Of Victory and Fashion.

While thinking about a title for this article, ‘just do it’ came to mind but asides from the fact that it is already the title of a post in the creative column, a June special to be exact (you should check it out if you haven’t), it seemed to be too cliché. You’d know instantly that I’m going to talk about Nike. Well, you still know I’m going to talk about Nike because of the picture but at least this title is a bit more cryptic yeah?

Shoes are an important part of how you look, good shoes take you to good places and when you talk about good shoes you can’t leave out Nike.

What Do You Say We Go Back in Time to How It All Started?

In 1962, at the young age of 24, Phil Knight the creator of Nike had a crazy idea. He had a dream, a dream that one day his four little children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. Wait, no!😂 that’s not right, I got carried away with the dream talk there for a bit. That dream belonged to Martin Luther King Jr. Phil Knight’s dream however was that he wanted to leave a mark on the world, he wanted to win and although he’d been nursing an idea for some time, he had insecurities about it because everyone else saw this idea as crazy. It was one fateful morning in 1962 while he was running that he decided and told himself: ‘Let everyone else call your idea crazy, just keep going, don’t stop. Don’t even think about stopping until you get there and don’t even give much thought to where ‘there’ is.’ Whatever comes, just don’t stop. One can safely say that it was there and then that he got his ‘just do it’ mentality.

What Was this Crazy Idea Anyway?

While at Stanford, he wrote a research paper on shoes for one of his final classes, a seminar on entrepreneurship and from that paper stemmed his crazy idea. He predicted that Japanese running shoes would make a deep cut in the shoe market just like their cameras were doing at the time.

In September 1962, he set out on a trip to explore the world. He went to Hawaii, India, Rome and many other places. The highlight of his trip he noted in his book ‘shoe dog’ was Greece, the temple of Athena Nike. Athena is the Greek goddess of wisdom and it is said that she is the bringer of Nike, in other words, a victory since Nike is the Greek goddess of victory.
He also visited Japan and while he was there, he went to a shoe company called Onitsuka where he made a pitch and introduced his brand as Blue Ribbon. He then became the distributor for their Tiger running shoes in the United States and partnered with his former coach Bill Bowerman thus making him a co-founder. Bill Bowerman improved the Tiger shoe designs tremendously. The first dual designed trainer, the Tiger Cortez dropped in 1967 but shortly after the relationship between Onitsuka and Blue ribbon went south and they parted ways in 1971. Blue ribbon was then rebranded to become Nike Inc.

One would think that Phil Knight was the one to come up with the name Nike, with his fascination with Greece and all but it was, in fact, his first full-time employee, Jeff Johnson who suggested the name, said it came to him in a dream. Phil Knight wanted to go with ‘Dimension 6’. Yuck! Thank God he didn’t.

The Nike logo which looks like a check and is popularly called the swoosh was designed by Carolyn Davidson while she was still a student at Portland State University. It was named the swoosh because that is the sound made when someone goes past you, it signifies motion, fast motion.

Since it started, Nike has grown immensely, having close to 1,200 stores worldwide and signing various sports stars such as Michael Jordan, Lebron James, the late Kobe Bryant, Serena Williams and Sherryl Swoopes who was the first woman to have her own Nike signature shoes.

Why Are We Talking About a Sports Brand in Fashion?

First off, they deal in wears…shoes, bags, sweatshirts, etc. And sports or not, we all know it’s also fashion.

Secondly, apart from wearing these for sports, they’ve evolved into everyday wear. They’re fit to wear to class, to the office, to the supermarket and pretty much anywhere on both casual and not so casual outfits. I mean just look at the gorgeous Zendaya sporting a pair of not yet released Nike’s ( Nike Dunk High X ambush) with a metallic fringe outfit on the cover of the December/January 2021 Elle magazine and try to tell me Nike should only be for sports.

Some of the best 2020 Nike releases so far include: Nike Air Max Exosense SE, Nike Air Max 270 React ENG, Nike P-6000, Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 5, Nike Air Force 1’07 Draft and so many many more.

You can definitely spruce up your sneaker collection with a pair of Nike’s, especially now that it is November and there will be sales and discounts and believe me when I say that they are sure to make your feet feel like they are being hugged and massaged by a goddess and when you really think about it, they actually are.

I’m saying this because I’ve realised it, Nike is more than a sports brand, it’s more than a household name, it’s more than a product, it’s more than a culture, it’s more than a fashion item. Nike is a spirit and that spirit is called Victory!

So I leave you with these words that seemed to drive Phil Knight at many down points in his life.

  • “The cowards never started and the weak died along the way”
    So write that book, start that business, sing that song, do what your heart is calling you to do, just do it!
    And what should be our aim?
    As Churchill said, “it is victory, victory at all costs…”
    Have a victorious week lovelies and stay gorgeous.

    PS: if you haven’t read ‘shoe dog’ by Phil Knight, you should. It is stupendously inspiring and perhaps like me, you’ll marvel at the details, intricacies, coincidences and events that all wound up into a beautiful yarn ball you might be forced to call fate.

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