Interview: Founder Luca Benini Chats About the Slam Jam x Nike Dunk High
Since its inception, trailblazing Italian retailer Slam Jam has always approached things a little differently. Founded in Ferrara in 1989, the venture has always endeavoured to provide the local community with a place to find the greatest streetwear and footwear labels from around the globe. Fun fact: Slam Jam was Italy's first importer of then then-unknown brands such as Stussy.
The man behind Slam Jam is Luca Benini, and he’s seen the retailer grow from a local favourite to an international force to be reckoned with. Blessed with a renowned reputation in the world of sneakers, much of Slam Jam’s success can be attributed to their ever-growing list of collaborations, most notably with Nike.
In 2020, that reputation grows with the release of two stunning Dunk Highs, both blessed with the trademark Slam Jam rebel attitude.
With the release of the ‘Clear Black’ colourway on the horizon, we caught up with Benini for a brief chat about the current state of sneakers, the legacy of the Dunk, and what it’s like working with the crew from Beaverton.
Luca, how do you think the sneaker industry has evolved over the last decade?
To me, the industry has greatly evolved over the past few years. It’s gone from early adopters within multiple subcultures, to a widespread culture, which won’t fade away anytime soon.
Can you recall your perception of the Dunk when you founded Slam Jam in 1989?
Honestly, when I founded Slam Jam, I wasn’t that familiar with the Dunk. I actually discovered it through the Air Jordan, and then drew plenty of inspiration from it.
The Dunk is a crossover among multiple and diverse elements that shape a culture, from the courts to the streets, and beyond. I’ve really seen the affection for the silhouette grow over the years. I think the mix of a timeless shape, alongside a series of meaningful collaborations has made this happen.
You are no stranger when it comes to working on collaborations with all the big sneaker players. What’s so unique about working with the Swoosh?
It’s a true privilege, and it makes us very proud! It shows us the path we’re treading towards is a good one. In regards to our latest Dunk collaboration, the design process was a very natural and stimulating joint effort between both teams.
What is next for Slam Jam?
We plan to keep working with authentic partners like Nike, and exploring new concepts by leveraging what Slam Jam has lived through and archived over the last three decades.
After an exclusive release for the 'Pure Platinum' colourway at Slam Jam via raffle and Nike SNKRS on October 3, the 'Clear Black' will drop later on October 30 at select retailers. Stay tuned for our comprehensive Where to Buy guide!