[STYLE] INSIDE THE A-COLD-WALL* x NIKE INSTALLATION & COLLABORATION AT NIKE LAB LONDON
Designer Samuel Ross has established himself as a fundamental, visionary figure in British fashion. Incorporating challenging concept ideas with contemporary technical design, A-Cold-Wall* has transformed traditionally utilitarian materials and cuts into captivating ready-to-wear fashion and artistic installations. He and his brand created an unmistakably, engaging design installation at London’s Nike Lab 1948 in commemoration to the designers latest sneaker and apparel collaboration with sportswear giants, Nike. Ross has lived and breathed the swoosh brand since his early years. Offsetting his love for the brand by buying a fake pair of Nike’s on a Northampton council estate for £20 after relocating from Brixton. The swoosh’s special projects team have now facilitated past sneaker collaborations, assisted Samuel to fund his first runway show last year which featured a Nike x ACW* Air Force 1 and has played host to Ross’ immersive experiential design installations. He explains a few days before his collaboration “Selling fake T-shirts, sifting through TK Maxx for whatever Nike I could find: that used to be my life. It’s been a long relationship!”
A level-up from Samuel’s last collaborative creation with Nike, Ross has taken on the alternative model of choice, that being the Nike Vomero +5. The silhouette consists of an aggressive outer body, an aspect that resembles industrialisation. The +5 model has a hi-tech aesthetic, the outer components of the shoe are exposed stripped from the PU coatings promising with wear discolored, yellowish tone. Implementing that the shoes are intended to sculpt, age and enhance with wear, provoking a genuine relationship with each pair for the consumer. At full scale, the model receives an exquisite attention to detail with A-COLD-WALL* trademarks seen on the inner sole, enlarged heel and toe. Branding found as Swooshes on the lateral and medial sides of the sneaker.
The collaboration provides a platform for Samuel Ross to debut his four-piece capsule collection amalgamates Nike’s athletic functionality with A-COLD-WALL*’s signature industrial workwear by co-branding and tonal detailing seen throughout. Consisting of an industrial long sleeve, modifiable grey hybrid parka jacket crafted from a fine Japanese nylon that adjusts shape with heat and wear, alongside a set of athletic drawstring track pants, complete with zippers on the ankles. The design elements and technical materials is an accurate match for ACW*’s blood type. Ross said “Cropping the pant and adding this tension around the back of the knee joint really gives it a very stark and staunch and hostile feel,”
It was important for ACW* lovers to not just stand in a long queue to cop – they had to actually engage with space he’s built. and find themselves taken to a new environment. Made up of three distinctively Nike x A-Cold-Wall rooms, installation guests were greeted by Room 1 that was a windy metal mesh maze that directed you to a low doorway and entering a tight cinema room. “This is really a jump forward in me finding a way to speak through architecture outside of the runway,” he says.
“The installation is comprised of three different sensory experiences,” – “There’s no way to buy the collection without going through this experience first.” – Samuel Ross
In the cinema room, guests could watch films play on loop, some guests even watching the film many times over before realising and then being nudged by staff – Previewing an unseen official editorial film, which shows the model sporting the collection in an open landscape.
After the dark space, beaming down was a white fluorescent light making up the final room. Positioned center of the room was a collaborative installation created with students of the Architectural Association (AASCHOOL) – the garments elegantly hang above a circuit of delicate, minuscule terracotta clay pyramid.“When you walk on the floor, they will crack… by the end of tomorrow it’ll just be piles of rubble,” Ross says. As demonstrated in ACW* team member, Ace Harper’s Instagram story – The clay pyramids weren’t just to mesmerize visitors, installation goers were allowed to stand and crush them, interacting with the clothes, eventually leaving the structures will soon be entirely smashed.
For those that had missed the experiential installation, neither panic, just be faster – the capsule collection will be released at the end of the month (November 29) by Nike and will be available in Dover Street Markets worldwide.