I really like it when brands use their power to do good. Whether it’s Nike sticking by Colin Kaepernick after being blackballed by the NFL to all the resources that Adidas has put into sustainability with their new FUTURECRAFT Loop or work with Parley, I see an effort on their part to try and be better. Sometimes the skeptic in me can’t help but question their motives. Is there any ulterior motive behind these actions? Sometimes these brands make completely baffling decisions and I don’t know what to think.
A recent misstep by Nike has me questioning the origins of the stories they sell to us to get by their product. Recently a “Puerto Rico” themes Air Force 1 was pulled from release because there was an outcry by some because the colorful theme was actually a Panamanian pattern called Mola. The designer wouldn’t have made this mistake if they were Puerto Rican right? Adidas in February pulled an all white Black History Month Ultraboost. I’m not here to drag these guys down for mistakes, it happens. However, they are billion dollar companies and so they should probably take the time to make sure what they are putting out can’t be misconstrued into something negative. They shouldn’t be putting out a shoe with a shackle attached to it.
I think it’s all too common these days to see brands simply slap on certain colors for Black History Month or a rainbow on a pair of shoes in June for Pride month and Chinese lettering on a red shoe for Chinese New Year, its disingenuous. I really feel as if the “Lannister” Ultraboost from the Game of Thrones collab really could’ve been a Chinese New year shoe if they just changed out the tag for a picture of an animal. Did Nike really create 720 with a rainbow colorway for any other reason than they just wanted to capitalize on the month and the quickest way to do that was to put a rainbow on one of their latest silhouettes? Is the money they make off selling cultured themed gear going back to the people they are capitalizing off of. Nike does a hell of a job with the Doernbecher collection. Every year they select a few children to design their own sneaker and they tell you why they decided to design the sneaker they did. It’s almost uplifting to hear these children’s stories. Then each year the money they make off of those shoes, a portion goes back to the hospital to help more children and that is awesome.
If they want to sell us this story about celebrating cultures, I want to know the designer. I want to see who created this shoe and why. This would be a way to highlight diverse designers and you can reward the loyalty or creativity of, give the celebration sneaker a more personal touch.
If you like a the sneaker regardless, buy it, spend your money however you see fit. If you are inclined to buy the sneaker because you think you relate to it ask yourself “Do I?” or is this just a marketing ploy to get my money.