When sneakerheads hear or read HTM, they know something special is coming out from Nike. But the trio of Hiroshi Fujiwara, Tinker Hatfield, and Mark Parker rarely speak about their collaborative design process, which began in 2002.
The three revealed via the athletic giant’s website the beginnings of HTM, how they complement each other, the trio’s future, working with NBA icon Kobe Bryant, and what they feel the HTM legacy is. Here are some of the standout quotes from the conversation.
On The HTM Formation
“I was traveling a lot to Japan and connected with Hiroshi. Of course, Tinker and I had been working together for years on projects like the Nike Air Max 1, Air Trainer 1, ACG, Jordans, among others. When we were around Hiroshi, we’d spend a lot of time talking about product and design. So at one point we felt that instead of sitting around and talking about ideas, we should put them into action and make something,” Parker, the brand’s president and CEO, said of the HTM formation.
On Each Person’s Skill Sets
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“Mark plays the role that he’s always played: He is a designer, but he’s also been a developer and has spent time in the lab. In addition, he’s always had the vision to choose the right people to work with and right projects to work on. He’s also a genius at refining, curating and reorganizing. For example, his office is beautifully curated. There is art and memorabilia in there from distinct walks of life. But somehow, when put together, it works. It’s symbolic of the way he thinks,” said Hatfield, Nike’s VP of creative concepts.
“Hiroshi is more of a stylist-designer than he is a pure designer. He has a heightened sense of style, wearability and simplicity. He has a sharp eye for how design fits into everyday lifestyle. Tinker’s accomplishments speak for themselves. He helped usher a new level of personality into product, not just footwear, that the world had never seen. He wrote the blueprint for working with athletes, going deep beneath the surface to pull out insights — in their game, but also in their life — and create a high-performance product that told a story,” Parker said.
On Working With Bryant
“The Kobe 9 Elite Low HTM gave us the opportunity to celebrate how much Flyknit had evolved. What was first used for running could now be used for the intense, diagonal movements of basketball,” said Fujiwara, fragment design founder.
“Kobe is an athlete who always wants the latest innovation in his footwear, so it seemed fitting that his shoe would be the first signature athlete model we worked on as HTM. He was exited about it. He loves sneakers, so I think he enjoyed the connection to HTM,” added Parker.
On The HTM Legacy
“[At its inception] HTM was all very spontaneous and motivated really by a basic desire to explore and make something interesting. The process is emblematic of how we approach design across the company. Nike is a place where exploration is best done together,” Parker said.
“All through history, businesses have been built on innovation and things that no one else has ever done. HTM has been one of the clearest paths to this ultimate objective. It’s an incredibly rewarding project — one I’m honored to be a part of. Plus, it’s a lot of fun. We get to break the rules. What’s not to like about that?” Hatfield said.