Flyknit is Nike’s most sustainable sneaker – designed with materials and manufacturing processes that evolve production and performance while delivering ultimate “fit” for those who wear it. Sub Rosa was engaged to work with the Nike’s global brand team to develop the Flyknit launch strategy, aimed to reach influential consumers and media in six global markets. Through the creation of Flyknit Studios, short-burst innovation hubs in each city, we brought together designers and athletes to collaboratively create immersive experiences and content for each city — generating a story of performance, sustainability and design shared by a global collective.
Nike approached Sub Rosa to develop an overarching brand narrative and global go-to-market strategy for the launch of its new FLYKNIT technology. Sub Rosa was also engaged to provoke design thinking and new brand interaction from internal audiences, retail partners, discerning sneaker aficionados, and the global design community.
To approach this challenge, Sub Rosa formed the FLYKNIT Collective: a global platform for creative innovators across a variety of disciplines, to engage in an action-oriented dialogue about the fundamental product attributes of performance, lightness, formfit, and sustainability.
Ultimately, the goal was to provide a framework for converting these explorations into practical, physical structures and spaces that would inspire communities in transformative ways.
At the heart of the Collective, Sub Rosa designed and facilitated a series of multi-media collaborative workshops initially centered in New York City, and ultimately expanding to other major global centers. The workshops featured participatory cross-functional activities, from a set of influencers, creatives, athletes and students, anchored in each case by a single renowned artist, architect or other creative luminary. Each of the interactive sessions focused on the relationship between sports, sustainability, and creativity, including mining biodynamic data and gathering city data inspired by motion before finally outputting visualizations of that data to inform eventual content and physical outcomes.
In New York City, for example, Sub Rosa partnered with architectural designer Jenny Sabin in hosting and designing activities that solicited the data and inspiration necessary to create the myThread Pavilion, a structural environment that integrated human biological data with lightweight, high-performing, formfitting, and sustainable materials. The pavilion was launched and displayed in Nike Stadium, allowing the general public to view and interact with the structure, which also formed the home for the NYC Bridge Runners’ training regime leading into the New York City Marathon.
Ultimately, Sub Rosa acted as the global brand guardian for the project, providing guidance and ensuring the fundamentals of the framework were maintained across regional markets.
The FLYKNIT Collective proved an immense global success, with NYC delivering the following results: