At the PSFK Conference New York 08, Jeff Staple of Staple Design talks about the process he went through to develop new shoes for the Nike Considered range. He discusses how a company that doesn’t come from the green arena can make moves to get sustainable and avoid the backlash.
The project was code name Ecotech, environmentally sustainable shoe. Richard Clark was getting no love from Nike. You have a $15billion company with 2000 shoes with no regard to the environment at all. So if we set resources to make one shoe to save the environment, what do the other 1999 styles say? He needed to come together with a brand of radicals within Nike, had to go to an outside agency which was Staple Design because we’d been doing work with them before. So having to change hears is a very different paradox to work with. We had to change people’s opinions one person at a time. We developed a shoe – these were early sketches. What does it have to do? What are the checkpoints to allow us to call it environmentally sustainable? Goes from materials to manufacturing, production, even through sales and marketing. Everything has to be green. And these are some of the images (SHOWS PICTURES). Ended up calling it Nike Considered. In our space downtown, we did the launch for it. Nike has to deal with the backlash. We don’t want to come off as saviors, turn into bad PR. People think we’re trying to brush away what happened with our labor issues. It was gorilla, grass roots. It was about innovation and technology and doing something good with that. But it wasn’t saving the world. We converted our space into a workshop so that my mission was to dispel any doubt people might have had, what’s hiding up Nike’s sleeve? We laid it all out. There is not glue, toxins, adhesives, every piece is renewable, no air freighting. We had to show and prove. We nailed shoes to the wall split them open, and proved it to everybody. Here is Air Jordan next the green one. It’s all about high performance, $200 footwear, and then buy the next one. But this one, #23, the final Air Jordan, is completely made with Considered sensibilities in it. But there’s no PR behind it at all. It’s the evolution from that to that. The idea is to get people into this culture is to buy it and discover it on their own. So the evolution from what we did in 2002 to now 2008, people in the NBA now playing in a green shoe. You can say what you want about Nike, but it is an amazing thing. If you can turn a big ship just a little bit, it’s amazing what the ripple effect can be.
The full video from this panel will be available soon on http://psfktv.blip.tv