Karabo Poppy X Nike
This year I got to create a Karabo Poppy X Nike Air Force 1 collection. Not 1, not 2 but 3 Air Force 1 designs I got to design with home (Africa - South Africa) as the source of inspiration with the aim to represent that which has been underrepresented. A true honour to be partnering with Nike By You to give you the opportunity to customise my design on the site too. This became more than just a collab! The reach for African artists is expanding exponentially and I am filled with so much joy to create a first of its kind here with Nike, where a sneaker design that has been a part of my life and the life of my family, community and the that of people I look up to has a variation designed by me.
This was par of Nike By You where you had the opportunity to customize my designs on the site. Each design makes use of a completely new technique on the Air Force 1 - from raised embroidery to embroidered patches over the swoosh.
The inspiration for every design is the diverse visual aesthetic of parts of Africa, both contemporary and traditional. Our aesthetic has a long rich heritage rooted in constant innovation and hybridity. I believe that every African carries this with them daily and I believe that it is in the everyday seemingly mundane daily events where this aesthetic is at its most beautiful to me. So I set out to use this iconic shoe to assist in preserving and celebrating it in my work to represent the underrepresented - this is what drives me and impacts the art I create. I often illustrate everyday South Africans, Africans and those part of the African diaspora in a traditional barbershop signage style with elements of everyday life in parts of Africa but I try and portray in new ways daily.