Fashion and style are often looked at as two different entities - fashion is the business, while style is more a question of personal taste. As my style continuously evolves, it always remains intrinsically different. In the age of blogging and social media, I've often felt both a sense of kinship with fellow fashion weirdos but also, still a bit of an outcast when it comes to generating likes, hearts and emojis. Prevailing trends have become somewhat homogenous, across Instagram, Pinterest and influencers. Can there be early adoption in the style world anymore thanks to the internet? Is personal style still personal, or is it all for public display?
Growing up, I was always most happy when I was taking style risks. Within the risks, there are always a few elements that I take into account when selecting pieces and creating looks to the pieces that I select still fit into my overall signature look. The "athleisure" trends is something that was always organic to me, mixing skate shoes and sneakers with dresses, long before Vogue and Chanel followed suit. Sporty spice elements and comfort are necessary in all almost all of my ensembles. "High and low" dressing, wearing high fashion brands and more accessible labels, is now de rigueur. As Zara outfits and Nike sneakers are oft paired with Chanel bags and Celine glasses (guilty). Finally, I like special pieces and texture. The mark of an interesting outfit is always in the mix of textiles as wearing the same fabric head to toe, even in different colors and patterns, seems a bit safe. Adding a fur, leather or suede elements to say, neoprene or cotton adds dimension and interest that I love.
Keeping all these elements in mind, I was ecstatic when I heard that Japanese brand Sacai was collaborating with Nike Lab, Nike's most progressive and fashion forward label. Chitose Abe, Sacai's founder and designer, used to work for Comme des Garçons, under one of my idols - the legend Rei Kawakubo. Abe's designs are often made with interesting and unique textiles, incorporating cool details and plenty of movement. It's a much more progressive brand choice than other athletic wear collaborations as of late. The first iterations of collection caught my eye, but I didn't have a chance (or at the time, the $$$) to invest in a few pieces. Naturally, I was over the moon when a package from Nike Lab showed up on my doorstep a few weeks ago.
The packaging itself is special, as my jacket came in a large, cloth garment bag and hanger that was branded with the collaboration's logos (Nike always remembers these small touches). Inside was Abe's unique take on the infamous windrunner, Nike's marquee lightweight jacket. The hood and body of the jacket is completely covered in faux fur made from acrylic and polyester, while the arms made of ripstop fabric feature prominent Nike branding.
The actual shape of windrunner is different too, as it's loose fitting with a trapeze coat type of cut similar to the swinging jackets of the 1960's. There is a elastic cord with toggles along the bottom hem of the jacket that allows you to adjust the flare of the trapeze shape, but it's most fun to wear the jacket unbunched at the hem so it flounces as you walk (or spin - you definitely need to spin in this jacket). The loose fit coupled with the heavier weight of the faux fur means that when the jacket is worn open, it hangs off the shoulders, allowing for more movement, rather than a snug fit.
Styling the jacket, especially given the volt (neon lime green) and midnight blue colorway, was a bit of a challenge. I wanted the rest of the outfit to echo the three main elements of the Nike Lab x Sacai jacket - high fashion, sporty styling, and a textural melange. I decided to pair the bright jacket neutral colors and relatively basic silhouettes rendered in interesting fabrics. My top is a black Elizabeth and James crop top with a mesh insert between the bust. Since the jacket is so detailed and covered up, I wanted to show a little skin to balance it out and wear black so the colors popped against the top. The shorts are by Rick Owens and are made of cream silk with a drop crotch silhouette. They're simple, but interesting and not always the easiest to wear when you're thicker in the thigh department like me. Much like the top there is a sheer element as the shorts are somewhat see-thru and the length also allows me to not be so swallowed up by fabric - long, wide pants felt too heavy paired with the jacket. To add a little more interested and cover myself up a tad, I wore Pretty Polly tights under the shorts. They tie the top with the shorts as the tights are both black and sheer and give a bit of a graphic, streetwear element to the look.
The shoes are the Nike Roshe Run Print and are courtesy of the fine people at Champs Sports. The sneakers, like the rest of the outfit besides the jacket, are black and white with some visual interest thanks to the print. I was originally planned to wear black and white block heels, which also works for the look, but decided against it to show that even a short girl can wear such a voluminous piece like the windrunner without having to add extra inches. Since we shot in daytime on an overcast day, I kept my Celine sunglasses handy.
Personally, I love the jacket. It allows me to make a personal style statement without having to even open my mouth. It's impossible to be a bad mood when you wear the windrunner because it's so unique and equal parts utilitarian and ostentatious. Fashion should be fun, and personal style should make you feel happy, empowered and most importantly, like the very best version of yourself. After all, who doesn't want to look like an high fashion muppet? Grover wishes he could be this chic!
The jacket retails for $800 US but is unfortunately completely sold out on Nike.com. However there are a few popping up on eBay if you're so inclined. The shoes are available at Champs now for $80 US. More outfit images and the Polyvore shopping guide for the rest of my look is below, using a mix of exact and similar items. Thanks for reading and let me know how you would style the Nike Lab x Sacai windrunner or if you'd be daring enough to wear it yourself!
All photos by Pierre Richardson.