Caster Semenya takes to the catwalk as Nike unveils its latest innovations
Focusing on the power of sport to uplift and inspire, Nike revealed its latest fashion and product innovations at a huge runway show — dubbed the 2020 Future Sport Forum — in New York last week.
At the same time, the brand took the opportunity to pay tribute to basketball player Kobe Bryant, who recently died in a helicopter accident. Six young girls wearing LA Lakers jerseys with Bryant’s number stood on the edge of the runway surrounded by Olympians, paralympians, models and dancers.
South African Olympian Caster Semenya was also on the stage, wearing a piece from Nike’s new lifestyle collection.
Semenya stood next to Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge, who last year became the first person to run a marathon in less than two hours. He set the unofficial record wearing a prototype of Nike's Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% running shoes, which are said to boost performance.
WATCH | Highlights from the Nike 2020 Forum fashion show in New York.
The show started with models wearing streetwear styles, including boiler suits and brightly coloured ponchos, and segued into an inspirational section featuring Olympic stars old and new. This included Semenya, retired American athletes Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson, and English sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, to name a few.
Rapper Drake, Spanish singer Rosalía, model Adwoa Aboah, designers Virgil Abloh and Matthew Williams, and Edward Enninful, the editor-in-chief of British Vogue, were all in attendance.
NEW, GREEN AND OLYMPIAN
At the colossal catwalk show, Nike unveiled the kits for the teams it is sponsoring at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, as well as its latest collaborations with Japanese fashion brand Sacai and Abloh's label, Off-White.
The Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% running shoe, Air Zoom BB NXT basketball shoe and the Space Hippie, Nike's most sustainable sports shoe yet, were also launched.
After the show, the Olympic team kits, which are made from 100% recycled materials, were on display.
The team USA skateboarding team kit is a funky, brightly patterned shirt with rolled up pants. Skateboarding is an Olympic sport for the first time this year.
Noel Kinder, Nike’s chief sustainability officer, said the skate kits are proof that the brand's sustainable practices can apply to all of their products.
“We’ve already converted over a billion water bottles from landfills to make fabrics that become garments and team kits, even the clothes that athletes will wear on the winners podium,” he said.
Semenya was also available after the show to answer some questions. Having already achieved so much and faced so many challenges, she said her motto is “to really love myself, to enjoy life and not to worry about what I can’t control”.
“I think the most important thing is to have respect,” she added. “Respect for other athletes, respect for other people, respect for the planet, but mostly respect for ourselves.”