Virgil Alboh’s Nike Lab and Re-Creation Center


By Dustin Ford

You may know Virgil Alboh from his work with Louis Vuitton, his directorial work with Jay-Z and Kanye West, or from his high-end streetwear brand Off-White. Lately, Virgil’s name has been all over Chicago, especially the Nike Lab pop-up on the Magnificent Mile.

The first thing you’ll notice about this store is its design. The walls are covered in a colorful insulated padding made of shredded Nike shoes. Plastic curtains separate one room from the next in this workshop hybrid as conveyers above you transport shoes through the storefront.  Along the walls you’ll find exclusive products to this pop-up. Towards the back you’ll notice a workshop area where creators are working away on designs. It’s an amazing experience to look at their workbenches and try to see into a mind at work.

As a way to give back to Chicago creators, Alboh has gathered a handful of mentors to lead a small group of young Chicagoans in programs designed to hone their craft. The idea is to help young aspiring designs find a way they can grow in any trade. Who knows, any of these young Chicagoans could become the next Virgil Alboh.

This temporary store is designed to give the Chicago community a creative outlet while trying to decrease our carbon footprint. This is a place where you can donate your old Nike shoes to be used in new sneaker creations and Nike Grind, which is essentially Nike Shoes that have been ground up into small bits. Nike Grind is often used as premium sports surfaces like running tracks and playgrounds. All shoes donated to this pop-up will be processed into a Chicago community basketball court within the year.

Be sure to check out our blog for more new things in Chicago.

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