Three students of the Hogeschool van Amsterdam have been working hard lately on a collaboration with none other than Nike. Aimée Adriaansen, Dyon Dijkman Dulkes and Stephanie Huisman followed the Minor Entrepreneurship and created a sneaker with the help of Patta founder: Edson Sabajo. For six weeks, they worked together to create a sneaker on the theme of diversity, resulting in a unique Nike by HvA Air Max 90. We interviewed the students about their cooperation.
Nike by HvA Project
How did the collaboration with Nike begin?
Aimée: "In February, the Entrepreneurship Minor at the HvA started. Later that month it was announced that 'special coach' Edson Sabajo, co-founder of Patta, would coach a number of people. Dyon, Stephanie and I were chosen by Edson. In April, Edson was approached by Nike with the idea of bringing out a sneaker in collaboration with the HvA, under his guidance. We were given the great honour of carrying out this project. We are incredibly grateful to Edson for giving us this opportunity."
What was the division of roles during the process?
"Our tasks were mostly the same during the process. We got to design the sneaker and decide which colours to put on which parts. We were also allowed to work with an agency called Gowtu. They helped us enormously with the message of the shoe, i.e. the storytelling. They also helped with the campaign. We came up with a few ideas for this, which Gowtu then translated into concrete plans. So we actually did everything together." Dyon explains.
"Ignorance is fought with education. By educating yourself and others and by engaging in conversation with each other, you can learn an incredible amount from each other and ultimately grow together."
Nike by HvA ontwerp
What is the idea and the message behind the design?
"With the Nike by HvA sneaker, we wanted to share a story that would concern all 46,000 HvA students. The three of us quickly agreed that we wanted to do something with the diversity of all students. Every student has their own background, talents and wishes and we can learn so much from each other," says Aimée.
Dyon continues about the message: "The subject of diversity is extremely broad, which is why we have focused on ignorance concerning cultural and social diversity within this subject. The problem of ignorance is that people do not feel understood, but also that one can (un)intentionally hurt others. Ignorance is combated with education. By educating yourself and others and by engaging in conversation with each other, you can learn an incredible amount from each other and ultimately grow together."
Why was the Air Max 90 model chosen?
Stephanie explains that they actually only had two options: "We could choose between the Air Max 95 and the Air Max 90. I noticed that I myself preferred the AM90. The model is a nice chunky shoe with a strong history. In addition, the AM90 gave us more options in terms of colours and materials, which is why we ultimately chose this model. In addition, the AM90 has a history within the Netherlands in our Gabber culture."
Why were these colours chosen?
The colours on the Nike by HvA AM90 each have a special meaning, the inspiration being the demonstrations in Amsterdam that address inequality. During these demonstrations, people make themselves heard and want to teach others something. For example, last year's Black Lives Matter demonstration on the Dam Square.
Stephanie explains that the brown on the shoe is based on the cardboard protest signs that often have black felt-tip text on them, which is echoed on the black swoosh. The bright red accent on the front is of course a nod to Amsterdam. Homebase for the university, but also the place where the design originated.
What does "Not Knowing = Not Growing" mean to you personally?
Aimée begins: "If you don't learn about each other, you can't grow together. By learning about cultural and social diversity, there is more understanding for each other. This can lead to beautiful things. By learning together you can also grow as a person."
Stephanie concurs. "I find these such strong words. With knowledge you get more insights, you can grow and you don't stay in one place. There is always room for improvement. Knowledge is power."
Dyon concludes: "Not knowing = not growing means to me that the moment you don't know something and don't change it, you won't grow as a person. You have to be open to learn things in order to grow as a person."
Is there anything you would like to change about the sneaker or collaboration afterwards?
All three students say they do not want to change anything in the sneaker, they are very satisfied with it. Yet Dyon admits that he would have liked more freedom during the design process. "I would have chosen more durable materials, we would also have wanted to do something with the insole of the shoe. I would also have liked to have YES on one shoe and BUT on the other. This is something you hear a lot when it comes to ignorance. We have translated this into a t-shirt that we have for sale on our websites. This t-shirt has ignorant quotes on the back that you often hear, such as "yes but, I didn't mean it like that".
In addition, Aimée would have liked to work together with Nike more often in the head office in Hilversum. Unfortunately, this was not possible due to all the measures concerning COVID-19.
Point of Pride
What are you most proud of?
Stephanie is most proud of the message: "While we were sparring about diversity and the message we wanted to convey, one word immediately came to mind: Ignorance. I immediately shared it with the group. The fact that it ultimately became the main focus of the entire project, yes, that does feel very special."
Dyon is most proud of the campaign shot with the shoe. "It looks so sick professional and the story is absolutely right. It's just complete and I'm incredibly proud of that. We've really put something out there."
Aimée is most proud of the project as a whole that they have created together. "The cooperation between the three of us was very nice. I think it is special that we agreed on the design together and that it went very smoothly. We didn't argue about different designs or anything like that, haha. When we made this design, all three of us were like: yes, this is it. We still have that feeling, even now that we have the Nike by HvA Air Max 90 on our feet."
The students cannot express how grateful they are to have been able to work with such a large organisation as Nike. They are extremely grateful to Edson for this opportunity and it is something they can look back on with pride for the rest of their lives.
Looking to the Future
Do you want to do more with sneakers in the future?
Sneakers are an outlet for Dyon. "I've had a thing for sneakers since I was a kid and always wanted the craziest pairs. I remember hunting for the Jeremy Scott wings and my first real sneaker was also a Nike Air Max 90 from the black market. I still don't know if they were real or not, but to me they were the hardest sneakers. Neon yellow with neon purple, I remember it very well. In the future I would like to design my own sneaker from scratch with my own brand, Components Studios."
For Stephanie, sneakers mean a lot. "I have always preferred sneakers. They complete my outfit and make me feel self-confident. I also work in my own company RE.STUDIOS, with Nike textiles. I make new cool interior items such as cushions and stools from existing Nike items. So I already felt an affinity with Nike, so this collaboration was a dream come true."
Aimée is already working on it: "At the moment I am working on my own sneaker, which I will have produced sustainably in Portugal under the name AIMÉE AIMÉE, designing. I am also in talks with other brands to create sneakers for them. Unfortunately I can't tell you more about this yet… But stay tuned."
The Nike by HvA project Air Max 90 is available now via Nike. Also be sure to follow Stephanie (@stephaniedhuisman), Dyon (@dyon.dijkman) and Aimée (@takeyouraim__) on Instagram. We are sure that we will hear a lot more from these creative people in the future. Check out the socials of Sneakerjagers at Instagram (@sneakerjagers & @sneakerjagers_wmns), Facebook (@sneakerjagers) and Twitter (@sneakerjagers) to always stay up to date with the latest sneaker news.