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Virgil Abloh and Kim Jones Reveal Soccer Collaborations With Nike


Photo: Brett Lloyd / Courtesy of Nike

Think back to a time that today seems lost in the distant mists of menswear history: It is the first week of February 2018, and Kim Jones has only recently left his post at the Louis Vuitton men’s studio, so he is now pondering his future. Meanwhile, in a move not unrelated to that of Jones, an offer has just passed across the iPhone of Virgil Abloh that has given even the perpetually-in-motion founder of Off-White serious pause for reflection.

Yet on the morning the two friends met that week in far East London, neither man was tackling the big questions that would eventually lead to their sensational transfers: Abloh to LV and Jones to Dior Homme. Later this month, both Abloh and Jones will reveal their first collections for their new labels in Paris, but back then we had gathered, along with some of the biggest names in international soccer, to concentrate on their other gig. Four months later and the fruits of their latest collaborations with Nike, both soccer focused, are being unveiled just in time for the World Cup in Russia—and those Paris Fashion Week debuts.

Virgil_ Abloh nike promo

Photo: Brett Lloyd / Courtesy of Nike

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Jones’s Nike collection drops first, on June 7. Titled Football Reimagined, the line is made up of a tight team of pieces that would be perfectly serviceable as sportswear yet seem too sweet to sweat in. The all-black wardrobe is Italian made and notably nonsynthetic—or at least apparently so—in fabrication. Jackets and jerseys feature an interestingly old-school equivalent of kinesiology strapping: more heavily spun panels that run through the garments and give them extra structure and heft. Jones, who is a serious collector of early Vivienne Westwood, said he was partially inspired by the DIY, rip-it-up, and remake-it philosophy of punk, as well as his semi-regular attendance at soccer games with his good friend David Beckham.

Along with the clothes comes an already-released soccer boot and a newly revealed sneaker. This total mash-up of a shoe combines four styles in one. “I was looking at the silhouette of the Mercurial along with my three favorite Nike shoes: the Footscape, the Vandal, and the Air Max 97. Combining these into one shoe is an homage to punk, but with a super-slick end product,” said Jones.

Virgil_ Abloh nike promo

Photo: Brett Lloyd / Courtesy of Nike

For his Off-White x Nike collection, called Football, Mon Amour, on sale June 14, Abloh has incorporated his own personal knowledge of the game (he was a cup-winning defender during his school-years career), as well as the whimsically literal tics that run through his label. Abloh’s take on the brand’s Mercurial boot features two dots that mark the sweet spot for a pure strike of the ball on both the inside and outside of the foot. These have been imported into his collab-edition sneaker, a Flyknit Zoom Fly, along with the inverted-comma design statements that run through his Off-White work: Set below the word logo, the shoe’s Swoosh features the same in-house sizing markers used by Nike’s internal design teams.

The clothes are for an eclectic community of forward-facing soccer lovers: radically reduced goalkeeping gloves that look like hazmat equipment but reportedly perform awesomely, plus jerseys and training gear whose proportions and decoration are atypical, too. The checkerboard jerseys, for instance, feature an Off-White sponsors logo, a Lion Rampant, and more sweet spot dots. “I was always inspired by the way European teams have a sponsor printed over the chest,” said Abloh. “When I was working on this collection, I wanted to celebrate the different variants of typography.”

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