Nike has collaborated with Virgil Abloh to launch the NikeLab Chicago Re-Creation Center. The space will be open throughout the summer and will act as a cultural hub complete with workshops, product launches and mentorship opportunities from Chicago’s most notable creative minds.

Prior to the opening to the general public, Nike held a media preview that included a panel discussion with some of those Chicago minds, plus one from Houston. The speakers included Common, Don C, Virgil Abloh, Keke Palmer, former WNBA player Cappie Pondexter, Ibn Jasper, and Travis Scott.

NikeLab Chicago Virgil Abloh
L to R: Common, Don C, Virgil Abloh, Keke Palmer, Cappie Pondexter, Ibn Jasper, Travis Scott

The discussion included stories of how growing up in Chicago influenced them and got them to where they are today. Stories about going downtown and shopping on Michigan Avenue, the street where NikeLab is located. “On one hand it’s just a street with a bunch of cool stores on it”, explains Virgil, “But on the other hand, for kids like us that grew up here, this was our gateway to the world […] We were all consumers. I was probably trying to find the pair of shoes that Don didn’t have, or the Gucci belt that Ibn didn’t think to get.”

With the NikeLab Chicago Re-Creation Center, Virgil hopes to open doors for the next generation of creative minds coming out of the city. “The only difference between today and back then, is there wasn’t necessarily a door to walk through to guide you in the right direction”, explains Virgil. “The idea with this is this door is open. Not only is it open, there’s tools in here to be creative and to get one step closer”.

NikeLab Chicago Virgil Abloh

The space will also operate as a recycling center for used sneakers. All footwear donations will be converted into Nike Grind, a material that Nike uses for a variety of outputs ranging from apparel to basketball courts. Nike Grind will be used as the foundation for a Virgil-designed basketball court for the youth of Chicago, set to be unveiled during All-Star Weekend in February 2020.

Nike Grind

The NikeLab Chicago Re-Creation Center will be open to the public from May 31 to July 28, 2019 at 673 N. Michigan Avenue. By registering through the SNKRS app, NikePlus members will have exclusive access to product drops and workshops led by Chicago creatives handpicked by Virgil. For more info, check out the Nike Chicago webpage.

June 8 Graphic Design with Chuck Anderson
June 15 Visual Arts with Alyx Harch
June 22 Photography with Paul Octavious
June 29 Art is a Playlist with Vic Lloyd
July 6 Design Identity with Norman Kelley
July 13 Architecture with Future Firm

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