With his fifth SK Air offering, London-born artist Skepta draws inspiration from the natural world to breathe new life into a cult favorite Tailwind series. He masterfully pulls together a vision connecting the metamorphosis that butterflies undergo and the role of creative rebirth in his career. 

The Air-Sole debuted in the late ’70s with the original Tailwind, and each successive model in the series has furthered an evolution in Air cushioning and a revolution in aesthetic. The V carries an early 2000s futurism, and its absorption into the SK Air lineage advances the story by merging the striking heel counter of the V with the arresting butterfly wing-inspired upper of the 2007 Tailwind V Plus. This mash-up is consistent with Skepta’s celebration of Air, which continues to follow a “better is temporary” ethos and finds new ways to honor icons of AM heritage — whether in subtle color and material interplay or more overt fusion.

A sublimated blue butterfly wing print across the shoe’s upper serves as another nod to Skepta’s exploration of evolution in both nature and art. “We are all going through a metamorphosis, a new stage of life,” Skepta says. “We chose this butterfly print out of about 50 different options because it had to evoke the correct emotion.”

The shoe also references elements of past SK models and Skepta’s career. Notably, the chrome Swoosh references the 2019 SK Shox and the thermographic heel counter salutes the artist’s “Ignorance is Bliss” album cover. 

The Nike Air Tailwind V x Skepta, and its corresponding tracksuit and bucket hat, releases April 2 in Asia Pacific, Europe, and Greater China.

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