Departing from Givenchy after serving as creative director for four years, Williams is ostensibly doubling down on ALYX once again as the brand recently sold a majority stake of its ownership to Hong Kong-based entrepreneur Adrian Cheng last month. Its first piece of news since then? A new project with Nike on the Air Force 1.
While ALYX’s cutting-edge, utilitarian design language got the ball rolling in 2015, Williams has established a democratic approach to design that includes a wide scope of styles for all to enjoy — pairing relaxed knitwear next to fierce leather moto jackets and an array of footwear. “Having a store where everybody can go and take in the entirety of collections hasn’t been possible [yet],” Williams noted during our conversation. However, with Cheng’s investment, creating flagship stores for ALYX is the next step in fully realizing his vision.
Working with Nike was always a dream for Williams, and he has made the most of his six years of collaborating with the brand, utilizing both ALYX and his own name (shortened to MMW) across a wide range of releases — from the co-branded Hero Chain to the future-forward Zoom MMW 4 runner. The two umbrellas of collaborations, both ALYX x Nike and MMW x Nike, have tapped into different approaches to design.
Each MMW collection centers around close collaboration with Nike’s innovation teams. “Nike presents a range of materials, products and innovations being developed, prompting me to contextualize them stylistically,” Williams shared. For 2024, everything from outerwear and jerseys to yoga apparel is on the way for the duo, with a top-secret footwear element involved as well.
On the other side of the coin, with ALYX the duo have emphasized classics — highlighting things Williams personally loves such as the Air Force 1. In 2018, the first iterations of many ALYX x Nike Air Force 1 Highs were released at Hypefest. Adding ALYX’s iconic buckle to the strap and including a “1017 ALYX 9SM” logo hit at the lateral heel, the two built upon this design across the following years.
Today, the next chapter of ALYX x Nike begins with the duo outfitting the Air Force 1 Low in all-white and all-black colorways. Despite forgoing the inclusion of the buckle this time around — Williams noted it was far too heavy for the low-top and would prevent wearers from being able to slip the shoe on with ease — hardware remained an important part of the shoe’s design with ALYX’s signature lightercap emblem placed near the collar and an ALYX-branded lace dubrae shining in silver as well.
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Williams recognized that not everyone will notice the difference between this pair and an inline one at first glance. “I loved the challenge of making subtle changes while still respecting the Air Force 1’s timelessness,” he affirmed. Between removing seams and adjusting the layering of its panels, there’s more to the shoe than first meets the eye.
Revealing prototypes at the start of 2023, Williams explored the aging of different leathers to compare elements such as toe creasing, allowing him to fine-tune each decision to ultimately arrive at a design he wants to wear — a final destination for everything Williams creates. “If it’s speaking to me, I hope that it speaks to others as well,” he concluded.
Release for both of the 1017 ALYX 9SM x Nike Air Force 1 Lows has begun via ALYX at a price of $155 USD each. Following this launch event, Nike SNKRS is scheduled to release pairs on December 15. To stay on top of the project’s release, the brand has launched an Instagram campaign featuring tailored launch info and a voice note from Williams, available by sending the code “1017” to @AlyxStudio via DM.