Not an instant success
Thanks to the arrival of shoes like Virgil Abloh’s Off-White Nike Dunk Low Pine Green, the Nike Dunk, in a lot of cases, perhaps isn’t considered to be a great deal to look at. Its shared DNA with other notable Nike creations like the Air Jordan 1, and the Air Force 1 could maybe fool you into thinking the Nike Dunk is nothing more than a cheap imitation of these highly regarded and globally appreciated silhouettes.
On the flip side, however, for those who consider themselves “Sneakerheads”, the Nike Dunk is considered pretty universally to be one of the most important silhouettes in the whole of the trainer world.
Not an instant success, but making a lasting impression the Nike Dunk debuted in 1985. Only a few months late to the party that the Air Jordan 1 had started thanks to Michael Jordan’s influence on an America captivated by the court. Introduced to work in tandem with the already NBA incorporated Air Jordan 1. To outfit the growing number of NCAA Basketball programs. Unfortunately its influence failed to make the type of lasting impression “MJ’s shoe” did on a broader commercial audience…at the time.
But making a lasting impression
As the Nike Dunk saw an entire decade long hiatus from the spotlight. It wasn’t until 1998 that it was granted an opportunity to re-emerge. A re-emergence that many could call a rebirth. As the Nike Dunk silhouette worn by College basketball teams in the mid 1980s has seen its position in the trainer world entirely shift by 2002. Which ultimately became the key to the Nike Dunks success. Just as skate culture was popping in the mainstream. Nike SB adopted the Dunk and with it captured the imagination of an entirely new fan base for the Nike Dunk.
The Nike Dunk wasn’t only embraced by an entirely new community, but some of its most prominent features. Considered a novelty at the time. Have since become commonplace in the world of trainers. For the Nike Dunk can be accredited to bringing collaboration to the fore of some of its most popular designs like the infamous Nike SB Dunk Low x Jeff Staple Pigeon (2005). As well as introducing the world to the concept of limited supply. A move that catapulted the “Sneakerhead” community, and sneakers generally to the masses.
A lot of people call this shoe the shoe that catapulted sneaker culture to the masses.Jeff Staples
Coming round again
Unfortunately for the Nike Dunk its success, as is the nature of the trainer industry was its ultimate undoing. As production multiplied to try and capitalise on the shoes popularity, it dilute the market, and saturation only hurt the Nike Dunks commercial appeal. Thus leading to not for the first time in the Nike Dunks life, a decade long period in the shadows.
No matter, fashion, particularly trainer fashion, is comically circular in nature. Meaning in most cases, trends are gone for long. Sometimes it only takes a carefully manufactured collaboration to change a silhouettes fortunes. Something the Nike Dunk knows all to well, and so when Virgil Abloh the founder and creative mind behind the incredibly popular Off-White brand decided to drop his take on the Nike Dunk, naturally the dormant fan base for the Nike Dunk awakened.
Heading into 2020, the Off-White Nike Dunk Low Pine Green. Red Grey and University Gold have all been met with rapturous applause, and commercial success already. So just like with so many previous silhouettes. As soon as they are once again considered to be popular. The designs begin to flood out of factories and fashion weeks from around the globe. Just as they did in the early years of the turn of the century. Instead this time it isn’t the Diamond Supply Co. and Supreme collaborations flying the flag high for the Nike Dunk. Instead it is the Off-White Nike Dunk Low Pine Green, the Nike Dunk Raygun and the Nike Dunk Viotech all set to explode into 2020.
Off-White Nike Dunk Low Pine Green and the Dunks hitting 2020
Asides from the Virgil Abloh led portion of the Nike Dunks revival. There is of course another factor that is shooting the Nike Dunk back into the mainstream a near 30 years after its initial inception. When the Nike Dunk made it big in the early 2000s. It was attributed mainly to the extremely rare and potently exclusive collaborations spawned from the silhouettes work with Nike SB and a host of notable brands. These particular designs were kept so exclusive that are now years on, incredibly expensive, and almost impossible to get hold of.
For some this is a motivator, as collectors descend on the online trainers platforms in an attempt to get their hands on these rarest of models. Others however, who hold the Nike Dunk close to their heart still crave rare and popular collaborations with the silhouette, but don’t wish to be bidding in an auction in order to obtain them. Thus opening the door for a whole new and exciting plethora of collaborations to enter the mainstream. Potentially taking over in 2020. Whether we will see the same sort of hysteria that began in 2002 is still unclear. Yet one thing is for certain. The Nike Dunk is no longer laying dormant, it is very much alive and kicking.