As the Nike FlyKnit Collective comes to a close in London, we had a chat with a couple of the top designers from Portland about their involvement in the collective, their personal thoughts on FlyKnit as a whole, their influence at Nike and what influences them in general. First up is Global Apparel Senior Design Director, Jarrett Reynolds.
Having never met any of the in-house Portland Nike team, we weren’t sure what to expect. Like any Nike fans, we held them in almost God like awe in our minds. Mystical design gurus who hide away in a secret camp somewhere in Portland. Obviously, this is not such a realistic perception and within seconds this mystical image was shattered by Jarrett as we quickly realised that he was one of the nicest and most humble people that we’ve had the pleasure of talking to. It’s refreshing to see someone be so humble and almost refuse to stand in the limelight when they hold such an influential role. For someone to brush off their very important involvement (as important as you can get, without us actually stating what it was) in the now infamous Cole Haan Lunar footwear and hand over all credit to the other parties involved is beyond impressive. Modesty gone mad.
We could have chatted to Jarrett all day if we had the time. He’s one of those guys that has something interesting to say about almost everything, mainly due to his perspective on things, the way he envisages things. It’s this ability and unique vision that you will find at the core of any great designer. As we discussed FlyKnit and its inception, Jarrett lit up like a kid in a queue waiting to get their hands on an exclusive pair of sneaks. To see that kind of excitement from someone on the inside was intriguing.
Moving on to his personal achievements within the company, be it the FlyWire jacket from 2009 or the M65 jacket from last season’s NSW range, the modesty was so much that you would be excused for not thinking he had any hand in the design. This modesty leads to an air of mystery surrounding Jarrett and his influence at Nike. You can’t help but start to wonder about all the things that he’s designed that you will have appreciated or even idolised. It is most likely a large part of why he is so successful as a designer as he never appears to focus on what he has done, more on what he could do.
We hope you enjoy reading the interview as much as we enjoyed asking the questions. Next week we will be dropping part 2 of this two-part feature, where we speak to Innovation Kitchen Studio Director and inventor of FlyKnit, Ben Schaffer (read it here).
Words: Alex Synamatix
Photography: Adam Suffocake