For Milan Design Week 2019, Nike and Heron Preston staged a workshop inviting guests to design their own Air Max with a 720 or 95 sole at Antonioli. Aluminium shelves displayed coloured laces, threads, and deconstructed sneaker parts, leaving more to the imagination than a tactile engagement with Nike’s most iconic silhouette. Using tablets and a palette of construction options curated by Preston, guests were able to design their shoes as a totally personalized experience.

Preston is a New York-based creative director and DJ, famous for collaborations with Kanye West and Virgil Abloh. He co-founded Been Trill in 2012, and works as a creative consultant for Kanye, most notably on the Life of Pablo and Yeezy label, and is also the global digital producer at Nike. His namesake label, which debuted at Paris Fashion Week in 2017, has the unmistakable signature of Preston’s bold, high-vis, utilitarian aesthetic.

More than simply an evolution of the NIKEiD concept, which began in 2012, and has since been rebranded as Nike By You, the democratization of the design process reflects a deeper consideration of technology and trends that’s more than immediately obvious. Whereas in the past, brands would invest in a fashion authority to define an exact line for the customer, being invited back into the creative process acknowledges that 3D modelling and personalized interfacing are being grasped by shoppers at a younger age – a sense of freedom within a framework. Coupled with the height of Instagram giving a social pay-off for our individuality, Nike By You has the potential to activate new audiences in a genuinely cool way, and is unlike the traditional model of sneaker-buying that doesn’t allow us to, as Preston says, “create things that we weren’t originally supposed to have.” The Nike Air Max 720/95 Heron Preston By You shoe is set for global release April 15, 2019.

 

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