With two more days to go before its official launch, Nike and its team at the NikeLab retail concept finally unveiled the much anticipated return of Nike All Conditions Gear.
Commonly known as Nike ACG, the collection first appeared as early as 1981, though it wasn’t consolidated into a sub-line category till 1989. Though it took on cult-like status among urbanites almost immediately, Nike ACG only attracted some attentions from the general consuming public. This was due to the fact that the notion of “sportswear” or “athletic lifestyle” were concepts still quite foreign. Simply put it, Nike ACG was ahead of its time. After a long period of quasi-hiatus, the Nike ACG will be relaunch once again, more than 30 years to the day, under the NikeLab brand umbrella.
Renamed as NikeLab ACG, the new line will again focus on its original core customers, urbanites in the need of dependable and functional gears for all conditions. In reaching those goals, the design team behind NikeLab ACG, which includes Nike veteran Matthew Millward and Berlin-based designer Errolson Hugh, best known for his ACRONYM outerwear label, created a collection this is utilitarian by design and minimal by style, in the forms of:
+ NikeLab ACG 2-in-1 Jacket + NikeLab ACG Tech Fleece Pants + NikeLab ACG Tech Fleece Funnel Sweatshirt + NikeLab ACG Pocket Tee + NikeLab ACG Flyknit Trainer Chukka SFB + NikeLab ACG LunarTerra Arktos + NikeLab ACG Responder Backpack
All of which will be available starting this Thursday, December 18th, at NikeLab retail locations such as NikeLab 21 Mercer NYC, NikeLab DSM NYC, Niketown New York, NikeLab 1948 LDN, NikeLab DSM LDN, NikeLab P75 Paris, NikeLab LNZ1 Milan and NikeLab DSM Ginza in Tokyo. The collection will also be available online through Nike.com/NikeLab
NikeLab Presents ACG: Defining Sport Utility for the City
Born more than 30 years ago to provide dependable protection and performance in all conditions, Nike ACG is reborn as NikeLab ACG in 2014 to deliver sport utility for the city. Spanning outerwear, footwear and portable storage, the collection is designed to meet the demands for mobility and weather protection in any urban setting.
Representing the future of sport style innovation, ACG marries pioneering materials such as Nike Tech Fleece, Nike Dri-FIT Wool and Nike Flyknit with the Berlin-based designer Errolson Hugh’s knowledge of fit, apparel construction and the functionality needed for everyday life. Hugh is the co-founder of Acronym®, an independent design agency focused on the unification of style and technology in apparel. Working together, Hugh and Nike designers reassessed contemporary athletic needs by challenging convention. Through mutual learning, the team created elegant solutions for complex problems.
“Our question was, what can we build with ACG that no one else can build?” Hugh says. “How do we ensure, beyond being technically superb, that this is distinctively Nike? We came back to athleticism, and the athlete being at Nike's core. Setting the athlete down in the center of the urban landscape really brought it all home for us.”
All Conditions Fit For the ACG collection, Hugh and the Nike design team developed the “all conditions fit,” a structure built to encourage readiness, both mentally and physically, and minimize restriction.
“Specifically looking at athletes, there’s a stance that’s universal to all sports. In martial arts it’s often called the ‘ready’ or ‘neutral’ stance, and it’s a precursor to just about any type of movement,” says Hugh, a martial arts enthusiast.
“Your center of gravity is neutral, but it’s dropped. Your ankles, knees and elbows are bent. You’re in a kind of half-crouch, but you’re looking forwards.”
The team then developed the fit block based on this stance. The fit block is akin to a chassis in a car. It is the foundation on which everything is built.
“For ACG, we drafted the fit block with that posture rather than the typical straight-limbed static one,” Hugh says. “Readiness is physically encoded into the silhouette of the collection. We call it the all conditions fit because it suggests the ability to transition to any movement and to any situation.”
Every detail in the collection was considered, from the range of motion a jacket or pants provide to the placement of pockets and their ability to store items such as cell phones, laptops and notebooks.
“We needed to ensure that the silhouette serves the needs of the urban athlete and, more importantly, that movement of the body is never restricted,” says Matthew Millward, Nike Senior Design Director. “Bulky items are hidden and kept close to the body, securely stowed. The head-to-toe look should always remain clean by keeping design lines continuous and simple.”
The Ultimate Landscape For today’s athletes, the city is the ultimate landscape. It is a worthy maze, rife with modern obstacles. These include walking, biking, climbing stairs and jockeying for a cab. City microclimates are equally as diverse. Throughout the day, the typical urbanite navigates between crowded and humid subways, windy bridges, exposed streets, temperate work environments, and intimate and warm social settings. While the ACG collection protects against the most extreme wind and rain, it also offers flexibility to move between climates. The collection’s layering attributes allow the wearer to gear up or down to match the environment. For example, the wearer can easily remove or add the outer shell of the NikeLab ACG 2 in 1 Men’s Jacket.
“The collection considers the way individuals interact and pass through a city for their day-to-day business,” Millward says. “It’s also designed to protect these individuals from every type of weather.”
Form Meets Function The utilitarian premise of the collection demands that each piece stand up as well flying across a bridge on a bicycle as it would aesthetically. Engineered around movement, the architectural silhouettes have an innate elegance. Paired with a dark color palette and reflective logos, the collection transitions between muted and more visible as needed.
“While we needed to make something that doesn't restrict your movement at all, we also didn’t want that to have any negative impact visually,” Hugh says. “It shouldn't look strange. It has to be presentable, civilized, stylish. But form is never divorced from function. It’s easy to make something look really good. It's very hard to make it look good and move well.”
The new collection enables the body in motion and conceals the tools of urban life to remain minimal, clean and architecturally sculpted. Movement and comfort are paramount.