of Air’ re-releasing a number of retro styles throughout March including the eagerly anticipated Nike Air VaporMax.
The celebration of Air isn’t only about looking to the past. Nike also invited twelve creatives from around the world to their headquarters in Portland to create their own silhouette, one that could eventually be made and become part of the Air history. The designs from all twelve creatives have gone up for the public vote, with the chosen design made into a fully fledged design – Check out all the designers and their creations here. Once of those who hopes to make her dream come true is London-based Alexandra Hackett, a fashion designer and all round Nike obsessive. So fond of the brand, Hackett goes by moniker Mini Swoosh and eats, lives breathes all things Nike.
We caught up with the designer after her trip to discover where her obsession began and to find out why her Mini Swoosh reincarnation of the Air Max deserves a place in Nike’s prolific history.
Notion: Where did your Nike obsession first begin?
Alex: My design ethos has always revolved around questioning the functionality of textiles and appropriating branding. I studied a Bachelor of Design (Fashion) at university in Australia and majored in men’s sportswear which is where my fascination with sportswear began. Sportswear is very honest – every design line, construction technique and fabrication choice has a function for the wearer. I naturally gravitated towards Nike over other brands, because of its inspiring, highly practical and no-frills attached approach to design and branding.
Most treasured Nike item?
I don’t own it yet but I’m about to buy it – a silver pendant of a miniature Air Max 97.
Tell us about your visit to Nike HQ? Was it anything like you expected?
Visiting the Nike Global Headquarters was literally a dream come true. I’m a huge Nike fan so being given the opportunity to see where everything gets developed was an incredible experience. Hands down, the best part was the tour of their DNA Warehouse where Nike keep every single product they’ve developed. I cannot even begin to explain the rarity products I saw in there.
Did you have a clear idea about how your Air Max design was going to look before you arrived on the trip in Portland?
Yes, I think most of us did. As soon as I really started to think about Air Max, I knew I wanted to do a design that incorporated elements of all my favourite models. I think a lot of people have gone quite futuristic with their design but I really wanted to focus on what makes Air Max so iconic.
You’ve called your design an “homage to Air” – tell us about its components and why you chose each one?
My Air Max design is an amalgamation of nine of the original Air Max models that showcase visible air. The tooling/sole was based on an Air Max 97. The toe cap is from an Air Max 93 and the tongue was taken from an Air Max 360. The upper features design lines from the Air Max 1, 90, 180, 95, 97, Plus and 2015. The tongue also features the size label on the outside.
Why do you think your Air Max design should win above the other designs?
Most of the other designs are more or less a sole swap between the same few models – Air Max 90, Air Max 97, Vapormax and Air Max 1 – whereas my model is a completely new design! Sole swaps will always exist but Nike will literally never make this design if it doesn’t win!
Why do you think the Air Max lines are so iconic?
I think the history of Air Max is so integral to not only Nike as a brand but also to the development of innovation in footwear. The concept of putting air in a shoe is still such a futuristic and inventive notion.
How has the sportswear brand had an influence on the way you approach the design or branding with your own label?
Nike is hugely influential in my approach to my brand, ethos and how I look at my career. Their viewpoint on design is incredibly methodical and purely based on functionality – an approach I endeavour to take with each piece I make. Additionally, their branding and advertising strategies are unequivocally powerful and are a constant point of inspiration in my day to day working life.
If you’re digging Alexandra’s design – you can vote for her to win here