SHY BAIRNS & NIKE AIR KUKINI: Invigorating Community Through Club Culture29 June 2022
Originally launching in 2000, the Nike Air Kukini’s foundation was rooted in Y2K aesthetics – a visceral and future-facing silhouette that championed the new wave.
Over twenty years on, Nike are revitalising the turn-of-the-century sneaker with the Air Kukini’s re-launch in “Lemon Venom”. A part of Nike’s Alpha Project – a product category that saw the brand tirelessly push forward performance and esoteric footwear design with unconventional models and new technology – the Kukini encapsulated the Millenium’s positivity and dedication to design that looked to imagined futures. Ultimately a short-lived line – Alpha Project was discontinued in 2004 – the Air Kukini was renowned for making its mark on the sneaker world with its instantly recognisable Elastic Foot Web and slip-on fit, before an untimely recession into the shadows of the mid-noughties.
As times begin to change further, and Y2K aesthetics return in full force, the Air Kukini continues to embody the free spirited and youthful optimism that sat at the core of the millennium – a symbol of young people’s dedication to enact change and instil a sense of community within their own subcultures.
Operating in the North East of England, Newcastle upon Tyne based collective Shy Bairns is a community of young people centred around music, fashion and the arts. Celebrating the freedom that can be felt through the positive impact of club culture, Shy Bairns encapsulate the Air Kukini’s revolutionary spirit. “Shy Bairns aims to encourage positive change through freedom of expression, collaboration, education and innovation. We hope that through our creativity, events and photography, we can leave a legacy that positively impacts younger people,” says founder Jacob Weston Marshall. “Community is at the core of everything we do. We recognise the true significance of a strong community – it’s a critical source of social connection and sense of belonging. This is important to encourage in young people, as they are a key part of our existence and contribute massively to building a better society. Shy Bairns would not be where it is today without the community behind it - community is fundamental to our being and so we encourage its growth where possible.”
An essential release for young people in Newcastle, Shy Bairns has quickly become the benchmark for underground club culture in the region, delivering a varied array of dance music and building a community that grows stronger with each gathering. “Parties cultivate unity within a group of diverse individuals,” continues Jacob, “through these parties we can share a common love of music, dancing and photography with people we may not meet in everyday life. By uniting people in this way, barriers are broken down and freedom of expression and socialisation is enabled. This freedom was taken away from young people during the lockdown. Throwing good parties reinstates what was seemingly lost during those years – the parties are like glue that form a wider diverse community of people that we call Shy Bairns.”
NIKE AIR KUKINI SE AT END.