WORDS BY NERYS D’ESCLERCS
'The most exciting thing about brand collaborations is seeing them pushed outside of their comfort zones by collaborators,’ says Madison Hartman, director of social at sneaker expert boutique Stadium Goods. With unexpected details such as reverse Nike Swooshes, courtesy of Travis Scott, or double laces from Sacai, sneaker collaborations usually result in ultra-unique designs that you can only get if you’re fast enough — and know where to look. Here, Hartman presents the hottest drops that should be on your radar right now, all available to shop on FARFETCH.
A Ma Maniére x Air Jordan 3 ‘Raised By Women’
'My favourite sneaker of 2021 so far, hands down, is the A Ma Maniére x Air Jordan 3,’ says Hartman. ‘From the storytelling to the materials, I think it’s a perfect shoe.’ As a child, co-founder of A Ma Maniére James Whitner was given his first pair of Air Jordan 3s by his mother. As a homage to her, some words of wisdom in her original handwriting appear behind each heel tab. ‘Whitner’s elevated take on the Jordan 3, a classic silhouette, puts women front and centre,’ adds Hartman. ‘The combination of Whitner’s personal connection with luxury details creates a one-of-a-kind collab. I’m also a sucker for elevated fabrics like quilted silk and suede details.’
AMBUSH x Nike Dunk High Deep Royal
Founded in 2008 by design duo Yoon Ahn and Verbal, AMBUSH has graduated from jewellery line into ready-to-wear, offering elevated, contemporary pieces fit for the streetwear aficionado — think kimono-inspired jackets and patchwork sweatshirts, perfect to pair with their cult lighter case necklaces. The Tokyo-based brand has collaborated with Nike on several versions of the Dunk High sneaker — the latest is the ‘Deep Royal’ colourway, featured here.
'With the AMBUSH x Nike Dunk High, the Swoosh extends past the heel which is something entirely unique to the partnership,’ notes Hartman. ‘Nothing is more exciting to me — as a woman in the sneaker industry — than seeing designer Yoon Ahn releasing what is, in my opinion, the best Dunk collaboration of the past few years. Pushing the envelope of design, I hope to see Nike let AMBUSH get even weirder on their next joint venture.’
Travis Scott x Air Jordan 6 Retro British Khaki
'No collaborator has had a bigger impact on sneakers in the past five years than Travis Scott,’ says Hartman. The US rapper has put his name and creative energy to several hype collaborations recently – from coveted projects with Jordan and Nike to more unexpected ventures with Reese's Puffs and McDonald’s – creating sure-to-sell-out styles every time. This latest release features Scott’s Cactus Jack logo on the sole. ‘The British Khaki Air Jordan 6 Retro is another win from Cactus Jack, ticking several boxes that make it a must-have,’ adds Hartman. ‘2021 is the 30th anniversary of the Air Jordan 6 and British Khaki is perfectly on trend with its neutral tones.’
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Supreme x Nike SB Dunk Low Stars
'Few brands can stand up next to what Supreme and Nike have done together in almost 20 years of collaboration,’ says Hartman. The pair first joined forces in 2002 to offer the Supreme x Nike SB Dunk Low — the first time Nike had merged silhouettes usually distinct to basketball and skateboarding. Arguably one of the most-hyped sneakers ever, it also marked the start of an annual partnership that would produce something new and unexpected every year. ‘The release of the Stars pack — a homage to the 2003 Dunk Highs — gives fans another chance to get their hands on a piece of Supreme x Nike history.’
Sacai x Nike Blazer Low Classic Green
Sacai’s creative director, Chitose Abe, first worked with NikeLab in 2015 for a line of performance wear. Then, in 2019, the two brands collaborated on their first pair of Blazers, which went viral due to their double tongues, double swooshes and double laces. This layering is now a signature of the partnership, as seen on the 2021 Blazer Low pair. ‘The Blazer Low is already a perfect summer shoe, and remixing it with Sacai makes it all the more special,’ says Hartman. ‘An extremely wearable offering from the Nike x Sacai catalogue, these can be easily dressed up or down depending on your mood.’
Fragment x Nike Dunk High Beijing 2021
Nicknamed the ‘godfather of streetwear’, Fragment’s founder Hiroshi Fujiwara is a Japanese designer and musician, who has been active in the Tokyo district of Harajuku since street style emerged there. Originally released in 2010, the Fragment x Nike Dunk High Beijing was one of three iconic colourways designed to celebrate key global sneaker destinations (other cities highlighted were London and New York). ‘Hiroshi Fujiwara has long been one of the most beloved collaborators in sneakers and it was so exciting to see a new take on the Beijing Dunk from his 2010 City pack,’ says Hartman. ‘Even though it’s not the mismatched uppers of the original, the signature Fragment lightning bolt remains.’