The past is past

I’ve been looking for some unbranded air max for ages, recently managed to track down a pair.

OK so they’re not legit nikes, they’re crude replicas that I bought from a street market. But they’re comfortable, they look alright and they were really cheap too.

Successful design and management processes in fast fashion are at least as interesting as those in technology, if not more so. In places that do it well, the design practice seems to be both more ambitious and more hard-nosed at getting real business results. Nike especially.

You price it at what you believe the consumer will pay. We're getting a little bit more scientific about it. We're spending time doing deep analysis. We recently just did one on shorts, where we literally looked at every short in our competitive space, did price value equity studies with the consumers, had them tell us what do you think this one's worth versus this one, what details on the shorts – make it worth more. An interesting one on tops is we suddenly discovered in tops that if a top has a thumbhole in it, the consumer perceives it is a premium top. So we're getting a little bit more scientific about what those features and benefits are that the consumer will perceive as worth more money.

Jeanne Jackson, President of Nike Distribution and Merchandising as quoted in Sole Collector

I’ve been watching them do this for a while. There’s a Nikelab near my flat and they have a really interesting habit of displaying products with near identical features but vastly different prices right next to each on the shelf. Last year they were selling these monochrome t-shirts with taped pockets on the chest:

The shirt on the left was £40, the one in the middle £80 and the one on the right was £120. There are some slight differences in materials and fit (which are exaggerated in the image above because I lifted the photographs from different online shops) but when you see them together in person you can’t ignore that they’re basically the same.

It’s sort of interesting then seeing which one of my design bros who also buy this shit chose which variant.

Also interesting is that usually the more expensive variant you choose, the subtler the nike branding is. Effectively, you can choose to pay nike – one of the most valuable brands in the world – a huge premium to not advertise their brand when you wear their design work.

Or, I guess, go to a street market and pay a lot less in order to not have a nike logo on a bit of nike design work.