Nike collaborates with Japanese artist for limited edition collection
Gone are the days when going to the gym involved your oldest, baggiest t-shirt and your washed out, unflattering track suit bottoms. Fitness and fashion have been building up their loving unison in recent years from both the independent brands such as Lorna Jane to the global brands such as Nike. Not only has the world become more active in recent years but women have become more demanding, wanting their workout wardrobe to match the quality and style of their day to day clothing. Brands, not least the major ones, have had to up their game as new competition pops up all the time. Adidas’s collaboration with Stella McCartney which started in 2004 marked a turning point.
The designer said at the time: “I really wanted to change what I saw out there. Sports clothing for women, in particular sports performance, was such an ill addressed subject. “The colours were very basic and there wasn’t much variation in design. I saw this as a real opportunity to put it right by offering women something they could work out in and still feel good about the way they look.”
Studies have proven that women feel better when they look good and clothing is a major factor in this. This is certainly no different when they’re in the gym, if not even more important. Many of us can feel self conscious enough so having the confidence a nice outfit can bring, is a huge bonus. Nothing puts a spring in my step to get out of the bed and hop to the gym more than when I have a nice new outfit or pair of kicks to don. A nice fitting pair of leggings with all the added contouring technology (a great example being the hugely flattering Lorna Jane core stability tights or Reebok compression tights) which is applied to designs now can do wonders and I certainly feel more motivated and confident when my clothing is good. There’s nothing worse than being surrounded by mirrors in a gym or studio and wishing you couldn’t see the reflection.
Nike’s latest project has taken this a step further however, blending fitness fashion with art, collaborating with Japanese abstract artist Yuko Kanatani for their recent Tight of the Moment project, one of the brand’s limited edition collections of leggings, sports bra and studio wrap shoes. This year’s first range will be on our shores for a short time as of April 2 in the Mall of the Emirates store. Using the brand’s uber flattering Dri-Fit fabrics, one of my personal favourites for slimming and lengthening my short legs, the patterns of the range are bold, enlivened with even bolder colours.
Kanatani says the bright colours were deliberately used to help brighten the mood of the people wearing her collection. “Mood impacts performance and since visuals influence one’s mood, I looked to create colorful and cheerful artwork. I wanted to lift the spirits, and thus the performance, of those wearing the tights.” As with any Nike pair of leggings, they are super comfortable on the body, silky satin fabric which just hugs in all the right places. They are a bit bright for some people’s taste with a plethora of colours, but when paired with a plain t-shirt or tank top, really make a lovely change from my usual black dominant workout wardrobe.
While some women run a mile when they see either bright colours or worse still patterns, let alone the combination, the clever design is in fact engineered specifically to flatter and accentuate. I was surprised by how flattering they were in spite of their big swirling patterns - of course nothing like the ‘safe’ black wardrobe staples but still very nice. Using the kaleidoskope patterns to highlight particular muscles in the legs such as the calves and quads to help add shape and create definition, Kanatani said was no mean feat but for anyone looking to add a little curve, these are perfect, adding contours in all the right places. Kanatani was asked to tailor her illustrations to a body map using athlete-informed data to show the location of an individual’s muscles and heating and cooling zones. Using this as her compass, the artist created three-dimensional drawings to match these key areas of the body. “At the beginning of the project, needing to match my drawings to a moving body was quite a hurdle,” Yuko says. “But it was also very inspiring and interesting to have outside direction and try something new.”
Updated: April 1, 2014 04:00 AM