Marcus Fairs:   Tell us about the anniversary edition. A lot of sportswear and fashion has been fairly nostalgic   in recent years but futurism seems to be creeping in again, with new materials and techniques and the whole wearable tech explosion. Mark Parker: I’ve always been extremely proud of the Zvezdochka. “Our collective approach sparked a new aesthetic.”
Parker, 59, is based at Nike’s headquarters at Beaverton in   Oregon. It’s a great example of how a functional innovation helps drive a completely new aesthetic. Mark Parker: Marc was inspired from his time working at the Russian Space Institute, when he saw photos of cosmonauts jumping on their spaceships’ walls for exercise. The Zvezdochka shoe by Marc Newson and NikeZvezdochka was originally launched in 2004 as a limited edition in five colours, with a   further edition issued in 2010. This will always be a goal of ours. What is its inspiration? The shoe removed constraints for a sustainable future. “The journey of creating the Zvezdochka   has been highly influential with our design and innovation teams, particularly in how products are made,” Mark Parker told Dezeen in an email interview set up to celebrate the shoes’ tenth anniversary. We have to look ahead because today’s technology won’t help tomorrow’s athlete. A big part of this is just how many amazing developments in technology, materials and tools we see every day. That said, we believe that opening up to outside influences can be extremely powerful and help everyone reach the future, faster. Often when you enter into a project, you don’t know what you’ve learned until you start the next one. You don’t always have to start over to create an emotional reaction to your product. “Projects like the Zvezdochka   helped pave the way for other breakthroughs like Nike Flyknit, or how we think about new tools like 3D printing.”
In an exclusive interview published today, Newson told Dezeen how the injection-moulded shoe was “a really revolutionary idea” in terms of its manufacturing, but Parker said that it has also changed the way Nike thinks about everything from environmental issues to customisation. All of these new developments are good for sport and good for Nike. He   ran competitively for Penn State University before joining Nike in 1979 as a footwear designer. Marc’s problem-solving approach to design is similar to ours, so working together came very naturally to both of us. Marcus Fairs:   Have you worked with any other industrial designers in this way? Mark Parker: I knew Marc before the Zvezdochka   project, so I was familiar with his philosophy. It led us to a discussion around whole new forms of footwear – we were talking about space, after all – and what it might take to create something entirely different. Mark Parker: Nike is at its best when we focus on the future. The Zvezdochka shoe by Marc Newson and Nike”If you take the long view, the Zvezdochka   was an important step in what we are now calling [a] manufacturing revolution at Nike,” said Parker. Athletes are expanding their potential every day – and so must we. Nike is now reissuing the shoes in the original five colours through selected   NikeLab   stores and   nike.com/nikelab from 29 December. The principles of the Zvezdochka   have the power to unlock many exciting opportunities at Nike – from customisation and modularity to sustainability and manufacturing. Sport is in a constant state of progression. Projects like the Zvezdochka   helped pave the way for other breakthroughs like Nike Flyknit, or how we think about new tools like 3D printing. It’s become part of the design process to look to remove some of the constraints on our business and minimise our impact on the planet. We could not make the Zvezdochka   with traditional cut-and-sew methods of making footwear. Mark Parker: It’s a design that feels as contemporary today as it did ten years ago. “It’s become part of the design process to look to remove some of the constraints on our business and minimise our impact on the planet.”
“The principles of the Zvezdochka   have the power to unlock many exciting opportunities at Nike – from customisation and modularity to sustainability and manufacturing,” he added. “Importantly, it’s also influenced how we think about sustainability, one of the world’s greatest design opportunities,” he said. It’s always powerful to deliver a breakthrough, but there’s also a true art to making something great even better. Marcus Fairs: What did Nike learn from the collaboration? Related story: Nike reissues “revolutionary” Marc Newson trainersParker,   who   was appointed president and CEO of Nike in 2006, said the shoes, which are made of four interchangeable   parts and were designed as industrial products rather than fabric garments, helped instigate a shift in the way Nike approaches product development. And not just new for the sake of new, it has to be better. Design is an iterative process. Nike combined elements from its previous designs for the LunarElite Sky Hi SneakerBoot, featuring a pleated sole and neoprene coverMarcus Fairs:   Tell us about the shoe. For the Zvezdochka, we knew we had broken new ground: a shoe with four interchangeable parts. It’s a fascinating product with an even more fascinating story. As we began discussing the project, we turned our focus to an unexpected area – the process of traditional shoemaking. Called HTM, the team consists of only three members and has no budget restraints or deadlines. Is that the case? Digital technology is giving people a better understanding of themselves, making the sport experience even more personal. Really, the exciting part is that we’re still evolving some of the concepts that the Zvezdochka   introduced. We talked about the performance needs they might have: breathability, cushioning, versatility. Do you agree? The journey of creating the Zvezdochka   has been highly influential with our design and innovation teams, particularly in how products are made. If you take the long view, the Zvezdochka   was an important step in what we are now calling [a] manufacturing revolution at Nike. Marcus Fairs:   You mentioned in a recent interview that Zvezdochka is your favourite Nike collaboration of all. But we also didn’t anticipate the original idea would take us in that direction. Sometimes it’s about asking the right questions in the right moment with the right tools in hand.

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