This past Thursday, January 26th, we had the celebration that set the tone for our entire year. A year based on past, present, culture, and community. We had the most amazing opportunity to host and celebrate the launch of a product that we have been keeping a secret for some time now, the Air Max 95 Vibram 2006 by Stash x Recouture. Celebrating the creation of a product that in its own sense, is quite literally historic was incredibly surreal for us and we thank you all for supporting us enough to create the space and platform to do so. We wanted to share the project that has been underway for the past year with you all, and take you on the journey of how it came to be and its significance to us. From the party itself, the editorial shoot, the product breakdown, the history of Stash and Recouture- everything that led up to this moment that you are reading about now.
There are also some sections written by Thomas Rampino who is one of the key players in how this project came to fruition, along with Naoki, our buyer himself.
Here in this journal, is everything we have been wanting to show you involving this special project!
We are no stranger to the genius over at Recouture- Shibuya based shoe artisans and reconstruction masterminds who have been swapping soles and playing with textures for some time now, reviving some of the most beloved shoes for their clients. When the opportunity for a special project arose that combined the genius and creativity of Recouture with Stash, we were all in. Both paid homage to their roots, channeling their energy into one of the greatest sneaker silhouettes of all time, the Air Max 95.
Recouture applies their signature style of footwear repair, consisting of a welt down construction, EVA midsole, and Vibram outsole, to Stash’s game changing but no longer wearable 2006 released Air Max 95. Stash applied paint speckles to the new midsole as a way to pay homage to the original midsole design which featured a factory printed speckled midsole, elevating the shoe beyond its intended function and making every pair a unique work of art by these two icons in their own right.
Further commemorating the collaborative efforts between the two, each pair comes in a special rendition of Recouture’s standard packaging. In addition to painting each shoe, Stash personally customized the packaging with spray paint at his studio in Brooklyn in the weeks leading up to the project.
An integral part of this project was the friends and family event we had on the 26th honoring the product’s conception. A specially curated evening intended to bridge familiar faces across generations. Master tastemakers and great friends Lawrence Young and Wil Whitney controlled the crowd with their vinyl sets while buzzing conversations over drinks filled both the front and back rooms of the store. We even had some of Stash’s designed Brooklyn Best Peach Tea cans provided by his studio to serve. To further capture this moment in time, we produced a limited run of T-shirts that feature the shoe and the details of the project and the evening, which you can check out here:
Two nights before the event, we underwent a serious face lift, courtesy of Stash himself. While New Yorkers were winding down for the night, we opened our doors and our wall to Stash, who created a piece of artwork for us - right on our very wall. We turned on the lights, blasted some tunes- and Stash popped off the caps of his spray paint cans going to town on a wall in the back room of our very store. That’s correct, an almost floor to ceiling original from Stash now covers our wall with a signature spray paint nozzle motif overlaying the background gradient in theme of the Air Max 95 we are releasing from the collaboration. Quite a centerpiece for the party, and a permanent reminder of the historic collaboration we are incredibly honored to be a part of.
We captured the editorial shoot on one of the coldest days of 2022 in Brooklyn. It was important to encapsulate the energy of the shoe beyond just the digital screen.
Our model and friend of the store, Waqas, was styled by our very own Buyer here at Blue in Green, Naoki- who outfitted him in a the Kapital 60/40 Cloth Burger Keel Vest (Snow Fade) Green, the Kapital Napped Lining KESA Parka (Kountry) in sax, Cee Jeans C212 in Light Wash, and Kapital Mohair Knit Journey Gloves in Yellow. Photographer, Michael B Janey, shot the editorial, and Jean Padilla captured behind the scenes shots to embody the essence of the shoot and its production.
Here is a breakdown of the project by Thomas Rampino of co.Rampino, director of ‘Kind of Blue’.
