“Offers unique insight into a defining moment in sneaker culture.”
“The design brings a baseline color pop for your initial book stacking and shelving, as well as a legit conversation piece.”
“Virgil Abloh’s ‘ICONS’ book lifts the lid on his era-defining Nike collaboration.”
„If the shoe is an art object, this 352-page art book is an appeal to enter the canon.“
“The ultimate Virgil Abloh x Nike retrospective.”
“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.”
“Sure to get the sneakerheads buzzing.”
Virgil Abloh. Nike. ICONS
The Sneaker as (Hyper)Object
Nike and Virgil Abloh reinvigorate 10 icons of sneaker historyIn 2016, sportswear manufacturer Nike and fashion designer Virgil Abloh joined forces to create a sneaker collection celebrating 10 of the Oregon-based company’s most iconic shoes. With their project The Ten—which reimagines icons like Air Jordan 1, Air Max 90, Air Force 1, and Air Presto, among others—they reinvigorated sneaker culture.
Virgil Abloh’s new designs offer deep insights into engineering ingenuity and burst with cultural cachet. Drawing on the genius of the original shoe using lettering, ironic labels, collage, and sculpting techniques, Abloh plays with language and sculptural elements to construct new meaning. Inspired by the wit of Dadaism, architectural theory, and avant-garde happenings, he analyzes what makes each shoe iconic and deconstructs it into an artistic assemblage, making each shoe into a piece of industrial design, a readymade sculpture, and a wearable all at once.
ICONS traces Abloh’s investigative, creative process through documentation of the prototypes, original text messages from Abloh to Nike designers, and treasures from the Nike archives. We find Swooshes sliced away from Air Jordans and reapplied with tape or thread, Abloh’s typical text fragments in quotation marks on Air Force 1, and All Stars cut into pieces. We take a look behind the scenes and witness Abloh’s DIY approach, which gives each model in the Off-WhiteTM c/o Nike collection its own unique touch. This deconstructive vocabulary is reflected in the Swiss binding, which showcases an open spine and discloses the production of the book.
The book documents Abloh’s cooperative way of working and reaffirms the power of print. For its design Nike and Abloh partnered with the acclaimed London-based design studio Zak Group. Together they conceived a two-part compendium, equal parts catalog and conceptual toolbox. The first part of the book presents a visual culture of sneakers while a lexicon in the second part defines the key people, places, objects, ideas, materials, and scenes from which the project grew. Texts by Nike’s Nicholas Schonberger, writer Troy Patterson, curator and historian Glenn Adamson, and Virgil Abloh himself frame the collaborative work within fashion and design history. A foreword by Hiroshi Fujiwara places the project within the historical continuum of Nike collaborators.
Virgil Abloh. Nike. ICONS