Ahead of the 2021 Olympics beginning next week in Tokyo, Japan, Nike is introducing its largest designer collaboration yet. The brand has partnered with four high-end streetwear brands to create unique collections inspired by athleticism and Japanese culture: Sacai, Ambush, Off-White, and Undercover. Each of the brand’s designers have crafted individual lines with unique themes related to athletic style and the world of sports.
Off-White, the first collection launching this summer, focuses on the apparel of spectators and fans at sporting events. Virgil Abloh created various pieces with his own futuristic spin, mixing practical dressing and athletic uniforms. A sustainably short-sleeve top features graffiti-like dotted prints, repeated on a reversible crop top and tight shorts. There are also pieces that are more reminiscent of Abloh’s utilitarian designs for Off-White, such as layered shorts, logo-lined socks, and a pair of paneled drawstring pants.
Ambush’s designs, meanwhile, take specific inspiration from Tokyo’s bright lights, motorcycle and anime cultures. Yoon Ambush added streetwear elements to sporty pieces, like a crop top and T-shirt that feature color-blocking with black, pink and light green hues. A motorcycle jacket and pants are given a paneled treatment in the same colors. Ambush also created a padded vest and cap with a detachable neck flap, reminiscent of subcultural fashion pieces that are both surreal and practical. Ambush is also one of the few designers to create a shoe for the collection, revamping Nike’s Dunk High sneakers in a vibrant lime green with bike pipe-inspired logos extending beyond the pair’s heels.
On a related note, Sacai’s collection is based on themes of competition and motion. Chitose Abe — who recently debuted her first couture collection for Jean Paul Gaultier — crafted an array of athletic pieces like leggings, T-shirts, hoodies, and crop tops in cool tones of black and grey. Her collection boasts technical details like snap buttons and mixed textiles. There are also polyester midi skirts, hooded bomber jackets, and lightweight fleece pants that are given a modern treatment with elements like pleating, layered fabrics, and woven belts.
While Undercover’s line hasn’t been revealed online yet, the brand incorporated elements of basketball culture for its’ collection. Jun Takahashi’s main inspiration was Japanese streetball — an informal game of outdoor basketball — spotted through red and dark blue jerseys, leggings, and color-blocked shorts in his Nike campaign.
Together, Nike’s multi-designer collection showcases sports with references to numerous parts of athletic competitions and Japanese culture. Ranging from $30-$500, the full collections will be released throughout the summer, with Abloh’s debuting first on July 23, the first day of the Olympics. Undercover and Ambush’s will respectively launch on July 28 and 30, with Sacai’s line dropping on August 4.
You can preview the new Nike designer collections prior to their launch dates on Nike.com.