I’ve been privy to this information for a little while now, so it was nice to see the ideas come to life at the press preview last night. Snuck in the staff entrance of NikeTown, we were led up the stairs, drenched in red lighting, before finding ourselves at the 2nd floor. There in the middle of NikeTown, in what used to be the NIKEiD suite, was the Sneakers Cube.
Let me briefly try and explain what the Sneakers Cube is. In essence, it’s supposed to be a hub for the London sneaker community. It’s a really interesting move that sees Nike move away from simply trying to sell their product and into the idea of selling the ‘movement’ that is sneakers; it included NIKEiD stations of course, but also Jason Markk cleaning product and info, Ropes Laces, Nike premium laces, lace locks, a chill area with relevant magazines and a library. It’s also worth noting that Nike are promising more to come. I’m not sure that they know exactly what that is yet, but they’re keeping an open mind, which is good news. Hopefully, that will see a permanent Jason Markk cleaning technician installed with cleaning throne. We’ll have to wait and see.
For me, one of the most exciting parts of this project is to see Nike stocking non-Nike brands in NikeTown. It’s a rarity, especially outside of the sports world. Also, to see them backing a young UK upstart like Ropes Laces is a huge look for the UK scene. Expect to see a calendar of events start to roll out at the space also, as Nike aim to reinforce the community side of the idea.
Also, it was a nice touch having Jason Markk himself at the event, along with Colin Mabey, a man who has engraved the F.A. Cup, the U.S. Open trophy, the Rugby World Cup and a number of things for the Royal Family, engraving dubrais (sneaker jewels).
Hats off to Nike UK and all involved in this. I know for a fact that this development was not an easy sell internally, especially as Nike like to put all focus on being a sports brand in their messaging, rather than a consumer sneaker brand. This is a very interesting move and I’m going to be keeping an intrigued eye on it throughout the rest of the year.
Photography: Alex Synamatix for The Daily Street