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Virgil Abloh reveals the method behind his Nike sneaker collaborations

Words by Rob Chilton

Off-White and Louis Vuitton designer says a new hardback book is a “revealing lens” into his numerous partnerships with the sportswear giant

As a kid, Virgil Abloh was obsessed with sneakers, Nike and Michael Jordan – “he was Superman to me” he says. Abloh is still deeply attached to the brand, personally and professionally, and collaborated with Nike on reimagining 10 of the company’s most iconic shoe silhouettes.

Rare sneakers

“What we're talking about here is larger than sneakers, it’s larger than design culture,” says Abloh. “These 10 shoes have broken barriers in performance and style. To me, they are on the same level as a sculpture of David or the Mona Lisa. You can debate it all you want, but they mean something. And that's what's important.”

The book shows the history of Abloh's connection with Nike

Abloh and Nike’s relationship has been recorded in Icons, a new book by Taschen that reveals details of how the Off-White and Louis Vuitton designer created his portfolio of Nike shoes.

Photo by Fabien Montique Virgil Abloh loved Nike when he was growing up in Illinois

“The archive is the paper trail of those artefacts," explains Abloh. "The Icons book is, in a way, the only revealing lens to understand that the catalogue of the 50-plus Nike shoes I have designed are in my mind ‘one shoe.’ One story.”

Essential reading for sneakerheads

Icons is published by Taschen

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