Nike Reveals the Process Behind the Doernbecher Freestyle Collection - Freshness Mag

Nike Reveals the Process Behind the Doernbecher Freestyle Collection

A timeline of the long-running project
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Image via: Nike

Image via: Nike

Back in 2003, Michael Doherty, Nike's Creative Director, Global Brand Presentation, had joined the board at the OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital Foundation and was seeking to raise awareness of the hospital. His son Connor suggested engaging the imagination of the hospital's young patients by having them design their own Nike sneakers, and the Doernbecher Freestyle program was born. For 2016, the Doernbecher Freestyle patient-designers are Corwin Carr (12), Andy Grass (11), Chehayla Hyatt (10), Damien Phillips (10), Braylin Soon (10) and Chase Swearingen (14). 

Ahead of the 2106 collection's launch, Nike has pulled back the curtains on the process behind the project. 

Damien Phillips with Nike designers Jen Takekawa (Left) and Rachel Stewart (Right)

Damien Phillips with Nike designers Jen Takekawa (Left) and Rachel Stewart (Right)

December 2015: Nominations for the Doernbecher Freestyle program are submitted by OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital, kicking off the 11-month process.

February 2016: OHSU Doernbecher delivers its list of six select patient-designers to Nike. From there, Nike taps its team for volunteers across footwear design, apparel design and product development.

Corwin Carr with Nike designers George Chiou (Left) and David Nickless (Right)

Corwin Carr with Nike designers George Chiou (Left) and David Nickless (Right)

March 2016: The Nike design team meets with the kids at the hospital for the first time. There, the designers give each kid blank line art of different types of clothes to sketch out their initial ideas.

April 2016: The patient-designers and Nike reconvene at Nike HQ to begin refining their vision. As Nike doesn’t script the interactions, the amount of meetings they have is completely up to the kids and their families.

Cheheyla Hyatt with Nike designers

Cheheyla Hyatt with Nike designers

June 2016: The names of the six patient-designers are announced to the public, midway through the all-encompassing design and production process.

September 2016: The designs are finalized, and each patient-designer gets a first look at the product.

Andy Grass with Nike designer Anum Malik

Andy Grass with Nike designer Anum Malik

October 2016: Nike and the patient-designers are days away from revealing their one-of-a-kind collections to the public. On October 28, Nike and OHSU Doernbecher will host the Doernbecher Freestyle XIII unveiling and auction at the Portland Art Museum.