SZ / ACG / NIKE - 2021

Official Nike collaborations out of Hawaiʻi are far and few in between. The Aloha Dunk by Ian Ginoza and Kicks Hawaiʻi nearly two decades ago and the Hawaiʻi SB dunk in 2006 were some of the early pillars and both shared locally inspired design narrative. For myself as a young Hawaiian designer at the time, those shoes stood as a beacon of creative possibility and a level to aspire towards. Working with the Athletics Department on the Oregon Ducks uniform and seeing it debut last year was a moment for Hawaiian design and I couldn’t be more thankful. Continuing our projects with Nike, we teamed up with the outdoor department “ACG” meaning "All Conditions Gear" to work on a specialty “Deschutz” sandal.

It started with a text from a couple friends that the Nike ACG design team was headed to Hawaiʻi and wanted to talk story about their trip. For me, as much as I try to remember that I’m just a brown kid from Keaukaha, at the same time, we can’t take the opportunity lightly and we have to push our cultural narrative forward, especially if it's on a global scale. Made a few phone calls and text messages and came up with a rough but ambitious schedule that I called “Follow The Water”.

Our diverse island temperature zones set the canvas and the characters of our water cycles being our cloud systems, rivers and our native forests. Growing up in Hilo and around Hula, ʻŌhi’a Lehua is an iconic flower and tree. As one of the main native forest staples that attracts the clouds in and eventually feeds the aquifers, ʻŌhi’a is an essential to sustain island life.

We celebrate this iconic native tree with this latest Nike partnership. The reflective black lava sets the sole of the sandal, the verdant green “Liko” ʻohe kāpala art woven into the strap and hidden Lehua hues of mamo, alani and ʻula populate the upper.

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