“By nature, this project is a pushback of the concept of planned obsolescence. We live in a culture of constant consumption - and after unlearning a lot of what I’ve picked up by growing up and out into the world, I really can only appreciate goods created with strong intentionality - in their craftsmanship, utility, and overall reason to exist. I think many people feel this way too, and it’s a gradually increasing ideal. This is one of the reasons why I admire Blue in Green so much as a store. The way Naoki curates the products in store is commendable to say the least. This project challenges the concept of a product release. Do we really need 20, 50, or 100 thousand units produced for the launch of a product to be celebrated? I don’t think so. We made 10.
Stash’s Air Max 95 from 2006 is the best pair of 95’s that Nike has ever produced. It’s no surprise that the shoe is viewed as the tip of the iceberg for the level of incredible and influential work Stash has been contributing to the world since the 80’s, impacting style and culture on a global level. From inspiring the legends of the legendary Ura-Hara movement to creating footwear projects resonating with the purest connoisseurs of sneaker culture- the name Stash reigns, having impact across many fronts. In addition to being a pioneer of the graffiti movement, his early experimentations making tee shirts caused a major wave, involving himself in the bubbling industry we now refer to as streetwear. From starting brands Subware, Recon, Not From Concentrate and having worked with some of the best out there, including A Bathing Ape, Mad Hectic, Burton, Undercover, Supreme, Medicom Toy, Acronym, Maharishi, Nike, and more, Stash in instrumental in birthing and spreading the culture around streetwear and sneakers through groundbreaking contributions of products, concepts, and collaboration.
Unfortunately, the soles on a lot of older sneakers lose their functionality, and with enough age they will eventually crumble. This all started out of the desire to be able to wear one of my favorite shoes again.
The Air Max 95 has a strong significance globally, and certainly in Japan. It was one of those models that attracted more than just a sneaker connoisseur, but a mainstream audience. And this is happening right around the time when Stash touched down in Japan, starting what became a legendary run that had a huge impact on Ura-Harajuku, the movement that is largely responsible for laying the streetwear foundation, and thus, large parts of the fashion industry as we know it today.
I discovered the work of Shun through the internet years ago, but it was only until Blue in Green started carrying Recouture in store that I finally got to experience the product in hand. I saw someone in the city wearing a pair of Recouture Air Force 1’s with an LV monogram swoosh, and they shared that they got them from BiG. Anyway, Shun has such a masterful way of marrying traditional footwear repair with specially selected shoes, tastefully pairing the leather welt-down construction, midsole, and outsole choices with the original shoes’ upper. Anyone in tune with sneaker culture of the past will quickly see that he has quite an eye and taste level that he operates with, not to mention an expert quality when it comes to the execution of repair techniques.
I first started coming around Stash’s studio around last February, and we were looking for ways to work together. Initially I felt a lot of pressure to come up with something incredible. Looking back, that pressure was unnecessary because everything quickly started to fall into place with this. A major theme of this project is the idea of bridging the old with something new. Finding relevant ways to pay homage to the past while tastefully navigating in the present and moving towards the future. I think it’s crucial with product production, it’s something we can’t lose the culture of. Things are moving too fast, and modern “innovation” is cutting corners, not building on top what’s proven and what works. I think a lot of companies have an incredibly difficult time steering brands in a way that authentically continues or highlights their narrative or heritage, it’s kind of hard to watch as a true connoisseur or one with appreciation of a product or brand. This is also one of the many reasons why Shun and the approach of Recouture are very important- they tie in all these aspects of old and new respectfully and tastefully, and without adding waste, but actually salvaging a cultural artifact and presenting it in an entirely new way.
Pairing these themes and elements all together in this shoe, and reissuing it with Stash’s blessing in New York City, everything just makes so much sense. Recouture is a new force to be reckoned with, having the ability to restore life into a product in a way that a mass production reissue of a shoe can’t quite capture. Stash is a living legend, with the impact of his work resonating strongly with legends of the Ura-Hara movement as well as the most pure sneakerheads from more golden years of sneaker culture. Creating an intricate web of overlapping narratives is ultimately what gives the product its’ glow. Glad to present these to the world.
