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Freshness Feature: Year of The Dog AF1

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Produced by kookiesWritten by and photos by kookies Additional images provided by: The designers of the Year of the Dog AF1

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The Year of the Dog Nike Air Force 1 was released not too long ago. I was very lucky and got a chance to talk to the designers of the sneaker. The team of three, have done many projects with Nike in the past, which include the; Nike Dunk Low SB (Shanghai), Nike Dunk Low SB (Shanghai Steamer), Year of the Phoenix Nike Air Force 1 Low, and many others.

> Details shots of Year of the Dog AF1 in The Freshness Gallery

M:Mike (kookies) D:The Designers

M: It's a great pleasure to get to speak with you today, firstly why don't you tell us a little about yourself? What got you into designing? Where are you from? Etc...

D1: Himm - from Shanghai I'm the creator and owner of Shanghai's Urban Magazine ( It is the 1st local street fashion magazine in China. I'm also a graffiti artist and illustrator

*Note* Himm is also one of the hip hop culture leader here in China, has been taking participation in almost all the hip hop events here in China.

D2: PK - from Shanghai I am Runyo's university roommate, and I majored in art design and fashion design.

Runyo: PK has always been playing a very important role, he helped Runyo on most his homework in the university and helped him to graduated from university in the past. Also he is the senior talent designer in his own design company called LC Advertising. As a creative director, and owner I have done all sorts of commercial design, such as Miss Sixty website, Adidas original website, Sony China website etc.

D3: Runyo - from Shanghai Like I mentioned before, I am PK's university roommate from the beginning of University. I am Nike's sport culture PLM, Nike China's footwear marketing, doing all the casual footwear line for Nike China. Previous works that I've participated in have included the design of the Shanghai Dunk, Xiao Long Dunk, and some of the Chinese New Year Air Force 1s.

M:So the past projects have had a specific theme to it, e.g. Shanghai Dunk Low (Steamer) had a theme of the Chinese steamer. What kind of theme does the Year of the Dog Air Force 1 have?

Runyo/PK: For the shanghai series like the Shanghai Dunk and Xiao Long Dunk (steamer), the theme behind it is antique architecture and Chinese traditional foods, which are some of the elements that Shanghai/China is famous for. At first for the Year of The Dog Air Force 1, we just wanted to make something really different from the past Chinese New Year sneakers (those I have worked on include the monkey and phoenix AF1). The Year of The Dog Air Force 1's theme is mostly about the Tibetan mastiff dog, we also used some other elements from the Tibetan culture, including their color, and their environment. The key concept behind the sneaker is the environment protection, which is better explained in the pictures below.

M:It appears that there are two versions of the Year of the Dog Air Force 1's, why were there two versions? And did you and your team design both of them?

Runyo: Yes, PK and I designed both of them; of course we got good comments from Himm as well. The reason why there is two version of the shoe is because we wanted to make one "crazy" sneaker, and to me I think its better to make a more commercial version to make the shoe not too different from the past couple Chinese new year Air Force 1s (e.g. Monkey, Phoenix), also to make it available to more appealing to consumers .

M:There's a Chinese character on the sneaker, what does it stand for?

PK: The shoe's theme is about the Tibetan mastiff dog, the logo is the Chinese character of "mastiff dog" in Chinese. Since it is a Tibetan inspired sneaker we just make it the font a bit more Tibetan-themed. The logo is designed by another talented designer, James (from Shanghai), which is one of my (PK) friends.

M: Where do your inspirations come from?

Runyo/PK: The inspiration came from Tibet for sure, the Tibetan mastiff dog is already a legend, and famous for its royalty and wild/fierce attitude. The sneaker's inspiration also came from all the colors and elements of Tibet. For example all the jewelry and the uniform's which monk's wear, and the patterns on the shoes are from the pillar in Tibetan temples.

M: Which sneaker was designed first? The Hyperstrike version or the Quickstrike version?

PK: The Hyperstrike version was designed first (tier 0 version), then we make a "take down" version which was a more commercial version.

M: Other than designing sneakers, what other design work do you do? Clothing? Web Design?

Himm: As mentioned before I am the owner of China's first streetwear magazine Urban. I help giving input here and there for Runyo, and PK when they design certain sneakers.

PK: I am the owner of an advertising company called LC company. I have done many web designs for large companies like Sony, Miss Sixty, and Adidas original.

Himm: We are currently in the process of making tee shirts. The brand is called HRPK, H is for Himm, R for unyo (the middle man/middle word, which linked Himm and PK), PK is PK.

M:So you have your own clothing line, what kind of clothing do you produce? Other than getting it free from you *laughs*, where else can I purchase it?

Himm: Best Chinese slogan t-shirts which are inspired by the rich Chinese Street Culture. Although it is still in its sampling stage right now, we will put them in selected shop in China and overseas, other than stores it will also be available on sneaker websites as well as others like

M: It was a pleasure to speak with you today, any shout outs? People you'd like to thank?

Runyo: Nike for sure, we couldn't of made anything happen without this premium brand. Nike China and SB team , too many people to mention here: don't want to miss anyone in list, so I just say thank you to Nike. Also would like to thank all the talented artist we have been connecting with, Tayui Marcus, SIC (talent girl from Guangzhou), James, Sneakerpimps, Jimmy. And the CLOT family !