VAIN “Loved 1's” — The origins of VAIN can be considered a digital age fairy-tale.
It all dates back to early 2019, when Creative Director Jimi Vain was playing around with ideas on customizing a pair of Air Jordan 1’s. The classic Nike shoe was a personal favorite for Jimi at the time and he wanted to make some personal tweaks to the design, using many of the same motives that are still relevant today in his work. Back then everything was just a passion-project. By that time, Jimi had already profilirated himself in Helsinki’s small yet influential fashion and creative circles. He showed his design to some friends and posted about it on his socials.
Less than 48 hours after posting his design on Instagram he received a facetime call from Playboi Carti.
What took place in that 48 hour time window can only be described as a perfect digital storm of network effects. It started with the infamous streetwear moodboard page @hidden.ny reposting a picture of the Loved 1’s. This catapulted Jimi’s design onto the Instagram feed’s of hundreds of thousands of streetwear enthusiasts, one of which happened to be Playboi Carti’s personal stylist. One thing led to another and eventually Carti contacted Jimi about getting a pair for himself. That is the power of a network of people who are passionate about the same things. And that's beautiful.
The Air VAIN “Loved 1’s” for Playboi Carti were the first of many upcycled shoe designs that Jimi Vain made for global artists.
In the months following the “Loved 1’s” online frenzy other artists like MadeinTYO and Pierre Bourne reached out as well. As a result the upcycled Nike sneaker range got extended to upcycled versions of other Nike classics, like the Nike Air Force 1.
Just two years later the “Loved 1’s” have an almost cult-like status among the fashion and streetwear enthusiasts of the world wide web. Now the “Loved 1’s” are considered a major chapter of VAIN’s origin story. It captures many aspects of what VAIN as a creative project is all about. The speed and agility of the digital age, the sheer force of our generation. We are all just some internet kids who do what they feel love and passion for. And as you already know: VAIN is all about love.