Words by Paul for Overkill.
It was the year 1995, I lived in Hamburg and I was 25. Christoph De Babalon and I were running our label Cross Fade Enter Tainment which was coined extreme electronic noise label. I was ditching my art school paintbrushes for the computer room and getting my head around the apple classic, hypercard and aldus freehand. I was churning out black and white Xeroxed flyers for hamburgs very lively drum & bass scene for powerhouse on St.Pauli. 'Clan in the front, let your feet stomp, Niggas on the left, rag shit to death, Hoods on the right, wild for the night, Punks in the back, come on in the track to what'. The fashion was very inner-city anti-surveillance urban survival driven. Black CFET T-shirt, Sabotage sweatshirt, Marharishi baggies, Air Max 95s and some mad jacket I bought at harrods. Everyone was fuelled with a whole lot of club mate. As some straight edge student somewhere between art and advertising I was amazed from the stuff Wieden & Kennedy was doing especially for Nike. The Air Max 95 advert which I saw in Raygun was a packshot, shot from behind and a bit high up. The angle was weird. Just a randomly chic placed Swoosh, some telephone number and amazing product. The angle was so anti-advertising, so cool and so anarchistic, the whole campaign was amazing in its simplicity so in this time my mind was set, fuck this art school shit, I wanna do advertising.
The Air Max 95 is a combination of so much – a brilliant advert from a amazing agency presenting a product which was and still remains one of Nikes most legendary pieces. The colours, the greys, the fade, the mesh, the neon Swoosh, the 3M, the price, the thick laces, the whole compactness of the shoe, so chunky, but yet so elegant. It's art ready for warfare.
I finished art school and got me a diploma that no one wanted to see, despite the fact that all my work was drenched with my art school years, I went on into advertising and design and never looked back. I'm writing this on the way to Dubai, where my agency SNOWDEN is doing creative for Nike Air Max Day 2014, in the worlds biggest shoe shop, in the worlds biggest shopping mall, for (in all due respect to everyone else we work for) my favourite client/brand/product - Nike.
Read the full history of Nike Air Max in our retrospective Sneaker Freaker magazine issue here.