Work kicked at 6 am sharp last Friday. By 10:30 am, some 4 and half hours later, Nike Sportswear at 21 Mercer Street went through a remarkable transformation. To usher in the new K.O.B.E. Collection (short for Knowledge, Originate, Battle, Elevate), and the much anticipated 3-brand collaboration for Black History Month, workers converted the store into 2 distinctive segments. The first half honors Kobe Bryant‘s achievements with a custom wallpaper that highlight each one of those accomplishments. Just a few feet over, all 4 issues of Black History Month – Nike Air Force 1, Air Jordan III (3), Nike Zoom Kobe VI, and CONVERSE Star Player EV, all on a wood carved table top. Inspired by African American artist Hale Woodruff’s wood carvings, icons symbolize the struggle and gradual acceptance of Blacks into the fold of American society are etched on the darkly stained wood. The story told might be an old one, the method is something quite new, however. No chisel or carving tools, instead, all was done with a laser etching machine. A few wooden shoe box under went the same process though they won’t be for sell but be raffle away at the end of the month.
Photography: Poe for Freshness