Browse all

With its latest collection, Nike is focusing on luxury normcore

"Every Stitch Considered" aims at expanding the creative world of the brand

With its latest collection, Nike is focusing on luxury normcore Every Stitch Considered aims at expanding the creative world of the brand

For some years now, Nike has entered a moment of silent creative evolution that, based on the success of the experimental ACG line, has expanded to the ISPA sneaker series and the recently renovated Every Stitch Considered capsule for the SS21 season. Both capsules are signed by Nike Design Exploration, a sort of alternative design line, "sister" far from the subsidiary line of Nike ACG. While much of the production of the other lines focus on research sneakers and high-performance technical apparel, the Every Stitch Considered capsule produces minimalist apparel that, both for its quality and for the research work on silhouette and construction, has elevated Nike's sportswear to real fashion design. The particular refinement of the spring capsule, which also includes fabric coats with functional pockets, jackets with avant-garde silhouettes and shirts with front button systems with a futuristic flair, is the result of a non-industrialized manufacturing process (the capsule was created by family-run shops in Lombardy) but also of extraordinary work on silhouettes that, just as had happened with the ISPA sneaker collection, shows all the real creative potential of Nike. 

It is clear that this side collection represents a (successful) attempt by the brand to raise its offer of basic garments at a historic juncture where the demand for elevated basics has risen enormously. According to the Fashion's Big Reset study conducted last summer by the Boston Consulting Group, «the COVID-19 crisis [...] has piqued interest in spending on health and wellness and essentials such as casual apparel». According to the study both consumers will tend to buy less and become more selective and there will be a trade-up push for consumers who want to invest in higher quality products and will therefore be willing to pay higher prices – all factors that explain why Nike has decided to expand its basics line with products close to luxury prices (a cardigan costs 500 dollars, for example) but at the same time visibly more sought after than "regular" basic garments. The move also represents an attempt to diversify from the lines of elevated essentials that have appeared everywhere in recent months whose most important and appreciated result has been the J+ collection of Uniqlo designed by Jil Sander and similar in spirit (although lower in terms of research and technical sophistication) to the ESC collection of Nike which has also chosen to promote the collection relying on the face not of an athlete but of an artist: New York-based painter Nina Chanel Abney

Among the reactions to the new context of the pandemic, in fact, it has become clear that a push towards eccentricity and the most extreme luxury corresponds, in the more general market, an equal and contrary push towards a comfortable-chic that give the wearer the feeling of having invested their resources (namely, their time and money) in a product that bears the clear traces of research and design work rather than in the umpteenth hoodie with logo. Responding to this need with a product that, at the same time, addresses more aware, demanding and above all wealthy groups of consumers represents Nike's desire to expand its appeal as a brand beyond pure activewear, heading towards lifestyle territories. In this regard Kurt Parker, Nike VP of Apparel Design, said:

«Every Stitch Considered is ultimately a sportswear-inspired lifestyle collection, but our unique understanding of the body in motion, based in decades of scientific study, paired with dedicated old-world Italian craftsmanship, sets these garments apart as distinct, timeless articles».

Just as it happened with Versace and its new monogram, Nike is trying to capitalize on its brand awareness by converting it into an expansion of real sales and a repositioning on the market but, unlike a luxury brand that needs to bring its products to a wider audience, Nike starts from a larger market to appeal to a smaller audience. The results, at the moment, seem to be encouraging (if they were not the ESC capsule would not have been renewed) and it is to be believed that in the future this offer will expand in line with the popularization of Nike as a design brand.