Billie Eilish’s unique approach to self-expression balances a progressive contemporary perspective with a heartfelt respect for the classics. Given a chance to work on some of her favorite Nike silhouettes — including the Air Force 1 — she’s reimagined them with an eye to environmentally preferred materials and a universal color palette.
“The challenge and opportunity with this collection was to respect the originals, but make them my own,” says Eilish. “It was also important for me to mix in environmentally preferred materials where we could and present them in a way that felt fresh.”
For the AF1, Eilish chose a synthetic nubuck material, which uses 80% recycled materials, for a super soft look and feel. Her signature oversized style is emphasized through the shoe’s chunky midfoot straps, an element inspired by two other Nike classics, the Alpha Force Low and Air Trainer 3. These straps cover the shoe’s laces and are finished with tabs that mirror the Nike Grind midsole. The full package is complete with a striking but simple tonal mushroom color.
The mushroom color scheme extends to the Nike x Billie Apparel Collection — hoodie, sweatpants and T-shirt. All three garments follow Eilish’s signature oversized style and are embellished with subtle silicone “Billie Eilish” graphics.
The Nike Air Force 1 Billie and related apparel release April 25 globally on SNKRS.
For many years Nike and Kobe Bryant worked together to inspire fans around the globe. With Nike, Bryant left a game-changing lineage of basketball shoes and embraced opportunities to spread his love of sport from Greater China to North America. More than two years after Bryant’s passing, his legacy, on and off the court, continues to resonate.
Today, Nike is pleased to announce a new chapter of collaborating with the Bryant family. In partnership with Vanessa Bryant, the collaboration will inspire a new generation of athletes and encourage youth participation in sport.
“Kobe Bryant means so much to so many of us, not just NBA fans but globally beyond the game,” says John Donahoe, President & CEO, NIKE, Inc. “His impact in growing the sport, particularly encouraging women and young people to pick it up, endures as one of his deepest, lasting legacies. Together with Vanessa, we hope to honor Kobe and Gigi by championing a new generation for many years to come.”
The first new Kobe release, the Kobe 6 Protro “Mambacita Sweet 16” will honor Gigi Bryant. All proceeds from the shoe will benefit the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation. Release information will be shared at a later date.
“I am happy to announce that we will continue my husband’s legacy with Nike and look forward to expanding his and Gigi’s global impact by sharing the Mamba Mentality with youth athletes for generations to come,” says Vanessa Bryant.
As part of the new partnership, Vanessa and Nike will work together to establish a youth basketball center in Southern California and Nike and the Bryant family will continue to outfit the NBA and WNBA athletes who carry the legacy of the Mamba Mentality.
Nike has always been honored to partner with athletes who share its belief that sport can break barriers, push limits, spark change and contribute to creating a more equitable future. Now, Nike’s U.S.–based partnerships include college student athletes, beginning with Reilyn Turner.
Turner, a sophomore forward on the UCLA women’s soccer team, is last year’s Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and a top scorer for the Bruins, finishing this season with 10 goals, including a hat trick in September. Her skills on the field are matched by her passion to give back off the pitch. Turner acknowledges the doors that soccer has opened for her, and she wants to give those same opportunities to local girls and boys, helping them get active, pursue their dreams and reach their highest potential. That’s Nike’s mission too. As part of Turner’s sponsorship, Nike and Turner will team up to work with Los Angeles–based community partners.
“As a Black woman and Mexican American, I think about those who have paved the way for me and how they used their platforms to create so much change, even beyond sport,” says Turner. “I hope to be a role model for those around me and those after me, and I’m so excited to be a part of what Nike is bringing to the future of women’s sport.”
Nike’s agreements with college student athletes in the United States will include an element that connects back to their local communities. Because the impact of sport goes beyond competition and success — it’s also about the changes you can make to give everyone an opportunity for a more level playing field. Or, as Turner puts it, “Whether it’s the community you grow up with or the community you grow into, there’s so much positive impact that can come from how they influence you and how you influence them.”
In 2019, Nike and Serena Williams partnered to create the Serena Williams Design Crew (SWDC), an apprenticeship program to promote diversity in design. It brought together 10 talented designers from New York City, each specializing in their own discipline, and tasked them with creating a Serena-inspired women’s performance and lifestyle collection spanning footwear, apparel and accessories — which they’re now ready to unveil.
While the product is the culmination of a six-month design curriculum at Nike, the vision proposed by SWDC — that diversity fosters creativity and inclusion goes hand in hand with innovation — is just beginning. A second year of the program, this time with 11 Chicago-area apprentices, is currently underway.
Below, four Nike leaders dive into SWDC’s unique and foundational principles for the brand. They explain how SWDC was born in collaboration with Serena, why curiosity and empathy are integral to design, and how this program illustrates the ways in which Nike is advancing diversity across the industry and beyond.
Sparking Design Innovation through Diversity
John Hoke: How would I describe the program? It’s another step forward that Nike is taking to make the world a better place. It’s a plan to make the composition of our company more closely reflect that of our athletes and the communities we serve.
Jonathan Johnsongriffin: I think the program is an innovation platform. Diversity creates more thoughtful solutions. It’s the catalyst to innovation in fostering creativity and inclusion for all athletes. And I think, working back with Jarvis, with Tania, with John, and specifically Serena Williams, this is an opportunity for us to be innovative in new spaces.
