Nike’s N7 collection rallies around the call: “Move Your Generation.” Athletes and Nike N7 ambassadors Lyle Thompson, a lacrosse player and Iroquois Confederacy Ambassador, and Jude Schimmel, a basketball player from Umatilla Tribes, exemplify this can-do spirit. So, too, does contemporary artist and activist Bunky Echo-Hawk, a member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma and Yakama Nation of Washington, whose work inspires the line.
For Spring 2016, designers were captivated by the pastiche of acrylic pigments dotting Echo-Hawk’s well-worn jeans.
An approximation of these painterly marks appear on the Nike N7 Splash Tee for men and Nike N7 Splash Tank for women, as well as on the Nike N7 Air Max Tavas and Nike N7 Juvenate sneakers.
Dynamic silhouettes, such as the Nike N7 Hybrid Jacket for both men and women, are enhanced with reflective inserts.
“For my culture, springtime is an awakening,” says Echo-Hawk, explaining the dark turquoise, bright crimson, pale green and light silver color schemes. “The snow is receding, the Earth is waking back up and there is life coming back to the prairie. For us, a color like crimson is a shade of red coming from black, which is the color of wintertime. So there is a definite meaning tied up with all these colors.”
Additional motifs include graphic triangles on jackets and sweatpants and four-point stars on the back of the women’s Nike N7 Block Star Tight. “It’s something that a lot of tribal communities identify with,” notes Echo-Hawk, who has a pair of stars tattooed on his arms. “They pay homage to the power that is above us.”
In his travels, the artist has witnessed first-hand how N7 has generated self-confidence in Native communities. “I’ve seen tribal elders as well as young kids wearing the collection,” he says. “People are excited to see a cutting-edge line that celebrates their culture. It’s a game-changer in our community. Kids are tapping into the cultural message of the clothing.”
“I’ve met young people who say that one of their goals in life is to be a Nike N7 ambassador,” he continues. “These communities are in dire need of having hope and motivation. Nike understands that N7 is not just another apparel line.”
Come spring, will Echo-Hawk be rocking a pair of the prismatic Air Max Tavas? “Definitely!” he declares. “In fact, I will probably need several pairs — one to paint in and one to wear.”
N7 is Nike’s long-time commitment and mission to inspire and enable two million Native American and Aboriginal youth in North America to participate in sport and physical activity. The N7 philosophy embraces the Native philosophy: “In every deliberation we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.”
The N7 Collection, which incorporates organic cotton and recycled polyester into several styles, highlights the N7 philosophy of considering the lasting impact our decisions have on the planet and embodies Nike’s commitment to sustainable innovation by creating product engineered for superior athletic performance and lower environmental impact.
After nearly a decade of partnership with tribes across North America to support programs aimed at physically active lifestyles, Nike deepened its connection to the Native American community in 2007 with the launch of N7 beginning with the Nike Air Native N7 shoe. The N7 Collection followed in 2009, to celebrate Native American and Aboriginal culture and to raise awareness for the N7 Fund, which has raised more than $3.5 million for Native American and Aboriginal youth sport programs. The next N7 Fund grant cycle will open in June 2016.
About Nike Community Impact
Nike believes in the power of sport to move the world and unleash human potential. However, the world is moving less and less, and today's generation of children is the least physically active ever. That’s why Nike works to get kids (ages 7-12) active early and for life, because active kids are happier, healthier and more successful. Together with its employees, partners, consumers and athletes, Nike also supports important causes that strengthen communities across the globe. Learn more.