Behind the Design
atmos x Nike Air Max2 Light
Since 2001, Nike and Japanese retailer, atmos, have created classic, coveted sneakers, thanks to bold color and material explorations that bridge past and present. Last year, during a meeting in Portland, atmos’ Hirofumi “Koji” Kojima and Hidefumi Hommyo were excited to learn about the revival of a vibrant 1994 runner, the Nike Air Max2 Light. They wanted to make it their most extreme collaboration yet.
Koji, Hommyo, and Nike Sportswear designers created a new collection inspired by retro running gear and the intersection of various ‘90s subcultures. Koji, in particular, remembered a similar juxtaposition process from his youth — cutting and pasting magazine images onto his wall. The collection takes this collaged, ‘90s-focused approach to a jacket, pants, bag, hat, and two versions of the Air Max2 Light (one exclusive to atmos stores).
“The first Air Max2 Light colorway is a super flashy and aggressive combination of colors, while the other one is a more modest, black-based colorway,” says Koji, atmos’ Creative Director, who helped identify 12 vintage apparel references for the shoe’s patchwork. The shoe also features asymmetrical embroidery and screen-printing, pronounced stitching, and a clear, plastic version of the original, jagged overlay. Laces come in orange, yellow, and purple options.
“The ‘Animal,’ ‘Elephant,’ and ‘Safari’ are often remembered as [the main] atmos collaborations,” says Koji. “For the atmos x Air Max2 Light, our challenge was to create the future of Air Max with different, modern designs that would surprise sneakerheads. I believe we have successfully created new impressions of Air Max, which are uniquely ‘atmos’ at the same time.”