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Summer of Love

Air Max 97 By Jasmine Lasode

Last year, Jasmine Lasode beat hundreds of Londoners to be crowned the city’s Nike: On Air winner for 2018. The competition saw locals dream up sneaker designs inspired by their community, with the winning designers invited to work alongside Nike to bring their sneaker sketches to life.

As Jasmine’s design prepares to hit the streets, she breaks down the story behind her romance-inspired Air Max 97 ‘London Summer of Love’.

You’ve spent the past year creating your Air Max 97. How does it feel to know it’s finally arrived and about to hit the streets?

"I love seeing it on other people because until now I've only seen it on myself. Seeing it on other people gives it a whole new life really, so it's super exciting to actually see it on other people's feet."

Your sneaker is called ‘London Summer of Love’. Tell us the story behind the design.
"The inspiration behind the shoe is my girlfriend, Lauren. We went to Primrose Hill on our first date and we went to a corner shop, bought some drinks, went to the hill, sat there, listened to some music, watched the sun go down. Everything on the shoe is inspired by that special memory."

There’s so much to it! Take us right through the shoe and give us the inside track.
"So if you look at the shoe as a whole, I've used bright colours—and a lot of white— to represent summer. I hope you look at the shoe and think ‘summer vibes, good vibes’. If you look at it in more depth, the bottom panel—which is a shiny leather with a grid texture—is inspired by the floor of the corner shop we went to.

The bright colours and '97P' motif across the tape in the middle of the shoe comes from the bright, vibrant price tags you’ll always see on the fruit and veg in corner shops—plus the fact we’re working with an Air Max 97. And the ‘Air 24/7’ on the tongue comes from corner shops being open 24/7. On the back it says 'Good Chat'—that's Lauren's nickname. I wanted to get her on the shoe and when we first met, she saved her number in my phone as 'Lauren Good Chat', because she's got good chat!"

Love is a powerful thing! How has your girlfriend reacted to knowing that she’s inspired you to create something as cool as this?
She just hopes we don't break up! [laughs] I think she massively appreciates the gesture. It’s something very personal and love is special, so I think she was happy.

Has this relationship changed the way you view life, and love and creativity?

"Massively. My relationship has changed the way I look at creativity, because she's also very creative so together we work really well. It definitely has changed how I view love, too. And I never really used to use love in my work before. So moving forward with what's happened with this shoe, I think I’ll try and incorporate it into other elements of my work."

And how important was Primrose Hill as a point of inspiration? How much does that place mean to you?
"I've had a couple of memories on Primrose Hill. Falling in love with my girlfriend is the most prominent, but yeah, I really like Primrose Hill. The first time I came I thought the view is banging! So I like the view, it's a nice park...and even around Primrose Hill you've got those cool, colourful houses—I love colour, so I just like the whole aesthetic of the area. It’s an amazing place to be in summer."

You’ve spent the past year witnessing your shoe turn from imagination into reality. What’s been the most memorable moment of the experience?
"I mean, I still can’t believe I won the competition! But going to Portland was amazing and seeing the Nike HQ was unreal...I didn't realise how big it was. So that was super fun. That was also the first time I saw my AM97 in real life. Seeing the final sample later on was even more exciting because I knew that's what people were going to be wearing on their feet. That was so cool. Meeting all the other winners from around the world was inspiring too.

Working with Nike like that has been massive. Everyone that I met has been super nice and it’s given me a whole new respect for the sneaker industry as a whole. As a customer you only ever see the end product, but creating something from a sketch to a sample—it’s given me a new perspective."

And how do you want people to feel when they see the shoes, and when they wear them for the first time?
"I want them to just feel good vibes and summer vibes. I made this shoe out of love and happiness, so I just want someone to put it on and feel a little bit happier."