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  • Union Nike Field General Chris Gibbs

    Nike Air VaporMax Flyknit 3 Black

“Новые кроссовки nike downshifter 9 бег.”

  Chris Gibbs on covering larger ground with the design

Urlfreeze News: Before we get into the shoes, Union recently posted the video campaign for the project. Can you walk us through it?
 
Chris Gibbs: Basically we’ve been trying to pay homage to football cleats, but didn’t want it to be a football story. Obviously we’re not going to ignore the fact that it’s a football cleat, but rather, embrace a secular take on it.
 
How we did that in the video, we leaned into the culture around the sport of football vs. what’s within. The musicians featured in the video are all on college marching bands which is obviously a major part of football culture. The trumpet player is from Grambling State University, the field major is from FAMU. So not only is it touching on football, it’s also leaning into HBCUs. We didn’t want to be exactly on the nose; this is a culture story, a community story, a melting pot of culture where sport meets art.

  • union nike field general story union u

    Union LA presents the “Union U” Capsule

“Hot take – the most successful shoes have been the most hated.”

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So how this this project happen?
 
A few years ago — maybe three years — I put together a design and presented it to Nike. I played football in 1988 and my youngest son plays High School football now. It just brought together a cool emotion, but I thought Nike would give me a weird response, like why would I want to do a football cleat?
 
They told me “you’re third in line, buddy” because it turns out that Travis Scott and Virgil Abloh had also pitched the Field General for a collaboration. Maybe two years after that, they came back to me and asked if i was still interested in the idea.
 
I think it’s fair to say that the Union Field General looks nothing like what the consumer is seeing in the Field Generals that are on store shelves now.
 
As far as design, 10 outta 10 times, we’re going be doing something new. We’re always trying to push the envelope and always trying to be unique. Новые кроссовки nike downshifter 9 бег. We took bits and pieces of every design and expanded our reference points with the Nike Field Shark which is another football cleat/shoe. The Dunk is also my favorite shoe of all-time. With almost every project I work on, I ask myself – How can I make it look like a Dunk? I don’t know if that’s good or bad (laughs), but that’s where i’m at.
 
In this case, there’s always a much bigger degree of difficulty when it comes to fucking with the sole. It takes a lot of money and resources to develop the bottoms, so usually everything is about the upper and the sole stays the same. But Nike gave us the opportunity to fuck around with the sole. It’s completely custom, and even has our own brand on it. Truly honored to be able to do that.

  • union nike field general moodboard

    Union’s original pitch deck for the Field General Provided by Chris Gibbs

  • Union Nike Field General Pitch Deck 1

    Union’s original pitch deck for the Field General Provided by Chris Gibbs

  • union nike field general pitch deck 2

    Union’s original pitch deck for the Field General Provided by Chris Gibbs

  • Union Nike Field General Pitch Deck 3

    Union’s original pitch deck for the Field General Provided by Chris Gibbs

  • Union Nike Field General Pitch Deck 4

    Union’s original pitch deck for the Field General Provided by Chris Gibbs

  • Union Nike Field General Pitch Deck 5

    Union’s original pitch deck for the Field General Provided by Chris Gibbs

“They told me “you’re third in line, buddy” because Travis and Virgil had also pitched the Field General…”

  Chris on Nike’s response to his Field General pitch

Sneaker collaborations don’t seem to have the impact as they once did, but Union has never had trouble in regards to getting a public response, even when it’s the most polarizing.
 
Hot take – the most successful shoes have been the most hated. I don’t sit down and try to make a shoe that people hate obviously, because we’ve gotten a lot of love on this to be honest. But I think it’s my favorite Nike shoe we’ve done for sure because it’s the one we got to do the most with. We got to fuck with the sole!
 
If you look back at our Air Jordan 4 and other collabs we did with Nike/Jordan, we got to mess with the upper, but the soles always stayed the same. Actually when we sent in our first design, we didn’t even design a new sole because we just assumed it would stay as is. It was Nike that actually came back and pushed us to do something new with the bottoms.
 
These Field Generals are also the closest to what i’d like to wear every day because I like low-profile toes like the Dunk. So I definitely want to run it back, do different colors. This shoe is special because it’s really unlike anything on the market. If the consumer does have the fatigue with collaborations, these are something completely new; the source material (the Field General) may be old, but these are completely new.

  • union nike field general guava ice 6

    Oreo VaporMax 2020

  • Union Nike Field General White Black 1

    Oreo VaporMax 2020 AJ1 provided by Image NY

  • Union Nike Field General Guava Ice 1

    Oreo VaporMax 2020 AJ1 provided by Image NY

  • union nike field general story shoes 1

    Union LA x Nike Field General “Guava Ice” and “Ivory”

  • union nike air force 180 feature

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“That’s the whole inspiration — putting in the work when nobody is watching.”

  Nike lo fichó

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It’s all of the above. For the AJ1, they initially came to me to do apparel, but we added the shoes as a capsule collection. We went at Jordan aggressively to the Air Jordan 4, and the same with the Dunk. What I have to do, is spend a lot of time on a deck and SELL them on the idea. I’m always having to sell the narrative and the design, and Nike has to be sold on the idea. Then there are the times Nike will come to me, like with the Cortez.
 
Any instances where you and Nike didn’t necessarily see eye to eye on things?
 
Kinda, sorta. The Air Jordan 2 collaboration we ended up launching was much later than they requested. They wanted it after the Air Jordan 1, but we really pushed for the Air Jordan 4 and wanted to work our way to that.
 
Final thoughts?
 
I’m just really excited for these. The Field General is really my favorite Nike we’ve done. My youngest son plays High School football in Los Angeles. We’ve been going on recruitment trips. Everything is coming together, and I can’t wait for everyone to see all the marketing and i’m just excited for the launch.
 

The Union LA x Nike Field General will release on unionlosangeles.com on June 27th in the “Guava Ice” and “Ivory” colorways.

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