Human Made designer Nigo, who founded BAPE and is the artistic director for Kenzo, is planning a collaboration with Nike. The partnership is noteworthy because Nigo has worked with Adidas for the past 20 years, a relationship that began with Nigo was still leading BAPE. Nigo last collaborated with Adidas through his Human Made label with a collection that dropped in November 2022.
The news was first reported by Complex which didn’t received a response when it reached out to Human Made parent company Otsumo for confirmation. While the news hasn’t been confirmed, Nigo was spotted wearing Nike Flyease sneakers in a recent Instagram image featuring Williams and Verdy, a Japanese designer.
Nigo’s recent transformation warrants examination, given his position as creative director for Kenzo, a label owned by LVMH. In recent years, when LVMH-owned labels have partnered with major athletic brands, they have aligned with Nike-owned entities only, such as Nike and Louis Vuitton, or Jordan and Dior. Notably, the company has not collaborated with Adidas, which has previously partnered with Kering-owned brands, including Balenciaga and Gucci, LVMH’s competitor.
It calls into question whether Pharrell Williams, who was recently announced as Louis Vuitton men’s creative director, will continue his nine-year relationship with Adidas. Indicating he will continue to work with the brand for the near term, recent images surfaced of an upcoming Adidas Samba designed by Williams.
When Adidas announced it’s fourth-quarter earnings in early March, new CEO Bjørn Gulden made note of the appointment. “Pharrell now also being the lead designer for LVHM on the men’s side is, of course, probably the hottest designer out there or creative at all,” he noted. “And him moving to Paris and being closer to us will, of course, also be very, very important for us.”