The first collaboration and bet, the Nike Dunk High and the consecration, the Air Force 1.
This story begins in Los Angeles, in 2002.
The City of Angels has just emerged unscathed from the threat of the Millennium Bug, freeing itself from the pessimistic grip that held back its vibrant energy, pre-2000. The bug has morphed into a beautiful butterfly, fluttering lightly amidst the artistic ferment and creative experimentation; the vibrant tones of its wings color the graffiti around the city, the tees and trainers of the skaters who train every day on the Venice Beach waterfront. The timing is perfect, the city is ready to welcome a streetwear and trainers’ boutique that will become – in a short time – the reference point of the city’s underground scene: UNDEFEATED.
The founders are two guys with a passion for streetwear and skating: Eddie Cruz and James Bond; already in the first few months after opening, there is a lot of hype around the store, which, thanks to Sneakers, sells big. On a day like any other, the decisive meeting happens: a Friend & Family distributor from Nike enters the shop and offers the two founders a collaboration that cannot be missed: the first Nike Dunk High x Undefeated.
It must be said that the Dunk at the time wasn’t the hype product it is now, and that was more of a gamble on Nike’s part that, in hindsight, turned out to be a real winner.
In fact, this is Nike’s first collaboration with a Boutique; an event that will inaugurate a successful season, which will go on to consolidate over time, transforming the trainer market for years to come.
The “Scarcity” of the 2002 Dunk High Undefeated release generated an unprecedented “gold fever”: the phenomenon spurred the two brands to launch subsequent collaborations that, as we know, would continue for over a decade.