When Nike launches a new shoe it’s a big deal (like, a really big deal). So when the brand unveiled their new Air VaporMax sneaker back in March, fashion peeps and sneakerheads alike went berserk, trying to get their mitts on the innovative kicks that have come a long way since the original Air Max hit shelves in 1987.
While it’s only been a few months since the new Air VaporMax sneaks hit the market, Nike Toronto has been secretly working on a pretty rad project inspired by the sought-after shoe: to celebrate the launch of Nike Toronto Air Society, the brand has collaborated with three Toronto-based female fashion brands—Smythe, Markoo and Hayley Elsaesser—and asked them each to create three limited-edition looks, with each collection featuring an Air VaporMax colourway.
All three brands were also tasked with selecting a muse for their collections—someone that has inspired their designs. Smythe designers Andrea Lenczner and Christie Smythe chose financier and stylist Amy Patel (@lesbest), Markoo’s Tania Martins and Mona Koochek chose artist and painter Nadia Gohar (@nadia_gohar) and Elsaesser chose stylist and fashion aficionado Sandy Gill (@thesandylion).
The big reveal went down on the night of July 11, when three Queen West storefronts unveiled showcases of all nine looks from each of the designers along with the three Air VaporMax shoes. And trust us when we say, the pieces are basically athleisure chic at its finest. You can peep all the looks in the gallery below and if you want to get your hands on the pieces, everything is shoppable right now on www.air.to.
To learn a bit more about this uber-cool girl power collab, we grabbed a few minutes with Smythe’s Andrea Lenczner and Christie Smythe and their muse, Amy Patel.
How did your collaboration with Smythe/Nike come about?
Amy Patel: I have been supporting Andrea and Christie since their first pop-up at Holt Renfrew in 2008. Since I was working in finance, I knew I needed a tailored blazer that was beautifully made, cool and Canadian. I bought a piece at the pop-up and have been a fan ever since. I’ve followed their journey and vice versa. I literally had heart palpitations when I was asked [to be their muse]. It’s such an honour to be asked to be the muse of two brands you actually love and support naturally.
Smythe: Nike approached us with the idea of Nike Air VaporMax and Smythe coming together to breathe life into styling women in Toronto, and we have both been wearing the shoe since it dropped, so it was actually art imitating life.
Amy, can you tell us a bit about your style?
AP: I don’t think there really is a box that I stay in when it comes to my style. Each day is different and I dress based on my mood, how I am feeling and the woman I woke up channelling. It’s always a story, probably a dramatic one, too. I like to incorporate a lot of diversity with brands I believe in and support.
What is it about Smythe designs that makes you such a fan of the label?
AP: The designs are impeccably tailored and extremely beautiful. They are THE jacket you pack when you only have space to pack one. It’s the piece that people stop you to ask you about. And they are classic but in the most modern way possible—versatile, durable and can be worn by all body types.
Smythe, what is it about Amy that made you choose her as your muse for the project?
Smythe: Amy has been delighting us with her talent for styling for years. She wears Smythe in her unique way and is an Instagram favourite of ours. Amy is dynamic and inspirational. She works in the financial industry, is a fashion influencer and an athlete who pushes herself to new limits. She represents women who don’t want to be limited and have wide and varied interests and dress to reflect it.
What is your favourite way to style your Nike Air VaporMax shoes Amy?
AP: I love wearing mine with mom jeans and a crop, or a short leather skirt and graphic tee, and I also wear them on my a.m. commute with a power suit. With the Nike Air VaporMax, I always go sockless.
Why do you think shoes are such a key part of any outfit?
AP: All shoes weren’t made for walking or running—luckily Nike sneakers are meant for that and more with the added bonus of impeccable style. I always love a good rap reference, and when I grew up (dating myself here), it was all about G’d up from the feet up a la Dr. Dre. In street culture your sneakers garnered you respect, I think a part of that is why we prioritize brands we associate ourselves with and essentially tell those gazing in who we are.
Amy, this collaboration is all about showcasing amazing female talent in Toronto. How does it make you feel to be a part of such a cool, empowering project?
AP: I feel so lucky, I feel honoured, I feel all of those beautiful cosmic feelings. These women are all living their most beautiful version of themselves, doing what they love and I am truly so beyond grateful to be a part of this and their story. Andrea and Christie are just like their brand, relevant, versatile and timeless.
Why do you think Nike and Smythe are a great fit together style-wise?
Smythe: The innovation of the shoe combined with the transformative power of a good blazer can embolden a young woman to persevere and propel her toward her goals, whatever they may be. Nothing is more stylish than that.
Nike Air VaporMax x Hayley Elsaesser