Yoon Ahn’s AMBUSH x Nike collab is on-pitch football but make it fashion

Yoon Ahn’s AMBUSH x Nike collab is on-pitch football but make it fashion

by Juliette Eleuterio
6 min

It’s another Nike x AMBUSH collaboration, and this one might be one of our faves. AMBUSH founder and creative director, and longtime collaborator of Nike Yoon Ahn reinvents the aesthetics of football just in time for the Women’s Football World Cup.

For this collection, the designer brings the fun of nightlife onto the pitch, exploring the intersection between femininity, fashion and football. The result comes in the form of a 3-piece collection that includes an oversized jersey top in black with yellow and red detailing, with the number 34 plastered on its front and back alongside a co-branded A-Swoosh stitched patch.

Nike x AMBUSH©

The collection also gives us a pair of Nike x AMBUSH Air More Uptempo Low in a brownish-grey colour with yellow detailing and a metallic-silver co-branded football, a fun and stylized version of the classic sports accessory.

While this collection puts a focus on her, it’s open and welcomes everyone. “This collection has diverse elements that you can dress up and down to express masculine and femme energy through the eye of sport” explains Ahn, “and I’m excited to see how people will create their own unique style interpretations with the pieces.” To mark yet another we need not want collab between AMBUSH and Nike, we spoke to Ahn about her design approach for this collection, her journey since her early jewellery design days and her favourite pair of Nikes.

Nike x AMBUSH©

With this collection, we see versatility on multiple levels, blending nightlife and sportswear and also on a more practical level, making a shirt that can also be used as a dress. How and why did you choose this approach?

I design but also think about what it would be like to be a consumer. So I always think “if I were to buy that I also want to wear it this way, or can I also have it this way?” I tried to think of more than just one layer, if possible, and see what I can push more out of a simple product, like a t-shirt. I like to push that boundary.

In 2020, you became the first woman to collaborate with Nike in the NBA, which is amazing. Did that fact impact the way you approach the design aspect of that collaboration?

I’ll be real, I didn’t know I was gonna be the first one when the talk came to me. It was just interesting to work with the theme of basketball because I’ve never done basketball before. So I was like “okay, let’s see how much fun I can have with the idea of basketball”. What would it be like to turn it into something that you can wear, to go celebrate the team that you love, as well as outside the court. That’s the headspace I had, going into that. But then along the process, I found out that I was gonna be the first woman. I was just like “Amazing. Cool.”

Nike x AMBUSH©

Since your early days at AMBUSH, your focus was very much on jewellery. Did you ever think you’d get into sneakers and sportswear?

No. But I always knew that I wanted to do something more than jewellery because to me, a brand is a platform. I think it’s an area where you use any medium to exercise the creativity or the ideas you have. I’ve always been that kind of person. I’ve welcomed a lot. That’s why I do a lot of collaboration. It’s to learn about different industries and different mediums so I can exercise my ideas and what I can take on. When we were starting up, probably not, but along the way, I knew that one day, it could be possible to work on those things.

You gotta dream big.

It’s so important to keep things open minded and not kind of narrow down to just one thing. As long as you have an idea, you can exercise it.

Nike x AMBUSH©

Speaking of collaborations, you have done so many, especially with Nike. How do you keep finding new aesthetics or ideas?

I think it’s telling a story and it’s a long journey that we’re building together. I don’t think in fragments. I look at it as a one long journey that we’re going on together in a way that there’s a colour palette that I use that you can wear from this collection, you can mix it back to the first one, to the second one, to later ones. We like to have everybody come along, and even if you didn’t buy the third collaboration, you can still wear the first one with the fifth one we’re gonna come out with. So I look at it as one big piece and then connecting all those dots together. It’s quite fun! When different sports themes come together like basketball to football, (I mean the word football as in like soccer), I just look at it like “okay, what is the connecting dot here? Is it going to be through materials? Is it going to be through colour?” Then we just put everything together as the whole, big picture.

Nike x AMBUSH©

With this new collaboration, we can see a collaborative Uptempo. Growing up, what was your favourite pair of Nikes, whether you owned them or wished you did?

The first Nikes that I bought were Air Max 180s, the white ones with the blue and the neon pink. I think I saw the ad in a magazine somewhere. I fell in love with it because the simplicity of the ad was so futuristic. I actually grew up in Seattle, and back then everyone was literally in Dr. Martens and hiking boots. So me seeing that ad, I was like “whoa, what is this?” That’s actually the first ones that really captured me, that I actually bought with my own money I worked for as a kid. And actually the first collaboration that we did, I did the Air Max 180. I did like my own rendition of them.

Nike x AMBUSH©

The full collection will be released on August 4 on AMBUSH’s website, the SNKRS app and select Nike stores.

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