Virgil Abloh & NikeLab Kick Off Summertime Chi with the Re-Creation Center


Words by Marisa Truitt


Words & Additional Photography: Marisa Truitt

On May 30th, I got to preview Off-White founder and Louis Vuitton men’s artistic director, Virgil Abloh’s Re-Creation Center in partnership with NikeLab Chicago. To launch the 8 week program, Abloh hosted a panel discussion with Chicago natives who are at the top of their respective fields; including RSVP Gallery’s Don C, actress Keke Palmer, former WNBA star Cappie Pondexter, rapper Common, and barber Ibn Jasper. They spoke about how the city inspired their hustler spirit. Rapper and recent Jordan brand collaborator, Travis Scott, sat alongside these creatives to share how his Houston roots have played an integral part in his success.

“Don’t be lazy, “ said Don C. “You’re not going to be looked at as an inspirational figure if you’re not working.”

Abloh’s mission with this program is to empower the youth by channeling the physical and cultural energy of the city through sport. “The idea with this is that this door is open, not only is it open, but there’s tools in here to be creative and get one step closer,“ said Abloh.

As a part of this effort, Abloh handpicked a group of 10 interdisciplinary artists that will participate in an immersive mentorship program with local creators that specialize in fabric design, graphic design, brand identity, photography and architecture. Throughout the program they will work to complete a final project because “your craft is made by something that doesn’t allow you to sleep,” says Abloh.

An extension of the Re-creation Center gives visitors access to Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe initiative, which turns old sneakers into Nike Grind. Nike Grind will be used to produce a community basketball court designed by Abloh that will be unveiled during NBA All Star 2020.

“There’s this saying that says ‘work is love made visible’, so it’s not really hard if you’re passionate about something to just go do it, but you have to make choices,” Common said to close out the panel.

The space will be open from May 31st - July 28th at 673 N. Michigan Avenue, with weekly workshops open to the public. To find out more about the program and these workshops visit the SNKRS app or Nike Chicago’s website.