March may be widely regarded as the first month of spring and the end of the fashion week mania, but it also has another fashion calendar note: it’s Nike Air Max Month. The sports brand almost broke the internet when Vogue Arabia announced its Nike Pro Hijab launch, set to be on shelves in Spring 2018, and unveiled its first Middle Eastern campaign. Now, it rolls out a special initiative to reimagine the Nike Air trainer with the help of 12 streetwear innovators and designers (aptly labelled Revolutionairs). The Nike Air Max’s Vote Forward campaign marks the birthday of the iconic urbane sports shoe. Included in the fold is the creative director of Les Benjamins, Bünyamin Aydın – the only designer from the region to take part.
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Aydin set up his brand in 2011 and is based in Galata, Istanbul, where he’s leading the pack with zeitgeisty streetwear pieces. The designer headed to Nike’s HQ to reimagine the Airmax trainer with an Arabian twist. In a wearable mix of East meets West, Aydin designed the mudguard with silver pony hair, a fully translucent VaporMax tolling to accentuate the pattern, and decorated the upper, collar, and Swoosh with Turkish-rug inspired prints. Clever.
Nike enthusiasts can vote for their favorite design out of the 12, with the winner announced on March 26. The line-up of collaborators also includes Venus X from New York, Artemy Lebedev from Moscow, and Shangguan Zhe from Shanghai. It’s a further sign that the streetwear and sporting giant is taking its global role seriously, and seeking out talent beyond its initial spheres of clientele. When it comes to creating a diverse community, Nike is just doing it.