The sacai x Nike sneakers have always been a "little" different from the other hyped collabs of recent years: they have a very strong sense of the Japanese designer's unique and special "cut & paste" style, and a unique "fallen apart yet unitary" overall effect.
At True to Sole you can get your hands on a variety of sacai x Nike sneakers, and in our blog post you can find out not only about the sneakers, but also about Chitose Abe, the woman behind the sacai brand!
The sacai style
For more than 10 years, it was only known in the Japanese fashion elite and hadn't yet made an impact into the Western market. It's characteristic cut & paste" style was already established here and it started designing men's clothes as well as small series womenswear. An interesting twist to the story is that it's first women's clothes were made from men's clothes, but with an unusual transformation to communicate a strong feminine message.
This particular "cut and paste style" is nothing more than taking pieces of clothing apart and reconstructing them, combining textiles and fabrics and pieces that others would not think of. Take, for example, the combination of shirts and sweaters that are at once rough-and-ready yet exude a kind of dishevelled elegance - now that's sacai style!
Sacai first appeared at Paris Fashion Week in 2009. At first, Abe mysteriously shared the new pieces in a tight circle. The big runway in Paris had to wait until 2011, where the public immediately jumped on the fresh and innovative collection.
The first Nike collab
The Nike x Sacai collaboration began long before the doubled" sneakers, with NikeLab in 2015, the more daring, experimental sub-brand of the tick brand.
The designer continued to think of pieces from Nike's archives in his own futuristic style, and a two-tone Air Max 90 sneaker offered a glimpse of what to expect in sneakers.
Nike x Sacai releases:
sacai x Nike LDWaffle
The silhouette is a "composite" of the LDV and Waffle Racer models, with the retro running shoe-style sneaker's upper is a combination of mesh, leather and split leather. The "doubling" characteristic of sacai shoes is also seen here, in the form of two ticks, tongue and laces.
The first blue/red/yellow and yellow/green/orange colourways of this LDWaffle collab sneaker were released in May 2019, followed by a green/purple/yellow version in September. The "Nylon" range dropped in March 2020, in much more low-keyed black and white colours with different fabric choices. And the latest generation of LDWaffle is a trio of collabs featuring Fragment, Clot and other big names, dropped in August and September 2021 respectively.
sacai x Nike Vaporwaffle
Released in November 2020, the silhouette combines the iconic Nike Pegasus and innovative Vaporfly models. As with previous Sacai collaborations, the shoe's main features are a double sole, double lace, and double tick, and the Waffle name is given to the shoe for the four-layer waffle patterned sole that rolls up the back. The use of materials on this sneaker is also very varied: mesh, split leather, painted leather.
sacai x Nike Blazer Low
The designer has also tackled both high and low-top Nike Blazer models. Back in May and October 2019, she released the Nike Blazer high-top remake, followed by the low-top Low version in Classic Green and Magma Orange in Spring 2021, followed by the brownish British Tan in August.
Obviously the heights are different, but there are similarities in construction, use of materials and overall look: double side-sole, double Nike tick, double tongue and double lacing, asymmetrical lines, vintage look.
The soul of sacai: Chitosi Abe
The name of Japanese designer Chitose Abe has been relatively unknown to sneaker and streetwear aficionados for a long time, even though she created the brand sacai (derived from her maiden surname) back in 1999. And her interest in clothes and fashion goes back even further: she loved working with fabrics and textiles as a child, and was known for her unique style of dressing in high school.
There was no question that she would choose a career in fashion design, after graduating from Nagoya Fashion College and starting to work in fashion, the first big milestone in her career was when she joined the Comme des Garcons team, where she gained a lot of experience.
Chitose married and after the birth of her daughter, she launched her own brand in 1999. It is something of an oddity in the world of mammoth fashion brands, but to this day she is still 100% owner of Sacai. She likes to stay in the background and shares very little about herself and the operation of the brand with the world.
The sacai story is based on a post by Máté Iszak on the sneakerbox.hu blog.