Virgil Abloh’s ‘The Ten’ collaboration with Nike is easily the most important offering of 2017. Its deconstructed nature and DIY ethos has captured the imagination of everyone from superstars to influencers to customisers and beyond, but Abloh has revealed that he almost screwed the whole thing up.
Speaking with Footwear News, who named his Air Jordan 1 their Shoe of the Year, he revealed that a last-minute change in colour made a world of difference. Originally The Ten was meant to feature an off-white hue across all models, as Abloh thought colourways should be unexpected.
‘Nowadays, there are so many shoe colourways that I’m almost uninterested,’ Abloh tells FN. ‘If you say there’s a Chanel Air Jordan 1, I assume it’s going to be black and white. If I can guess it, then it shouldn’t exist.’
But confusion caused by a pair of Nike’s in an airport changed his perspective. ‘I couldn’t tell if they were Dunks or Jordans. The lightbulb went off in my head: What makes the shoes iconic is the colourway. That’s when I was like, I almost made a mistake.’
With the production deadline looming, he called Nike. The Swoosh’s VP of footwear design, Andy Caine, remembers being uncertain about making the changes.
‘Internally, we were like, "Could we pull this off?" When you’re producing shoes, there’s a moment where you have to lock in everything to order the materials to produce the quantities. We were on top of that deadline, literally two days out.’
Luckily for everyone, Nike were able to come through with the last-minute assist — saving us all from a colab that Abloh says would have otherwise ‘totally missed the mark.’ Phew!