NikeLab is a platform for creative exploration, driving new and unexpected outcomes through collaboration. The NikeLab x sacai partnership is the result of this journey. A shared passion for innovation and a bold expression of style served as the driving force behind the collaborative process, bringing to life a new women’s collection that transforms classic performance icons into functional sport hybrids.
Renowned for her disruptive aesthetic, sacai’s founder Chitose Abe began the design journey by mining the Nike archives and pulling references from running, tennis and American football, reinterpreting Nike’s heritage sportswear silhouettes through a feminine and modern lens. The resulting eight-piece capsule collection seamlessly blends the iconic look of sport with a feminine and modern edge.
“The idea of functionality is important to me, as is fabric innovation, which has always been at the heart of sacai,”Abe said. “For me, Nike is an original icon with performance and innovation at its core. It has been inspiring to work together.”
The shared appreciation for innovative materials and technology was paramount to the Nike/sacai design process. Together the partners explored different ways to utilize the materials at hand and also establish exciting new fabrications. Celebrating Nike’s most iconic material innovation, the collection places special emphasis on two different weights of Tech Fleece, which has been reimagined into five signature sacai styles including the crew sweatshirt, crew hooded sweatshirt, crew top, crew knee-length dress and sweatpants.
New fabric innovations include a special mesh lace hem that was specifically developed by Nike and Abe to adorn the trim of graphic Nike T-shirts. The detail pays homage to sacai’s cool and subversive take on femininity. Abe also applied her signature paneling to several of the garments. Through technical innovation, the partners were able to achieve this effect by pleating the classic ripstop fabric for the first time. Bonded zippers that are attached without any stitching are another example of advanced design.
“Abe has a fluidity and strength to her work that we feel is perfectly encapsulated within this collection,” said Kurt Parker, VP/Creative Director, Nike Sportswear. “The garments come to life as the wearer walks and moves, expressing both beauty and strength. We feel it’s a perfect marriage between sport and style.”
Nike’s design ethos — to celebrate the body in motion — dovetails perfectly with sacai’s vision. Through Abe’s language of juxtaposition, the classic Nike Windrunner is reinterpreted as a skirt featuring plissé-style pleating . A hooded sweatshirt is not all that it seems with a peplum detail. These nuanced designs provide elements of surprise as the wearer turns from front to back. The panels combine with strategically placed openings and underlays to create fluidity when the garments are still or in motion, capturing the essence of Nike design through a sacai filter.
“At Nike we study the body in motion,” Parker said. “Abe’s aesthetic and design sensibility naturally aligned with this focus and together we explored how to best express this notion during the development and material selection process. Abe’s unique take on movement re-contextualized the Windrunner in a completely new and unexpected way.”
The full collection comprises eight distinct pieces of apparel in various bold colorways pulled directly from the Nike sport archive: the Tech Fleece crew, Tech Fleece hooded sweatshirt with zip, Windrunner jacket, Sport Skirt, Graphic tee, Tech Fleece dress, Tech Fleece crew top with back zip and Tech Fleece pant.