To celebrate the launch of the Nike MMW 004 Collection, Kith interviews Matthew Williams to talk through the inspiration behind his latest collection with Nike, challenges faced, and more.
What is the core story you are telling through this collection?
It’s a story alike the past MMW collections, which is a story of modularity. It’s a versatile collection that can be worn to and from training, as well as a conversation around sustainability i.e. things that are sustainable but look new. The materials in the clothing are upcycled and recycled using sustainable fibers. Even the tread of the shoes also uses regrind on some of the colorways.
What was the inspiration for this collection?
I wanted something that was a continuation of the design language that we’ve developed in the past. However, originally this was made for the Tokyo Olympics. During the summer in Tokyo it’s extremely hot and can be uncomfortable. As a response I wanted to make something modular that compensated for the extreme heat. You can see that in the pants, adjusted to shorts, or the jacket that can become a vest with the cooling ice packs. It’s such a complex & beautiful piece with innovation that was developed for the Sydney Olympics by Nike. I tried to make a statement by unearthing it from the archive.
What distinguishes this collection from your previous ones with Nike? Do you see it as more of an evolution or a shift?
It’s an evolution from previous ones. We represent the collections as a numerical progression, this version being 004.
How long has this collection been in the works?
It’s a collection two years in the making.
Do you have a favorite product from this collection or a favorite detail you’ve incorporated?
I love the double sock! That double swoosh sock is super cool, iconic, and one of my favorite pieces to wear. It’s a staple that comes in every MMW Nike collection thus far.
Do you place greater value in form or function?
Neither take precedent and both are equally important, especially when creating training product for sport. This mindset is a standard when collaborating with Nike.
Are there any special features or call-outs you have about the products within the collection that people may not recognize at first glance?
The materials use recycled fibers although they appear new aesthetically. It’s representative of an important theory around sustainability- that it is a design choice and makers have the ability to make product that looks new through considerate choices for our planet.
Can you share a bit about the process behind the creation of your Nike Zoom 4?
We wanted to make something with a form never seen before, pushed as far as we could. Our mentality was to make a rocket ship. Essentially, we collaborated on an original outsole, which was the first time I’ve been able to do that. The Nike design team showed me the silhouette of the ISPA Road Warrior & it was crazy inspiring! The experience was exciting to receive an opportunity to collaborate with innovation such as Next% Zoom technology. I approached it with a counterintuitive mechanical cushioning plate enveloping the shoe. I can’t forget the color language of the upper! I was just really zoning in where there’s four or five tones of tans or reds with a lot of depth. We achieved a unique color language with this one, thanks to a lot of development to get all the coloration and tonality right. I’m really pleased with how the shoe came out.
What proved to be the most challenging and rewarding part of the process with this fourth installment?
Everything is challenging. Nothing is easy. Since the whole process was challenging, the whole project is rewarding.