Being given your own footwear by the sporting and fashion giant that is Nike is like an acknowledgment of your success.
Michael Jordan’s shoes remain one of the most iconic lines of sneakers to ever be worn on court or street – something that started with Nike realising his importance to basketball and his cultural influence. You can’t compare the influence of MJ’s Air Jordan to any other shoe in terms of longevity and the loyalty the self-titled ‘sneaker heads’ have for the range of trainers that sport the iconic Jumpman logo. However, for British musician, Skepta, being given his own Nike shoe is like a more contemporary, grime alternative to receiving a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth.
The Sk Air reworks the ever-popular Air Max 97 silhouette – a shoe which has long had its own place of importance in the grime scene before the genre even had a name. From Eskibeat to the current state of grime now as the popular and influential subculture that it is, the Air Max 97 and Skepta have been there the whole time – from council flats to fashion shows.
Boy Better Know’s frontman has established himself as an important player not just in his scene, or even the UK music scene, but on the international landscape of fashion. His clothing line MAINS marked his first major direct array into the fashion world, but the influence of the ‘tracksuit mafia’ has already been felt for some time. These Nike trainers though, designed and inspired by the British/Nigerian music legend, may be the best gauge of just how big the name Skepta has become.
The design for the Sk Airs has roots in his native North London, of course, as everything that Joseph Adenuga touches always will. But as he told Nike.com, the influence of a recent and insightful trip out of the spotlight in Morroco was integral to the finished look of these Air Max trainers. It was there where the Kodak shot film photos for the campaign were taken.
‘I found Morocco, and it was perfect. Everything I wanted to feel about peace, I found it there. I like the architecture, the pastel colors, the taxis, the way that you could just go into a small little souq, open a door and it brings you into a big, massive, beautiful new world that you never would have expected.’
‘When designing the Air Max 97 Sk, we took the color palette of Morocco into consideration, but also the palette of the 1999 Air Tuned Max. That was the first shoe I ever saved up money to buy, so I wanted to bring its magic to the 97 — the magic that made me first love Air Max when I saw it as a child.’ – Skepta
The ‘Sk’ logo is in the shape of a British plug and really similar to the ‘TN’ logo that is sported by another iconic shoe in Nike’s repertoire of classics. These shoes aren’t even out yet, but they’ll be available globally September 2 on Nike+ SNKRS, nike.com and at select retailers – considering their influences and the man behind them, the Sk Airs could be a classic, themselves.