Nike and Stüssy are two of the biggest brands in their own field. So when these two empires collide and drop multiple collections, we can only agree that history is being made.
The contribute of Shawn Stussy (the founder of Stüssy), was indeed a very important influence on the beginning of streetwear culture.
And what is streetwear without sneakers? They are key pieces on every street scene, and we all know that Nike leads the market. The iconic silhouettes were, since day one, an important cultural mark from the basketball court, to hip-hop clubs.
Stüssy knew from the beginning, that the best strategy to become the biggest was not to create a new shoe, but to reinvent what is already in the market, by collaborating with the leader of the sneaker’s industry.
The relation that both brands have with each other, started in 2000, when they first released the Stüssy x Nike Air Huarache LE, followed by the Dunk High in 2001 and later one of the most iconic sneakers of all time, the Nike SB Dunk Low “Cherry” in 2005, reselling for more than £3,000 today.
Every once in a while, over the past 21 years, the two brands join forces and surprise us with collaborative sneakers.
But it was in 2020, that Stüssy showcased an apparel collection with the sportswear giant. The shoe Air Zoom Spiridon Cage 2 was followed by a cosy capsule with a full grey tracksuit, a long sleeve tee and a black tote bag. This release was by far on of the biggest and most popular in 2020, it sold out immediately. And the sneakers deserved the 5th spot on the ”best sneakers of 2020” by Grailed.
Shortly after, they announced another trainer collusion and the Air Zoom Kukini Spridon Cage 2 emerged.
With a similar silhouette to the previous release, the retro runners recall Nike’s archives, reminding us of the KuKini release in 2000. This time in a much more appealing format and modern yet classic design.
Still in 2020, while the world turned around with the pandemic, Nike and Stüssy were fully committed to bringing their ideas together.
The colourways and design were more neutral and minimal but with detailed accents, that only Stüssy could think of for the iconic Air Force 1. The “Fossil Stone” colourway was the first of the two pairs being released. The shoe was woven, the swoosh was constructed from embroidery as well as the toe box containing the “SS” signature from Shawn Stüssy. The monochromatic tone didn’t hide the incredible worked features that this design offered.
The link up between the two powerhouses, had, once again, a highly expected clothing release. The co-branding resulted in a black puffer jacket, with a matching insulated pants and skirt. Along side with green, white and black long sleeved shirts and three pairs of Nike Benassi sliders.
In 2021, they opened the year with another exciting collab, this time only featuring clothing. The capsule contained three upcycled insulated garments. With the same puffy characteristics of previous drops, they now opted for utilizing sustainable means to release a pullover hoodie/jacket, skirts, and trousers.
The design includes a green gradient graphic that resembles tie-dye techniques.
That same technique, later led to another Air Force 1 release, that incorporated five hand-dyed versions of the same silhouette. With exactly the same embroidery features of their previous Air Forces 1, now the main USP was the colourways.
The sneakers are coloured in California by Lookout & Wonderland, “an art practice bases in plat colour, medicine and fibre” said Stüssy on Instagram. Adding that “They are prepared in tannins, and slowly dyed with plants chosen for their colour and skin soothing medicinal properties. All natural dyes are ethically harvested”
The collection includes blue, green, purple, red and yellow. Each colour represents each of the Stüssy world tour cities.
For their latest association (and hopefully not the last), Nike and Stüssy revisited their first ever collaboration, and created the Nike Air Huarache “Desert Oak”, with the same colour palette as 2000. The hype for this shoe didn’t compare to the other releases, probably because the Huarache aren’t trending anymore, but the truth is that these are authentic OG’s in the sneaker game, and perhaps this was the first of many steps to bring back these classics.
Nike and Stüssy are undoubtedly shaping the latest trends, whilst building a streetwear collaborative empire. What is coming next we don’t know yet, but hopefully we will be allowed to line up in their London store to know.
By Alice Derrica