By Carmela Martinez
Nike recently released the limited edition “First Gen” Air Max 270 Reacts and it is custom-designed by Filipino-American designer Rich Tu.
“I am a first generation designer and artist, and the child of Filipino immigrants,” Tu wrote in Nike.com
Rich Tu is a Vice President of digital design for MTV, VH1, CMT, and Logo.
He was among the 28 artists tapped for the “Nike By You Cultivator” project.
“I had the great opportunity to join Nike’s Cultivator program where they take a lot of great creatives that are in specific cities. This drop was for New York City and we all got to work on our very own sneakers and design them according to our stories,” he said in an interview with MTVFreshOut.
Through the shoes, Tu wanted to tell the story of immigrants in America.
“For me, this started with this personal project that I do. It’s called, First Generation Burden. It’s a podcast that I host where we speak to immigrants and the children of immigrants and really kinda elevate that voice and then Nike was really inspired by that story so they allowed me to tell that story through the shoe. To the Air Max 270 Reacts,” he said.
The shoe’s design was inspired by the colors of oxidized metal that are present in many countries around the world, specifically the oxidized copper of the Statue of Liberty.
He said that all the oranges and teals pop off in oxidized metal and that it resonates with all immigrants.
Tu’s repertoire of work included other shoes he designed for Nike like the Nike Lebron 14 “Cocoa Beach”, Nike Kyrie 3 “Mac & Cheese”, and more. He also designed the Lebron championship belt to commemorate Lebron James’ 2016 NBA Championship.
The limited edition shoes are only available on Nike’s website until September 1.
All the proceeds will be going to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to help benefit immigrant rights.