From London to Paris, the industries fashion creative and BBK Grime legend Skepta threw one of the most incredible and retro launch parties for his second collaboration with Nike, releasing the Air Max 97/BW SK.
Following the success of his first sneaker drop last year with the Moroccan inspired Air Max 97 Ultra, Skepta takes on a whole new concept which integrates the theme of connected culture, inspired by one of the first cities that showed Skepta love outside the UK, Paris.
5 Facts about Skepta’s relationship to the BW and to Paris
1. He wanted to work with the silhouette because “Dizzee Rascal, on his first album cover, Boy in da Corner. He had a pair on.”
2. The appearance of the shoe in that image solidified its legend for Skepta. “When I was younger, Air Max was the shoe to flex in. The bigger your Air bubble — you've got a big air bubble and everyone can see that. The BWs...it's funny it's called Big Window.” Giving his version a full-legnth AM97 unit thus adds a new layer of cache.
3. Skepta considers Paris “a serious part of my whole existence” and credits fans in the city with an early embrace of his music.
4. Skepta began using the lock motif on the cover of his most recent EP, Vicious, as a nod to the iconic British punk musician of the same name.
5. The lock also signifies love. “I wanted to hang the padlock on the shoe at the side and to lock it and give it to my friends,” he says. “I remembered that's what happens in Paris. That's where you go and lock the love.” (via - news.nike.com)
With many thanks to Footpatrol Paris’s, who officially opened their store on the 23rd May and having the raffle winners of the SkAir’s being their very first customers on the 19th, I jetted off to Paris on the 17th for the SkAir 2 launch party which took place at one of Europe’s largest arcades and games room “La tête dans les nuages”, also meaning “Head in The Clouds”.
Now, when I say WOW I mean WOOOW. That was my first reaction from entering the building. For someone who goes to many sneaker/fashion events, I’m pretty used to the standard room, with a bar, sneakers on display, DJ (you get it..) however, Skepta and his team pulled out all the stops and created an absolute madness. An event where you were able to play games, compete against one another, enjoy the music, watch performances and of course eat, drink and celebrate the launch of the trainer!
As soon as you enter the building, you were greeted by a giant SK padlock hanging from the ceiling, with a TV displaying retro styled video games with Skepta’s face on. I mean, even just seeing this got me super excited to see what was in store. As you made your way down the stairs, an LED SkAir logo illuminated the path as a love lock inspired fence had the Air Max 97/BW tied to it alongside various attached padlocks, creating a seamless entrance and what I must say, a very picturesque background.
Entering the arcade space, we were given a goody bag which had game coins/tokens inside that allowed you to play any of the games ranging from basketball, 4 player Mario kart, bowling, bad kong punching, space invaders and sooo much more. The goody bag also included drink vouchers, food voucher and a Nike x SkAir lollipop. Keeping within the tricolour theme, a selection of “blue” and “red” drinks were being served alongside beer and an all vegan food bar, serving food such as vegan hot dogs and fried plantain. Not to forget, the pick and mix stall dishing out all types of sugary treats with blue and red doughnuts, candy floss stand and popcorn (yum!).
Branded red and blue heart shaped balloons tagged with the classic SkAir logo filled up the 1500m² space which spread an energy of love throughout the room. The love in the room was so infectious as everyone was just purely having a great time and celebrating the launch. If I could possibly give a 100-star rating on trip adviser I definitely would, and I’ll be back!
The night later saw performances from French rappers Sheck Wes, Block 13 and Hamza who elevated the crowed before it was time to hit the road.
As for my first time in Paris, now I really do understand why it’s the capital of love and the passion Skepta has for the city. He really opened my eyes to a whole new world, whereby I totally underestimated how hard the fashion industry is out there.
12am soon crept up on us very quickly, but that only meant one thing.. After Party! Held within the Opera district in Paris, Club Jangal welcomed guests to enjoy a night of r&b, hip hop and grime. With a closing time of 6am, I managed to stay out until 4am, jump in a taxi back to the airport and catch my flight back to London for 7.
To have spent my first ever time in Paris for the launch of the Air Max 97/BW, was bloody amazing. The sneaker and streetwear industry there is on point and ill definitely be back sooner than you think! Thank you Skepta <3