After launching the Tech Pack Fleece collection last week with a ballbusting video featuring many of their international superstar athletes, Nike have localised the story by building a Tech Pack pop-up space right in the heart of our very own Melbourne.
Like a Tardis spaceship made from a shipping container, the sharply designed interior has been teched-out with an interactive ‘Reactor’ table and a digital photo booth that lets you post images to your social channels. You can also snap up a few pieces from the range and we were stoked to finally try out Nike’s new cutting-edge Fleece, though we were too embarrassed to ask for the Funnel Neck hoodie which is in the women’s range.
At the time we popped into the pop-up, we ran into Trent Cotchin and Jack Riewoldt, two superstars of the game known locally as AFL. For our international readers, we have to set the scene a little bit. Back in the days when Australia was an English colony, we invented our own game and gave it the creative name of Aussie Rules football. A combination of rugby, chess, paintball and WWF, Aussie Rules (or AFL as it’s officially known) is played at breakneck speed with full contact and zero padding. It’s a game unlike any other and is the biggest sport in the country.
2013 has easily been the most controversial AFL season in living memory, but now that September has finally rolled around, Melbourne is fully in the grip of football fever as we wait to watch the best teams battle it out for the coveted premiership cup. Trent and Jack both play for the Richmond Tigers and given their club has made the finals for the first time in over a decade, they were in an upbeat mood as we bantered about Tech Pack, sneakers and Aussie Rules.
Hey guys, you're both looking good in your Tech Pack sweaters, tell us what you think about the new range from Nike.
Trent: It's the first time I've put one on. The Tech Pack products are really lightweight but actually keep you as warm as a heavier garment. It feels really nice, it's snug, I like clothing that makes you feel fit and these sweaters certainly do.
Jack: When you chuck something on like a jumper you can automatically tell the quality of it, and like Trent said it makes you feel good, as soon as I put it on for the first time I could just feel that good quality, and obviously the way Nike have designed it gives it that extra edge.
Michael Jordan once famously said to Nike designer Tinker Hatfield that when he looks good he feels good and when he feels good he plays good, do you guys agree with that?
Trent: I certainly do, we're always joking around the club if you notice that one of the boys has clippered up the legs or has bought some new gear or had a solarium session, everyone always defends themselves by saying that it helps them feel better and that it will help with their performance.
Jack: Yeah, I reckon that look good, feel good, play good is something that has been spoken about down at our club a fair bit, we've got a few of the guys down there that rate their own looks. I don't know if there is any science behind it but if you do look good and you're happy about the way you look, it can boost your self-esteem and going out on the football field, that could be the one percent edge that gets you over the line and might make you play that little bit better.
Definitely, there are some pretty well groomed guys in the AFL these days. Who has the most flamboyant style down at the Richmond FC?
Jack: Chris Newman, our ex-captain, he rates himself, he thinks he's a model the way he dresses. Trent and I keep it pretty simple, every once in a while we might chuck on a nice pair of jeans but usually we're Nike trackie and hoody kinda guys, we keep it pretty low-key. But we've got some guys down there that are horrific dressers; Shane Tuck's a horrific dresser, Ivan Maric I reckon still has cartoons on his T-shirts. Aussie Rules footy clubs are pretty funny places, you get a big mix of styles.
Trent: Especially the interstate guys. I would think that guys from Perth and Adelaide aren't quite up to the same style level as Melbourne or Sydney are with their fashion.
Jack: Yeah Hobart too, I reckon they're still stuck in the dark ages. I think the first Nike Air Max just released in Adelaide so no doubt the boys over there will have them on next week.
Haha, I look forward to seeing that. Being Nike sponsored athletes, as well as having the performance gear you must have a few pairs of casual shoes too. What are some of your favourite models to wear off the field?
Trent: I love the Frees, whether it's just taking the dogs for a walk or rolling into a cafe, I think it's a good mix of that comfort and athletic feel together. The Air Max are comfy shoes, Nike come out with a new design every week or two so it's hard to keep up with them, but I suppose they've been so successful for so long because they're such a good all-round quality shoe.
Jack: I'm a bit of an Imelda Marcos when it comes to shoes, I have probably 50 pairs of runner slash casuals. I remember my first Air Max 1s were dark blue with a white tick – I've actually still got them – and then the next pair I got were a black pair with a purple tick. But when it comes to serious runners I have FlyKnits, LunarGlides, Frees and a bit of everything really. Structure Triax is what I've been told to wear so I've got a pair of those, but I usually just pick up shoes because I like the look of them. Same with footy boots, I've got about eight different pairs, so yeah I definitely love my shoes.
Becoming obsessed with shoes can be a dangerous game. Are there any big sneakerheads at Richmond?
Trent: Yep, it can become expensive too…
Jack: Trent says that but he knows he gets them for free… haha! We don't have too many guys down the club that are overly obsessed with shoes, we've got a few guys that do like their basketball shoes, and are pretty keen on the Jordans so they always hits me up to get a pair when I'm going into Nike. But I think in all honesty I would probably be the worst.
We would love to see a flick of your collection Jack. Alright business time. Obviously you guys are on the cusp of your first finals campaign in over a decade, what is the feeling like around the club?
Trent: Both Jack and I are in the leadership group so our message to the rest of the playing group this week has been to keep it as consistent as it has been for the whole season, especially as it has been for the last month. We had a lot of learnings from the last time we played Carlton so we're looking forward to the opportunity and challenge this Sunday. Supporters have waited a long time, as have some of our players, so we've just gotta make sure that we come with our A game and that we're switch on for a four quarter consistent performance.
Jack: I reckon in the lead up we've sort of been a little lucky in terms of the fact that we know we've been playing finals for the past month now, so the guys have mentally started to prepare for it. I'd be lying if I didn't say that there's been times over the last three days that I have thought about it and it's really bought a sense of excitement and I think you can feel that around our group. That electric excitement that finals footy brings and the fact that we've got guys in our group that have played 12 years, 240 games and have never played in a final has created a buzz for us. Everyone understands that we're not just here to make up the numbers,and we have a pretty strong stance on where we think we can go. It all comes to a head on Sunday at 3:20 when we go up against the arch rivals in Carlton in front of what's going to be a huge crowd at the MCG. It's all about embracing what is AFL finals footy.
It's an exciting time for sure, good luck fellas!
What: Nike Tech Pack Installation pop-up space.
Where: Federation Square – Corner of Swanston Street and Flinders Street, Melbourne CBD.
When: From today through to Monday the 9th from 9am-7pm.