On Sunday, Tiffany & Co. and Nike officially announced their collaboration on the Nike x Tiffany & Co. Air Force 1 1837s. The shoe is being produced in honor of the 40th anniversary of Nike’s Air Force 1 and was teased over the weekend in a New York Times print ad of a Nike shoe box in Tiffany’s signature robin egg blue. The ad read “A Legendary Pair.” Shortly after this announcement, the sneaker collab made its way to social media platforms where that “legendary” sentiment is quite hard to find.
By Tuesday, sneakerheads and social media users largely dismissed the $400 Nike Air Force 1 Low Tiffany & Co. 1837 shoes– proclaiming them as a huge missed opportunity. The shoe is essentially an all black Air Force 1, already deemed a persona non grata of the shoe world, with a Tiffany blue swoosh and silver plated back.
Commentary now began to flood comment sections across Twitter and Instagram. Users intervened stating: “They’re not bad if you don’t look at them,” “Is this a joke,” “Just Don’t Do It,” “You are a luxury brand, this looks so cheap” and “The design team was high for this one.” On other pages of youth culture such as Highsnobiety, Hypebeast and on popular archive account @liljupiter, people were even less inhibited.
American rapper Reese LaFlare deemed the entire collaboration “T R A S H,” going on to state that “Nick Diamonds did it better,” in reference to the Diamond & Co. founder who in 2005 collaborated with Nike Skateboarding on what was later dubbed the “Tiffany Dunk.” That sneaker currently fetches over $3,000 on sneaker reseller StockX and remains highly acclaimed.
Just a short time after the initial announcement of the shoe, the internet made up its mind. The collaboration, cool in theory, lacks substance and the cultural integrity to pull off what now seems like an uneducated marketing ploy.
Christopher Morency, chief brand officer of Vanguards and the former editorial director of Highsnobiety summed it up best. “Cultural credibility cannot be bought. And it certainly can’t be reduced to a tired marketing template. Tiffany and Nike’s partnership failed on multiple levels. The bottom line: cultural credibility needs to be earned with respect for sneakerheads and their culture, not on their backs.”
Ultimately, the shoe highlights a lack of synergy and fluency with youth culture. Marketing efforts, while clever, lacked knowledge of sneaker culture and were limited by a great lack of imagination. Other creatives on the internet have reinvented their own version of the shoe, many of which are being celebrated by others. So while the Nike x Tiffany & Co collab is generating buzz that will likely lead to purchases, the general consensus on the shoe reflects a much less triumphant affair.