Jarvis Sam: Two words you said, JJG: catalyst and innovation. What SWDC has taught us is, how can we incubate game-changing ideas for the industry? From a talent-innovation perspective, it forces us, and then other companies in similarly situated industries, to rethink where talent pipelines come from. And as a catalyst for the company, it inspires us to work with great talent from all walks of life.
Jonathan Johnsongriffin: I’d echo what Jarvis said around the industry. This is industry-defining. I remember a conversation I had with Serena, and she asked, “Has anyone done this?” And I said, “Quite honestly, no.” You could feel the spirit, the energy coming from Serena in that conversation.
Tania Flynn: We tend to say that diversity creates empathy, empathy creates curiosity, curiosity leads to innovation. When you gather a diverse group — a team of creatives who bring their talent, their stories, their experiences to the table — it creates a unique experience not only for the designers, but for everyone they interact with.
Creating Authentic Collaboration
Jonathan Johnsongriffin: Serena has been so committed to the program. She wants to meet each apprentice. She wants to see their portfolios. She wants to be a part of the briefing of the product. She wants to be a part of the design reviews.
Tania Flynn: When you talk about her being involved in every part of the process — even her design vocabulary is sharp. She’s like, “We don’t have enough silhouette differentiation. Can we go back and think about something else?” That shows where her head is at, how invested she is in the success of the team and the line.
Jarvis Sam: “Authenticity” is not a buzzword here. When you think about Serena Williams as a person and a player, you think resilience, grit, perseverance. Those are the same characteristics that we see in the apprentices.
John Hoke: And those words were the principles that shaped the program. When our first cohort graduated, we told them how proud we were of their creative resilience. They proved they could do this while navigating sweeping social justice movements along with a pandemic. It reminded me how much the human spirit is capable of overcoming, only to emerge reflecting a ton of grace, a ton of resilience. I feel like that is a principle of the program that only grows sharper as we head into year two.
Building a Stronger Community
John Hoke: Sports are a conduit to attributes that make the world better. Sports fuel self-empowerment, confidence, kindness and connection. That means every program we create, whether SWDC or Women in Nike, and every product we create, like Nike GO FlyEase and Victory Swim, are all connected in their nature of empathy. That’s a way we can open the aperture up and have an even deeper impact when it comes to designing for all athletes.
Tania Flynn: In where we are as a society right now, the unrest has brought to the forefront important conversations for creatives. The power of sport can make the world a better place. When you’re driven by that hope, you start to see programs like SWDC and the products we create in the same light.
Jonathan Johnsongriffin: And you start to see the value when the spirit of programs and the spirit of design are expressed in each other. That’s why I’m excited about the SWDC capsule as a community builder — it brings us into closer community with athletes, with designers, with retailers who are passionate about this, and with the industry, period.
John Hoke: Designers have a social contract to apply their creativity to solve another human being’s problem. You have to empathically put yourself in somebody else’s shoes and understand their needs first. As we start year two of the program, we’re seeing that thoughtful application of design firsthand. Empowering Future Designers
Tania Flynn: A few of us started at Nike around the same time. We’re talking about what building the bench looks like here at the company, bringing the next generation forward in the design space. And that challenges us to think about diversity in all forms. It’s not just across race, gender or sexual orientation. It’s important to have diversity of experience, tenure and age too. Who’s better equipped to speak to those issues of a new generation and come up with fresh solutions than that generation themselves?
Jarvis Sam: To create a program that’s authentic requires having leaders who share similar stories with the apprentices. Leaders and emerging talent need to see themselves in one another. The connections the apprentices create here are strong, not just with their cohort, but also with leaders like JJG and Tania.
Jonathan Johnsongriffin: At the same time, Tania and I are very different people. We both bring diverse perspectives from our backgrounds, influences and inspirations. And that’s kind of the point. Giving everyone a voice, especially those who have been excluded from speaking up, is what unlocks creativity, which helps us solve problems.
Jarvis Sam: One of the great things that the apprenticeship has reminded us is that the creative experiences of BIPOC groups are not a monolith. We’re challenged to think about the nuanced differences within those populations and cohorts so that we can create an opportunity that has a real infrastructure to it, one that focuses on retention and development as much as we do acquisition.
Jonathan Johnsongriffin: The Nike Design community is more than 1,000 designers strong. SWDC has been a beacon of light for our community. The health of a community is always made better when you bring diversity, when you have candid conversations about what design looks like now and what it’s going to look like in the future and how we create together.
John Hoke: Really good design requires a diversity of thought. Really good design invites more people in. That’s true now, and it will continue to be true in the future. When I think about Nike’s advantage 50 years ago and 50 years from now, that advantage is bringing new ideas and innovations to athletes everywhere. And those new ideas captivate the essence and the spirit of a time, and they captivate an ambition yet to be unfolded by an athlete. This program is lifting our creativity and helping us imagine even better, more innovative solutions. It represents a giant leap forward that is indelible and important, but it’s a pursuit we’ll never be done with.
The lawyer who represented Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against former president Trump was given two and a half years in prison by a federal judge in a New York court on Thursday. Avenatti was convicted for trying to extort more than $20 million from Nike in February 2020. He is currently awaiting two more federal criminal trials for allegedly defrauding clients in California and New York. One trial is set to begin next week, while the other will commence next year.