Day: 3 August 2014
Dizzee Rascal had a customised pair, basketball star LeBron James an entire line, and clubbers, hip-hop stars and runners throughout the 1990s would rarely be seen without them. Now, on the 25th anniversary of the Air Max, Nike’s most famous cushioned trainer, the shoes are enjoying another surge in popularity.
Spotted on the feet of celebrities ranging from Rita Ora to Barack Obama, the bubble-soled shoes have transcended their origins to become a coveted wardrobe staple, embraced across the worlds offashion and music. “It’s not just about any old pair. Labels, styles and specific details are all-important,” said Hannah Almassi, fashion editor ofGrazia magazine, who said that owning a pair of 90s kicks had become an obsession for trainer fans.
Online retailer Asos reports a significant increase in sales for the latest spring/summer 2013 range. “We have seen a 320% growth on Nike Air Max trainers on the same period for the previous year, making them the casual wardrobe staple,” said Nichola Carroll, branded footwear buyer for Asos. “There has been an increase across all trainers. Key styles range from branded retro running styles, such as New Balance, to high- and low-tops, with bold colours proving popular.”
David Spencer, product and marketing director for footwear retailer Schuh, said the trend is part of a sports fashion revival: “Nineties sport is the footwear of choice and we have seen a massive uplift in sales for this type of footwear, especially on ladies – where we are seeing girls who aren’t traditionally sports customers buying into the trend too.”
The 80s was an era of big money, big hair and even bigger phones and Nike executives responded in 1987 with the Air Max shoe and its air bubble visible on the side of the midsole. The design dominated the 1990s and could be spotted in marathons, hip-hop videos and on LP sleeves. A UK forensic science service database study in 2007 found that the Air Max 95 was the favourite footwear for criminals as it was the most popular footprint at crime scenes.
But what has got today’s fashion-conscious running to JD Sports stores? Phoebe Philo, the British designer of Céline, has a lot to do with it. After a recent fashion week catwalk show, Philo took a bow in her trademark trainers – which happened to be Air Max – and the designer was even photographed in her Nike Vortexes for Vogue’s March issue.
“She’s long been the fashion insider’s inspiration for trainers and wears them all the time, with everything and anything,” said Almassi. “As the queen of all things understated, she’s redefined the idea of why and when you wear trainers by pairing them with something as chic as masculine tailoring. She’s a trendsetter through and through.”
Another explanation is found in the dance music revival. Clubbers are embracing the original dance music accessory – Air Max 90s – and the 90s deep house sound is very much back. It is defined not only by the music people are listening to, but by the way they are dancing and the clothes they are wearing. Adam Saville, clubs editor for the publicationDJ Mag, says that there is now a fascination with the original 90s sound and style as people have access on YouTube and the internet to the history of the genre. “When the future’s bleak, there’s a fetishisation of what came before. People are looking back as if it was some sort of golden age,” he said.
In the early 90s, as the house and rave scene developed, there was a practical element to the shoe. “People were dancing all night or awake 24 hours at a time,” said Ben Banks, co-founder of menswear and lifestyle website Oki-ni. “It wasn’t like going to a glamorous, luxury nightclub dressed up to the nines, it was very dressed down, people were wearing more comfortable footwear and baggy clothing.”
The Air Max creator, Tinker Hatfield, was hired by Nike in 1981 as a “corporate architect”. He spent his first four years designing shops and offices, before he was asked to look at shoes. He travelled to Paris searching for inspiration for his first project, and saw the innovative and controversial George Pompidou centre – a large, machine-like building that was “spilling its guts out to the world”.
In stark contrast to traditional Parisian architecture, it is an all-exposed construction: the steel structure is visible from the outside, as are giant external escalators, and the colour-coded pipes. Inspired by this, Hatfield began working on a shoe based on the Pompidou.
Not only did Hatfield and his team expose the inside of the structure and the mechanical systems of the shoe, they painted everything in bright colours, creating the hi-tech modern Air Max look.
“When I was growing up I was allowed three pairs of trainers a year. I started wearing Reebok classics because they were only £29.99 and they brought them out in lots of different colours. Then I moved on to Nike,” said Tory Turk, 29, curator of an exhibition on trainers in London last year – who was wearing a pair of white and blue Air Max 1s. “When you’re 11 or 12, and you’re forced to wear uniform at secondary school, your trainers can show your identity. We were allowed to wear black trainers and in gym you could wear any colour you liked. Our generation was wearing them then, and we’re wearing them now.”
Banks said the high demand was also partly explained by Air Max trainers being about the same price they were 20 years ago. “Air Maxes were £75, £85, £90 in the 90s – they were more expensive then. People see them reissued and look back with a sense of fondness or aspirations that were never fulfilled.”
