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Nike Cortez AN ICON: "A Day with Cortez in Beijing" | Featuring Tian Yuan & Ritchie

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Conventional wisdom states that an heirloom of great value is to be stored away for future prosperity. However, that philosophy does not apply to Nike and its most iconic design, the Nike Cortez. Before the Air Maxes and Air Force 1's, the Jordans and the Foamposites, there was the Cortez, Nike's first-ever shoe.  While Nike Air wasn't feasible at the time, and Bill Bowerman had yet to "invent" the waffle sole, the Cortez already pushed the innovation envelope a bit with its nylon upper.  In a bold move of posturing, the then-startup promised the Cortez would last up to 3000 miles, a claim unheard of at the time, and a legend was born. 40 years later, Nike's original trainer is still making strides, but now in China, the land of the dragon.

To mark this milestone, Nike asked creative types Tian Yuan & Ritchie of Beijing to participate in a celebratory project, where images of their daily lives were compiled by a photographer simply known as 223.

Tian Yuan
While she constantly creates new tags for herself, there is one tag that defines all that she does. This is the icon for young Chinese everywhere. From singing and writing, to acting and directing, Tian Yuan attracts attention with her characteristic energy and creativity. Her down to earth and amiable nature makes her a most gracious icon.

The first impression of Ritchie will be his trademark glasses with one round and one square lens. But beyond this, you will be impressed by this up-and-coming fashionista with great idea and vision. He has built up Triple-Major, his concept boutique and fashion label, which aims to reinvent how we think about fashion by constantly searching for new progressive designers all over the world. He has also taken Triple-Major to cities around the world with his temporary nomad store. All this and he is only just turned 25 years old.

The main reason that China's youth culture comes to life so vibrantly in front of his camera is because he is also an active part of it. Working for more than five years he has maintained the style and sensibility that made him stand out from the start to become one the countries most recognised photographers. He keeps on pushing himself to create exciting new work without fear of failure.