The NIKE AIR PEGASUS 89 GERMAN REUNIFICATION celebrates 25 years since Germany became unified back in 1990.
On November 9th 1989, the Berlin Wall came down and marked the start of uniting East and West Germany – and it’s this reunification that inspires this special Pegasus colourway. The upper sports a combination of camouflage patterns from both the West German Army (Bundeswehr) and the East German Army (NVA), with Flecktarn (5-colour disruptive camo) and Strichtarn (raindrop camo) being the patterns of choice. Hits of black on the Swoosh, laces and logos, alongside light green on the lining help to break things up a little on the busy upper. To allow the uppers to hold your attention, a crisp white midsole adds some strong contrast down below, whilst a black outsole rounds things off by tying in the with upper. As a further nod to the colourway’s inspiration, the insoles feature a print of the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor) alongside the dates 1990 and 2015, which are also repeated on the laces.
To get a better insight into the event that inspired these shoes, the guys at HIGHSNOBIETY sat down with designer Carsten Franke to learn more…
HS: Talk about your role as a footwear colour designer at Nike and how this shoe came to be.
CF: My goal is to create something that consumers will be happy to wear. Especially with this one – creating a story for the German market – I was looking at events we can focus on, and of course the 25th anniversary of German reunification was on the calendar. I was speaking with my parents, and my father was working as a guard for the East German army back then, so at midnight on October 3, 1990 during his night shift, he and the other soldiers literally changed their uniforms. It’s interesting, because when else in history did the entire army change their uniform so suddenly? So my dad was sort of the inspiration for this shoe.
HS: Why did you choose the Air Pegasus ’89?
CF: Well 5 years ago, we released the Pegasus ’89 “Berlin” for the 20th anniversary of the Wall falling, so in 2015 for the 25th anniversary it’s a nice continuation from that release. I think the Pegasus ’89 model fits perfectly into the retro runner slot.
HS: Talk about the two different camouflage patterns.
CF: We used army camouflage called flecktarn representing West Germany, and the raindrop pattern that is known as ein strich kein strich meaning “one stripe no stripe” to represent the East. We wanted to tell the story of both countries and how they came together as a team, and for the 25th anniversary we show “1990” and “2015” as well as a picture of the reunification celebration at Brandenburg Gate in the sole insert. Although we used a fresh canvas in the end, originally we were looking into a distressed canvas material, or something with a vintage effect.
HS: Do you have a lot of clear memories from growing up in East Berlin?
CF: After the wall came down, I didn’t really recognise the importance at first. I went to school after and my friends were talking about it, but I didn’t really realise in the beginning. But I remember going to West Berlin and we got 100 Deutsche Mark as our Begrüßungsgeld or “starting money.” I bought my first Walkman, it was a Sony. There was so much going on in Berlin, every day there was something new, everyone was adjusting to the new system. For example, once you finished school in East Germany you were assigned a job. In West Germany, you had to find your own job, so things like this were different.
HS: What does your dad think of the shoe?
CF: He is super proud; he wants a pair.
HS: Is it important for your footwear color design at Nike to touch on special historic moments like here with the German reunification?
CF: Nike is more about sports, but if we can create stories that work with the brand’s DNA, then we can make an exception. The German reunification story is very local and it’s a strong concept, but mostly we focus on sports at Nike.
NIKE have utilised camo patterns from all around the world to great effect before, but the story behind these make them that little bit more special in our eyes.
The NIKE AIR PEGASUS 89 GERMAN REUNIFICATION is scheduled to drop on FRIDAY 2 OCTOBER, just in time for German Unity Day, and will be available from the RELEASE PAGE, which you can link to below.
Picture source: SOLEBOX
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