nike & johanna schneider push women’s sportswear into a new phase

The sports giant and the German fashion designer have collaborated to create a collection of high fashion and peak performance gear.

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19 January 2015, 7:55am

NikeLab is presenting a new collection of women's workout wear in collaboration with German designer Johanna Schneider. Berlin-based Schneider has previously worked with fashion designer Kostas Murkudis, the technical design brand Acronym, and the men's sportswear line Stone Island Shadow, and was chosen by Nike because she's a rare designer whose work spans high fashion and high-performance sportswear.

NIKE x JFS is the first capsule collection in an ongoing collaboration between Schneider and Nike's Global Women's Training design team, and it offers a modular system, meaning that outfits can be built up layer by layer for different stages of a workout, including the moments before and after exercise. Some of the garments are adaptable, changing volume and position on the body for different uses, and this is all part of Schneider's vision of creating "rooms" for movement and expression.

"I'm creating environments," Schneider says. "For some occasions, I want to be more covered up or I need more support. On other occasions, I want my clothing to breathe; I want it to open up." Schneider adopted a nuanced approach for the silhouettes of her garments: "All garments of the collection are built to move and interact with the women's body. My idea of feminine silhouettes is a balance of hiding and revealing parts of the body. I don't want the athlete to think about the garment while she is working out."

Slit slides in the culottes and tank top open gently with leg movement, a zipper that opens the collar of the crop top increases breathability and the sweatshirt has short sleeves with a triangular shape that allows for greater range of motion. Perhaps the greatest example of adaptability though is in the "capelette", which is an outer shell that can be worn in three stages: open, closed with a belt, or wrapped around the hips as a warm-up skirt.

Schneider's pattern-making talents are complemented by Nike's innovations in materials and finishes, with the collection making extensive use of Nike's signature Dri-FIT technology, laser cutting and lightweight bonded finishes. Schneider was impressed by the Nike design team's commitment to "discovering new rules" and seeking "new parameters" for women's training. She believes that "the scientific development of performance materials and manufacturing will influence apparel and fashion more and more."

The collection comes in a sophisticated colour palette that will work against different skin tones and is inspired by art. "In order to create a strong and deep color palette I was looking at old Dutch still life paintings," Schneider explains. "These colors have an organic origin, they give us a familiar yet natural impression and create a gentle contrast to the technical aspect of the collection."

NIKE x JFS is exemplary of how Nike's collaborations with creatives who are innovative within their industries. As CEO Mark Parker says, "The best collaboration is one that brings partners to places that neither could have reached on their own."

The NikeLab x JFS Spring 2015 collection launches on Feb 26 and will be available at nikelab.com, NikeLab locations and select retailers globally.