In the second year of the collaborative Flyleather Pack, artist Ruohan Wang is using her fanciful and vibrant designs to evoke hope and optimism in Nike’s mission to move to zero carbon and waste.
As part of Nike’s Move to Zero, we have partnered with Berlin-based illustrator Ruohan Wang to redesign three classic silhouettes — the Air Force 1, the Blazer Mid ’77 and the Air Max 90 — with Flyleather technology and consideration of Circular Design principles.
Flyleather, part of Nike’s ongoing mission to develop advanced performance materials more sustainably, is an engineered leather made by binding at least 50% recycled natural leather fibers with synthetic fibers through a hydro-powered process. The result is a material that preserves the look, feel and durability of full-grain leather with a reduced environmental impact due to the diversion of waste from landfill.
In the Air Force 1 and the Blazer ’77, of Ruohan’s collaborative pack, Chinese characters that mean “natural circulation” and “power and love” are printed on the midsoles.
These ideas compliment Nike’s sustainability efforts. The journey toward zero waste stems from our love for sport and the planet, recognizing the need to act now to help protect the planet and create a better future for sport.
To discuss her collection and the sources of her creative expression, we sat down with Ruohan Wang about her process.
How did you think about honoring the earth and your own cultural background through your designs for this collection?
We all have the responsibility to save our Earth. That should be the common tie that unites all of humanity – no matter who we are or where we’re from.
I designed the collection with Chinese words on the upper of Air Force 1 and on the sole of Blazer 77, such as 自然循环 (Natural circulation) and 力量与爱 (power and love). As an individual on the Earth, it felt right to present this motivation – that the earth belongs to every person and that every culture is part of the global mission to protect our earth.
How did Flyleather inspire your own designs, illustrations, and ways of thinking?
My design for this collection in many ways mirror the way Flyleather is made. I shredded and cut the image of the artwork and reordered every fragment. These fragments could be built together to make a whole image, just like every fragment of scrap leather that’s recycled and engineered back together to make Flyleather.
Can you tell us about your design process behind your illustrations for the Flyleather Earth Day Pack and how it’s inspired by protecting the planet?
On the illustrations for the Flyleather Pack, I wanted to illustrate the beauty of humanity and nature in union: people are embracing and protecting the Earth, they recognize their individual responsibility to protect the earth as part of a collective effort – they see each other and within nature.
What’s your personal relationship to sustainability?
I think everybody is part of the movement when it comes to practicing sustainable choices. For me, making sport a daily habit, trying to practice sustainable and healthy lifestyle choices with no waste of resources are the most important things. I have small, everyday goals, such as saving water by loading my laundry thoughtfully and always bringing reusable shopping bags everywhere I go. I choose to bike over driving. Even walking the stairs instead of using an elevator. I consider the individual impact of my choices on the Earth and remember that it’s a team effort and this is my small part to contribute.
What’s your hope for future methods of make to protect the planet for the next generation?
I hope that in the future there will be less new products but that every product is built to last longer or forever and has circular design at its core. No fur clothing, and both recycled & secondhand clothing and sneakers should become the norm.
To learn more about Nike’s Move to Zero commitment to zero carbon and zero waste, click here.