A designer and artist by trade, Zhijun Wang‘s affinity for Nike Basketball sneakers, along with his penchant for unique creative projects and access to state-of-the-art tools, have all allowed him to create some truly dynamic sneaker customization in recent years. Though its Wang’s ability in utilizing his designs as a story telling medium, like his Air Force 1 “30th Anniversary & Year of Dragon” Gold Bespoke, that really set the Beijing-base creative type apart from his peers. This week, Wang finalized his latest work, the Nike Air Force 1 “AF1 Year of the Snake” Custom in celebrating the upcoming Year of the Snake.
According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Year of 2013 is the Year of the Snake. This was originated from the “Gui Si” Year in traditional Chinese Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches Calendar. “Gui” belongs to water in The Five Elements. Thus 2013 is also the year of the Water Snake.
Snake is also called “The Little Dragon” in Mandarin. As a continuation of the “Year of the Dragon”, the “Snake” AF1 was customized using traditional Chinese pyrography, combined with modern laser printing technique. Throughout the vamp is the serpentine pattern decorated by flipping water waves, matching the water waves beside the eyelets. The Chinese character “Snake” on the outside heel matches the pattern formed by Chinese characters “Gui Si” on the inside. Chinese characters “Two Zero” are on the left tongue with “One Three” on the right. On the crystal soles, wave patterns are painted in white, blending in with upper patterns.
Besides Sneaker, the designer has specially customized a cap and a tee as a set. The cap was made using a white New Era 5950 Snapback with lasered leather parts on it, while the T-shirt was printed using the silk screen printing.
For packaging, the case was made by Red Pine wood with mortise and tenon joints. The case has different compartments for shoes, cap and tee respectively. On the lid was the laser print of Chinese character patterns of “Gui Si” and “Snake”. Small pieces of magnet were used for easy opening and closing of the case.
The tags were made by white leather with lasered “Gui Si” and “Snake’ patterns as a match to the shoes. A complimentary pair of leather buckles with the ZJ DESIGN logo has made the whole set more complete.