Experts think the trend still has a long way to go. “It’s the rule of the 20-year cycle,” said Sarah Raphael, online editor at i-D magazine. “The 00s relived the 80s with Dr Martens; the 10s are reliving the 90s and sportswear is back.”
Sara Dal Monte
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The benfits of yoga provide both instant gratification and lasting transformation. In the fitness world, both are extremely important. Too much time with too few results can be incredibly discouraging, and monotonous routines week after week can lead to stagnation. Yoga can change your physical and mental capacity quickly, while preparing the mind and body for long-term health.
Yoga is for everyone
Most yoga studios and local gyms offer yoga classes that are open to all generations and fitness levels. It’s exciting to enter a room full of young teens, athletes, middle-aged moms, older gentlemen and even fitness buffs and body builders. Everyone can feel accepted and included and, unlike other sports or classes that focus on niche clients, yoga tends to have open arms. Whether you like to say “Om” or you can’t stand the word “yogi;” whether you are 92, 53, or even 12, yoga can help you.
Yoga encourages overall health and wellness
Yoga is not just about working out, it’s about a healthy lifestyle. The practice of yoga allows students to be still in a world consumed with chaos. Peace and tranquility achieved through focused training appeals to everyone.
Yoga’s deep breathing and meditation practices help foster an inner shift from to-do lists, kids and spouse’s needs, financial concerns and relational struggles to something a little bit bigger than the issues you face. Yoga helps relieve stressand unclutter the mind, and helps you get more focused.
Yoga has many faces
One of the benefis of yoga is that you can choose a yoga style that is tailored to your lifestyle, such as hot yoga, power yoga, relaxation yoga, prenatal yoga, etc. Whether you prefer you’re at home, in a private session, watching a DVD or at a studio or gym, there are a huge variety of options available to suit your goals and needs.
If you are a yoga beginner, Hatha yoga, which focuses on basic postures at a comfortable pace, would be great for you. If you want to increase strength through using more of your own body’s resistance, power yoga may be right for you. There is a great online yoga program at Gaiam Yoga Studio that focuses on Hatha yoga.
If you are ready for a deeper practice, Advanced Yoga, or Bikram, also called “hot yoga,” may be just what you are looking for. In Bikram yoga, the room temperature is set to around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, resulting in greaterelimination of toxins from the body through the increased production of sweat. No matter your fitness level, fat percentage, or health history, yoga has a place for you.
Strength training and flexibility
Yoga’s focus on strength training and flexibility is an incredible benefit to your body. The postures are meant to strengthen your body from the inside-out, so you don’t just look good, you feel good too. Each of the yoga poses is built to reinforce the muscles around the spine, the very center of your body, which is the core from which everything else operates. When the core is working properly, posture is improved, thus alleviating back, shoulder and neck pain.
The digestive system gets back on track when the stretching in yoga is coupled with a healthy, organic diet, which can relieve constipation, irritable bowl syndrome (IBS) and acid reflux. Another one of the benefits of yoga is that stretching and holding of postures also causes muscles to lengthen, which gives the body a longer, leaner look.
How does power yoga build muscle?
A more advanced form of yoga can amplify these effects. Adapted from the basic Ashtanga yoga, power yoga requires increased amounts of energy, focus and strength. Although power yoga is an evolvement of the basics, it certainly is not a basic course.
But how does it help build muscle? Deeper, more focused participation is required, because most poses are held for five full breaths versus the usual one to three breaths. Muscles are challenged as the mind and body have to work together simultaneously to hold a position or continue a succession without giving up. Breathing, posing, moving and increasing flexibility happen all together at one time, which solicits a new level of discipline in your mind and body.
Power yoga and the core
Isometric exercises are one of the best ways to build core strength. Isometric, stemming from the words “same” and “length,” simply translates to holding one position without moving. Power yoga uses isometric exercises along with other postures that are designed to make the core and back stronger. Flexibility and balance stem from your core, so it is very important to train this area of the body. In turn, you can increase the strangth and health of your entire body. Generally a higher-temperature room is used in this practice to help keep the muscles warm and release additional toxins from the body.
Power yoga’s effect on the total body
Here’s a list of some of the most beneficial aspects of power yoga:
- It increases endurance, strength and flexibility.
- Mental endurance and physical stamina are tested through holding postures for extended breaths.
- Arm and shoulder strength is multiplied as you use your own body weight for resistance.
- Lats and other back muscles begin to support the spine better than before.
- Abdominals and obliques are refined and sharpened through building core muscles.
- Poor and average posture begins to correct itself over time.
- Hip flexors are stretched and rebuilt.
- Glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves are tightened and lengthened where they need to be.
No matter what ails your aching body, or if you just want to take your fitness to a higher level, power yoga’s ability to build muscle has an undeniably effect on the total body.
Sara Dal Monte
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