Nike Sportswear: The Story of the N.354 Collection
Combining archival aesthetics with Nike’s evolutionary design language, the sportswear pioneer’s 2019 launched N.354 project was established alongside both the D/MS/X and THE10TH collection as a means of celebrating prototypical constructions with respect to Nike’s contemporary and youth-facing sportswear label.
Representative of blue-print formulations when it comes to constructing prototypical footwear designs, the N.354 project celebrates the trials and tribulations of the creative process; expressing how even though one idea may not work initially, it is still an important part of the end-product’s evolutionary process. An ode to deconstructed aesthetics pays homage to mistakes and mishaps, with exposed detailings and DIY exposures representing creative expression and authenticity in its rawest form. Inspired by American athlete Steve Prefontain’s fastest mile, timed at 3:54:6 in 1973, the N.354 collection namesake has since seen itself embellished across many archival remasterings including the ‘80s revived Nike Squash Type, the Nike Air Zoom-Type, the Nike Air Force 1 Experimental and the soon-to-be-released Nike Offline 2.0 remastered slip-ons.
Designed in honour of co-founder Bill Bowerman’s time spent serving within the Tenth Mountain Division of the US Army, the accompanying THE10TH project takes pride in honouring rugged details with response to the challenges formulated by the great outdoors. Popularised by designs such as the tech-led Nike React Sertu and the 2019 released Nike React Ianga, Nike’s THE10TH line hosts subtle similarities to their rigorous ACG line in means of explorative comfort influenced by all-season functionality and expedition fundamentals. Inspired by niche areas within sports and by conceptual contrives, Nike’s D/MS/X (a.k.a DIMSIX) collection ‘rebels against standard design proportions and pushes the boundaries of what's acceptable’. Calling back to the ‘maverick hustle’ of Nike’s unapologetic sport-subverting ambitions, designs such as the ultra-modern Nike React Vision takes continual inspiration from archetypal foundations such as Mexico City’s famous Casa Gilardi and Alebrijes folk-lore, whilst Nike DNA infused silhouettes such as the Nike D/MS/X Waffle processes experimentation with respect to evolutionary appeal.
Futuristic and reinterpretted; Nike’s new year SS21 D/MS/X and N.354 collections focus on two unique silhouettes with reference to the brand’s advancing Move to Zero protect the future of sport initiative - the reimagined Nike D/MS/X Waffle and the returning Nike Daybreak Type. Best detailed as an ultra-modern take on an archival BRS running classic, the smoke-grey and mean-green colourings bring refreshing overlays to the D/MS/X Waffle’s eco-consciously crafted design. Ingeniously manufactured utilising at least 20% recycled materials and relying on Nike Grind accents across its iconic Waffle outsole for reinforced stability, the sustainably sourced new-season D/MS/X Waffle fuses dimension with demand to curate a concealment of the brand’s innovative and all-together masterful design style. Subtle but effective enduring canvas is locked-in via marbleised TPU-clip bracings, whilst intricate perforations, cushioning and exposed-foam detailings honour Bowerman’s early-year advancements with reference to Nike’s influential future.
Earthier in tone than its mean-green counterpart, the TPU-carved D/MS/X constructs a reliable and responsible day-on-day wear that hosts subtle references to archival designs such as the Blue Ribbon Sports exclusive Challenger OG and ‘88 Nike Air Flow. A 50% recycled PU composure answers Nike Sportswear’s evolutionary Move to Zero commitment to ecological advancement, while the whole premise of the ‘DIMSIX’ collection remains true to its boundary-pushing modus operandi. Loyalties to city settings and off-track demands keep the futuristic and contoured design on its toes, whilst its split-fabric quarters, modernised Waffle outsole and reinforced restraints pair heritage aesthetics with a noted commitment to curating a future classic.
Expanding the N.354 collection for 2021, the Nike Daybreak Type adds a distinctly modern look to an early Bowerman prototype. With avid reference to its ‘79 profiled Daybreak lineage, Nike’s latest environmentally-mindful release comes full circle to celebrate track-and-field legacy in regards to the collections “Pre" Prefontaine eponym. Much like the D/MS/X Waffle, the highly anticipated new-era Nike Daybreak Type utilises the inclusion of 20% recycled materials to their advantage, whilst the design’s foam-wedge midsole, exaggerated stitchings and deconstructed DIY exterior pay homage to BRS blue-prints and Nike’s loyalty to its athletic cross-generational heritage.
Available in either earthy shades of rugged-orange and monarch or brushed photon-dust, the SS21 Nike Daybreak Types find themselves well-placed as part of Nike’s zero carbon, zero waste campaign. Well-built to meet the needs of sports-led lifestyles thanks to its ingenious Nike Grind underfoot tread and bracings, the mixed-material and patchwork-styled Daybreak Type continues to serve conceptual creativity as inspired by the late Bill Bowerman.
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