The product editorial visuals are a reference to an iconic 1997 issue of Boon Extra, a phenomenal sneaker mag coming out of Japan back in the day. It’s said that this very issue was what inspired Nike to go on to actually name their Air Max silhouettes after the released year, appropriating a timeline laid out in this magazine to help make sense of the overlapping re-releases and reissues of everyone’s favorite and in demand shoes. The classic neon colorway of the 95’s was reintroduced in 1997, but was claimed as the air max from ‘95 in this issue to delineate them to the initial year they were released. The cover photo of this issue perfectly portrays the details of the silhouette. After having a copy of the issue sitting on my dresser and in my collection for years now, it finally felt like the right time to recreate the moment with my own spin, considering all aspects and elements of the project, and the location of where they will live. A special thank you to my good friends Ty and Miles, for bringing this to life with me, and staying up so late in the night to do so.”
Once the project was greenlighted, Thomas sourced 10 pairs of the original pair of Air Max 95’s, unusable in their current condition. Some were brand new, some were lightly worn, all were either broken or on the verge of becoming unusable. Naoki shipped them to Shun’s atelier in Shibuya after a couple of back and forth communication ironing out some of the details. Once the initial sample was approved, all 10 shoes were recrafted and sent back to New York. They came back to Brooklyn where Stash sprayed the midsole, packaging, and tissue paper in his studio, and then finally returned to the store to be celebrated and sold.
Playing into the cross generation and upcycling theme of the project, previous collaborator with Blue in Green and incredible seamstress Makayla Wray joined in to add an entirely new element to the project. She comes from a technical background, and believes strongly in the power of clothing reparation, reconstruction, and alteration. Her values and beliefs tie in so strongly with the project, and creating new from something old. The bags for the shoes Makayla created, utilized fabric pieces and hardware she had already in her studio making them all incredibly unique and one of one's, just like the shoes. Explore Makayla's work and world here.
As a bonus for this collaboration of historic magnitude, we wanted to pay homage to Stash’s history as a creative and how he exists in different worlds as an artist. For the event, Stash offered to sell a variety of vintage gear out of his personal collection for people to shop. T-shirts, windbreaks, jackets, sweatshirts, hats- all from the Stash archives of his personal projects consisting of vintage deadstock pieces from his labels Subware, Project Dragon, and Recon.
Kind of Blue,
What a way to start off the year, a celebration of artists, upcycling, product, people, and community. Thank you to everyone involved, from everyone who came out to our celebration event, Wil and Lawrence for providing wonderful tunes that night, our staff members Estiee and Sydney who designed the T-shirt and Soy who printed them, Alex our E-Commerce photographer, Waqas our editorial model, Michael B Janey the editorial photographer, Jean who captured behind the scenes shots, Ty who captured the product editorial and Miles who took care of the lighting and set design, Makayla, the Recouture Team, Stash, Thomas, our buyer Naoki, our co-owners Yuji and Geoffrey, everyone in between, and of course- our Blue in Green family. This truly, was such an incredible experience for us and we are so honored to have been a part of it.
We are donating profits from the sale of the shoes to THE DOOR’s Art Program, designed to help the youth develop an understanding of the critical role of art to promote self expression, personal creativity, healthy development, advocacy and leadership across a span of disciplines in the literary, visual and performing arts. It was very important for us to give back with this project, and the values of THE DOOR’s Art Program align very much so with ours. This whole project isn’t about generating revenue, but adding value. We really appreciate THE DOOR being able to provide these types of opportunities for young people to connect and engage with the arts. We need much more of that. Learn more about THE DOOR here, and all the amazing things the organization does.
We can’t wait for what is up next.
That is all folks.
Thank you so much for reading. We hope you enjoyed this in depth journal entry about everything involving the ‘Kind of Blue’ project.
Written by Thomas Rampino and Madeline Hutchens