Preview: Nike SB x Parra
Ahead of the 2019 collaboration between Nike SB and Parra we’ve looked at how the seminal Dutch artist made his way to this release.
As a prominent name within the art, skate and streetwear scenes, Pieter ‘Parra’ Janssen first emerged in the early ‘90s with a series of club posters and party flyers distributed within Amsterdam’s social scene. Born in 1976, Janssen’s focus on skateboarding started at the age of eleven - and he doesn’t particularly recall being into art. His passion for skating progressed into various sponsorships, such as with Dutch skateboarding brand Colorblind - with Janssen later transitioning to Art Director for the brand - resulting in a series of decks designed with humorous humanised vegetables and animals. Like many great artists it’s through various influences - including: his artistic father, The Adventures of Tintin and Donald Duck magazine - that has lead to the development of his unique artistic style, custom font and whimsical beaked characters that continue to evolve throughout time.
Whilst Parra’s initial design process remains simple - including hand drawings using biro pen and paper before being digitised - a variety of wares including apparel, footwear, videos, murals, sculptures and household furnishings show a host of skills and bring to life a vibrant energy within imaginary, enchanting scenes. Born out of necessity, due to the lack of cool design in Amsterdam at the time, Janssen launched his own apparel brand Rockwell in 2002 which saw simple short sleeve t-shirts used as wearable promotions for his bright abstract illustrations. A humorous take on everyday occurrences brings an approachable feel to his work, alongside his use of colour which includes a signature, minimal palette of highly saturated blue, pink and red. Developed off the back of Rockwell, the by Parra label reflects a progression in both his own skills and reputation within the streetwear community through seasonal releases of high quality apparel and accessories, manufactured with a focus on quality and conscious production.
Having captured the attention of the international art scene, Janssen runs by Parra and his own skateboarding brand Tired Skateboards alongside showing his work internationally through solo exhibitions and commissions. His permanent mural for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, entitled ‘Weirded Out’, portrays a theme of reclusiveness inspired by his own personality and musician Kate Bush. Additionally: he's a part of multilingual electro-pop trio band ‘Le Le’ and has designed apparel for The Hundreds as well as several collections with Nike.
The debut Nike x Parra Air Max 1 ‘Amsterdam’ shoe was released in 2005 and remains one of the most sought-after Air Max designs to grace Nike’s extensive archive. Featuring a distinctive brownstone, blue reef and dark oak colourway across a suede, mesh and leather upper complete with bright blue laces and detailing and a speckled midsole above a colour block tread.
This model was followed by the limited edition Air Max 95 - known as ‘The Running Man’ - in collaboration with influential Dutch streetwear store Patta. The two Amsterdam based creatives have a long shared history with Parra's studio once situated in Patta’s original building. Teaming up with Nike and Patta again in 2010, the trio released the Nike Air Max 1 Premium ‘Cherrywood’ model, with a full red suede upper and multi-coloured outsole.
Almost a decade later, in 2018, Parra joined forces with Nike for their second collab on an Air Max 1 and Spiridon. The designs reflected the progression in Janssen’s work through patterned panels and muted tones in reflection of cityscape and landscape imagery. Whilst the colour palette is unmistakably by Parra, shades of grey hint at the OG Air Max 1 shoebox.
In July 2019 the duo have collaborated once more with two footwear styles, the OG Dunk Low and Blazer Low GT, alongside a selection of apparel. The Nike SB x Parra Dunk Low OG model bears a more stripped back yet still playful aesthetic compared to previous editions with crisp white leather uppers and a vibrant striped pattern across the inner edge of the ankle and sockliner. Remaining true to a signature palette of pink, red and blue, fluffy terry cloth inserts emphasise triple Swoosh ticks on either side of the foot, whilst embroidery on the back of either heel shows stylised ‘SB’ initials on the left shoes and the Parra logo on the right; designed in Parra’s signature font of course. An additional pair of patterned laces offer the option for additional colour, whilst the tread is a continuation of the uppers in an all white finish.
The raffle opens on Saturday, July 20th at 8am and closes on Thursday, July 25th at 12pm. Entries will be notified on Friday morning whether they have been successful or not.
The Nike SB x Parra Blazer Low GT Shoes and accompanying apparel will release on our main Flatspot site on Friday, July 26th at 8am.