Interview: Kasina Travel to 1980s Korea for the Nike Dunk Low
Founded by former pro skater EunHyuk Lee in 1997, Kasina first threw open their doors in Busan (South Korea’s second largest city). Now trusted pioneers of a thriving streetwear scene, their collaboration on the Nike Dunk Low pays homage to travel throughout the region. Taking aesthetic cues from the Gyeongbu Expressway (the central highway between Busan and Seoul) and Seoul’s vintage buses from the 1980s, both the Nike Dunk ‘Neptune Green’ and ‘Industrial Blue’ colourways represent a high watermark for thoughtful sneaker design in 2020. We recently caught up with Kasina’s Kim Shawn to shed some light on the Nike colab.
When Kasina opened their maiden store in Busan in 1997, the dream was to go to Seoul. Can you tell us about that journey?
Watching skateboarding scenes from movies like Back to the Future and Police Story, EunHyuk Lee instantly fell in love with skateboarding. He became a sponsored rider of a local skate shop, and started working as shop staff. At the time, all skate shops were selling only hardgoods, but he wanted to have clothing and footwear in the store so that the space could be a playground for the younger generation.
The colab takes inspiration from the transport system in South Korea. Can you explain this in a little more detail?
Basically, the shoes tell the story of a skater who opened his own skate shop in his hometown and moved to a capital city to achieve his bigger dreams. The ‘Neptune Green’ colourway is inspired by a road sign from the Gyeongbu Expressway which connects Lee’s hometown of Busan to Seoul. The ‘Industrial Blue’ colourway is the bus he rode while visiting the capital.
Why do you think Nike Dunks have really captured the attention of the wider sneaker community?
No one can deny that Nike are leading the sneaker game right now. And the Dunk is the silhouette that Nike are hyping really hard. It’s that simple. However, at the very beginning of this project – in late 2018 / early 2019 – the Dunk wasn’t in this position at all. We just have so many great memories of Dunks. The silhouette was such a big player when we were the one and only Nike SB account in the early 2000s.
Why did you choose to make two different pairs?
Actually, the initial plan was to launch three pairs, but the unrevealed ‘Taxi’ colourway was dropped at the very last stage. But stay tuned! There may be some good news.
The ‘mini Swoosh’ is definitely something we love to see on Nike sneakers. Were there any restrictions to your design? Or were you given ultimate freedom?
From a design point of view, there weren’t many restrictions. Nike let us lead the process. The mini Swoosh, pebbled leather, texture of suede, outsoles, and shoelaces all came out as we intended.
Any future projects in the pipeline?
It’s confidential, but stay tuned!