Nike and Virgil Abloh’s new book treats the sneaker as a (hyper) object
January 11, 2021
ICONS, published by TASCHEN, is a dynamic retrospective of the extensive collaborative project between NIKE, Inc. and Virgil Abloh.
Backed by The Ten, ICONS explores how association works to unify all the intangible cultural threads connected to sneakers. The book traces Abloh’s creative and research process through documenting prototypes, original text messages from Abloh to Nike designers, and treasures from Nike’s archives.
Within ICONS, readers will find Swooshes cut from Air Jordans and reapplied with tape or thread, Abloh’s quotes tested on Nike Air Force 1s and Converse All Stars cut to pieces. The effect is a behind-the-scenes testament to The Ten’s DIY approach, giving each model in the Off-White ™ c / o Nike collection its own unique twist. “The basis of my practice is far from the end result, it is rigor and the process of logic. The archive is the paper trail of these artifacts,” says Abloh. “The ICONS book is, in a way, the only eye-opening lens to understand that the catalog of Nike shoes for more than 50 that I have designed are in my mind ‘one shoe’. A story. “
Texts by Hiroshi Fujiwara, writer Troy Patterson, curator and historian Glenn Adamson, and Virgil Abloh himself frame collaborative work within the history of fashion and design. A lexicon in the second part of the book explains the scene from which the project arose and introduces the people, places, objects, ideas, materials and expressions that form the basis of the shoe culture as a whole.
The ICONS book is, in a way, the only eye-opening lens to understand that the Nike shoe catalog for over 50 that I have designed is “one shoe” in my mind. A story.
Art directed and designed by Zak Group, ICONS, as an object, pays homage to The Ten’s DIY industrial aesthetic.
The book is based on Abloh’s printed material practice: archiving, documenting and telling stories through books and ephemeral articles in the service of preserving important cultural stories. As an extension of this practice, ICONS will enjoy an initial early launch period through select black-owned bookstores and independent retailers, demonstrating a shared belief in the vitality of print and the importance of local bookstores as centers of community, cultural and civic memory.
On January 15, Abloh will join host Shaniqwa Jarvis in a conversation with book contributors Adamson and Zak Kyes for a special edition of SNKRS Live. For more information on the exclusive event, visit https://snkrs.app.link/Virgil-Abloh-ICONS.
TASCHEN is a leading publisher known for its extraordinary collaborations with the world’s most influential artists, photographers, musicians, designers, and pop culture icons.
Founded by Benedikt Taschen in 1980, TASCHEN started as a small comic book shop in Cologne, Germany. From its beginnings in the comic, and with only 25 square meters of space, TASCHEN pioneered a new formula for making and marketing visual books, and today it is one of the most respected and desired art book publishers in the world.