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Matthew Williams Continues Dalliance with Data

Matthew Williams, founder of 1017 ALYX 9SM, says he is fascinated by opportunities afforded by Nike's varied suite of digital design tools. His collections embody his belief that the intersection of human imagination and technology points to an exciting future. Of course, he knows that data alone doesn't design, but it certainly deepens relationships with the body.

Williams' first Nike collection explored the ways data is informing new manufacturing methods of the T-shirt (heat and sweat maps transformed to structural patterns). For his second capsule, he focused on how data reveals things that are normally unseen.

"For this collection, we used computational algorithms to create the camouflage pattern," he says. Camouflage, of course, traditionally derives from nature. With data, Williams is able to toy with hidden-in-plain-sight natural shapes to arrive at a new motif.

The pattern isn't just trend-driven (Williams views camouflage as season-less and always relevant) but also appropriate to one of the functional purposes of the products: equipping athletes for what Williams describes as "really hardcore outdoor training." He's thinking of things like flipping tires, hauling sandbags uphill and traversing obstacle courses. But, understanding holistic training, he's also thinking adaptability between varied fitness pursuits — lifting, sprinting and taking group classes.

To that end, there's a mix of Sherpa fleece, two-in-one pants, utility vests and detachable hoods. Everything is about multi-functional use. Data also informs the paneling on the tops. “When you're running, you get wet mainly the top of your shoulders, so we ensured rain coverage in that spot," Williams explains.

An added touch of humanity comes in the accessories range. Athletes need socks and underwear. Williams dutifully provides both.

The Nike x MMW collection releases January 19 at an exclusive pop-up shop in Paris, France. It will be available globally beginning February 7.