Collaborations have established itself to be an integral part of the consumer market today. While some collaborations are tried and true, many lack the zest and right components to yield exceptional results. Nike is no stranger to collaboration as 2009 marked an extensive and impressive portfolio of collaborative projects, each garnering its own devoted following. Some of the bigger collaborations of 2009 of course included the high profile Air Yeezys created with the help of musical whiz and paparazzi favorite, Kanye West, and fast forward to the end of the year, a rather expansive East versus West project which pit creative personalities from the east coast against those from the west.
Moving along in one of Nike's strongholds of collaborations, Nike Sportswear is kicking start Spring/Summer 2010 with a bang-- with the help of six highly respected artists in the contemporary culture from six different countries. The Six Collaborations with a "State of the Art" Twist is a football project falling in line to gear up for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Each artist will be producing a special football kit that puts a fun, relevant twist on the classic football kick for the fans. According to Jarret Reynolds, Nike Sportswear Apparel Design Director, the kits "would be the same color as on-field uniforms, but with the artists' twists". In terms of what would be included in the football kit, the items are true to football form and are things one would find in a footballer's bag. The run down includes the N98 Track Jacket (one of the focus items of Spring/Summer 2010), the AW77 hoodie, kit tee, polo shirt, shorts and tee (for men) or tank (for women). Other than apparel, there is also a selection of footwear including the Nike LunarLite Rejuven8 Mid, Air Max BW Gen II, Air Zoom Tiempo, Dunk Hi AC, Air Footscape Freemotion, and last but not least, the Nike Lunar Lite Chukkah Woven.
These items would of course be presented in respective team colors, but each artist will be producing decorative distinguishing elements such as mascots, patches, print and type for the added artistic touch. The roster of countries and corresponding artists are as follows: the USA will be represented by Los Angeles tattoo doyen, Mister Cartoon; England by graphic artist James Jarvis know for his playful illustrations and toy designs; Brazil by Nunca; Netherlands by graffiti artist Delta; France by So Me of the Cool Cats collective; and South Africa by Cape Town's emerging illustrator, Kronk Kronk.
Stay tuned for the football kit and get ready for the highly anticipated World Cup by getting out there to do some penalty kicks, or just don an awesome fan gear to do a couch rally.
Going a little deeper into the designs and inspiration of each artist and starting with USA, Mister Cartoon who is a long time collaborator of Nike decided to go with true blue American symbols for the mascot, the eagle. Mister Cartoon's eagle stays tough with a halo of stars and a look in his eyes which says "Don't mess with the U.S.". Aside from that, USA is written in Mister Cartoon's signature scroll-like font as seen on both his tattoo and commercial work.
On to England, James Jarvis reinterpreted the England crest by putting his own humorous twist on the national archetype. The heraldic lions are adorable with Jarvis' signature googly-eyed grin. The number "10" found on his work are representation of perfection as it is traditionally the number reserved for most beautiful players of the game.
For Brazil, Nunca takes inspiration from Incan symbolism and a primitive style of graffiti known as "Pixacao". The eye-like crest encompassed five stars symbolizing Brazil's five championship titles and his special hieroglyphic type connects the modern with the ancients.
Delta (also known as Boris Tellegen) from Netherlands is an avid football fan and takes his signature geometric prints and puts it on the mascot and crest. As a result, the mascot is a boxy figure and the crest a cubic puzzle of numbers. As for type, Delta's type are heavy, sturdy and everything blocky, but with a surprising agility portrayed through an italicized forwardiean.
With France, So Me takes his tongue-in-cheek style to the table and created a mascot out of the stereotypical Frenchmen-- one with a beret and a swirly mustache. The lining of the AW77 hoodie is a print of colored bricks in red, blue and black with So Me's bubbly rounded fonts.
Last but not least, South Africa's Kronk Kronk created a meticulously intricate embroidery crest with a bubble letter font, and a kaleidoscopic illustrated pattern for the lining of the AW77 hoodie.