With Cactus Jack making his return this week with new collabs on two classic Nike Air models, KLEKT is taking a look at Travis Scott’s collabs and the effect he’s had on the Sneaker world.
Signature shoes and collaborations were once reserved for athletes or other fashion houses. Arguably, the door first opened for musicians with Kanye’s Yeezy line (if we’re not counting MJ’s LA Gears), but not without its hurdles. Following Yeezy’s success, there was seemingly no shortage of collab deals for big stars. But in the years since, Travis Scott has stood out and emerged amid the rush for the next big success story.
In 2013, Travis Scott signed on with Reebok for a promo campaign for their Classic Leathers, before finally getting his signature shoe with Helmut Lang in 2017. But it was also in 2017 when Travis first joined Nike, where he’s continued to make his mark. We asked KLEKT’s social media manager, Chris Moore, for his take on Travis’ popularity:
“For me, Travis Scott has cemented himself alongside the likes of Hiroshi Fujiwara, Kanye West, Virgil Abloh and Ronnie Fieg as one of the greatest sneaker collaborators in the world. His Nike collections can sometimes be divisive but it causes a stir within the sneaker community and often starts a conversation that is not often seen in 2022.”
With his collaborations, Travis Scott has maintained a significant presence compared to his countless other musicians collaborating with the world’s sneaker giants. But Why? Travis’ shoes are packed with details that add to a sense of storytelling that is often valued by sneakerheads. The shoes often use desert tones and contain materials inspired by the workwear popular in Scott’s hometown of Houston, Texas, adding a sense of personality and individuality to the designs.
These influences may be most present on one of Scott’s most unique designs, his Cactus Jack Air Force 1s sporting a variety of prints over workwear materials including canvas and corduroy. Even Travis’ simpler touches like the reverse Swooshes on his Jordan 1s have become iconic among Nike’s line-up, like on the threeway collab with Hiroshi Fujiwara for the Fragment x Travis Scott Jordan 1 blues.
Since joining Nike, Scott’s collabs have become events anticipated not just by die-hard sneakerheads, but fashion enthusiasts at large. Many of these silhouettes have become grails for collectors, like the coffee-coloured Jordan 1 Retro Highs that are now going for thousands over retail since their debut in 2019.
For Scott’s latest release his designs have taken on a futuristic feel, with the new Cact.us Corp collection being inspired by the concept of exploring the outdoors of the shifting landscapes of the future. For example, the new Cactus Jack Air Trainer 1 SPs take the silhouette’s iconic, retrofuturist midfoot strap, and decorate it with branding reading “CACTUS CORPORATION”, taking his ethos from western workwear to an industrial, cyberpunk feel. The Trainer also features a number of added utilities, like a removable shroud for the upper and a zip pocket at the heel.
It’s no doubt that Travis Scott is one of the biggest collaborators to emerge in the last decade, with his authentic Cactus Jack touches being as iconic as Abloh’s quotations or Ye’s ever-evolving silhouettes. His impact on the sneaker industry seems to reinforce the idea that even in the midst of evolving silhouettes and technology, sneakerheads still value unique, personal touches and storytelling.