Sportswear giant and international mainstay, Nike Sportswear is the original innovator in athletic footwear and apparel. With a vast legacy spanning five decades, Nike is known for its experimentation with form and function that has permeated through popular culture as the go-to brand for streetwear apparel. With a legion of fans including athletes, celebrities, and the upper echelons of the world’s fashion, Nike attracted pioneer status with its constantly evolving style and product offering.
Founded in 1964 by University of Oregon track athlete Phil Knight and his coach, Bill Bowerman, Nike was originally established as Blue Ribbon Sports. While in its infancy, the company initially operated in Eugene, Oregan as a distributor for the Japanese footwear brand Onitsuka Tiger. The brand started by selling their footwear at various track meets out of Phil Knight’s car, and in their first year of business, the brand formerly known as Blue Ribbon Sportswear sold 1300 pairs of the Japanese running shoes. By the following year, their sales had more than doubled and Knight and Bowerman opened their first retail store in 1966 at Pico Boulevard in Santa Monica, California. In 1971, the partnership between Blue Ribbon Sportswear and Onitsuka Tiger came to an end, and Knight and Bowerman soon launched their first Nike brand shoe in 1972. The first pair of Nike shoes were made for Otis Davis, a University of Oregon student athlete who was coached by Bowerman, and who later became an Olympic gold medalist at the 1960 Summer Olympics. By 1978, the company was officially renamed as Nike, Inc., and the brand soon boomed to success, becoming a public company by 1980.
The iconic Swoosh came into existence in 1971. By 1974 the Nike tick was registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office when it officially became the brand’s logo. The Nike Swoosh was designed by Carolyn Davidson, a graphic design student at the time at Portland State University. Davidson has met Phil Knight while attaining her bachelor’s degree in design, while Knight was teaching classes at the university. Knight had heard that Davidson was looking for extra work and offered to pay the designer to work for his company. The first pair of Nike shoes to bear the Swoosh design had been a pair of cleated football shoes, and Knight had tasked Davidson with the creation of a logo to be featured. The original intent was to create a logo which would convey motion, yet something that was distinct from the addison 3-Stripes logo that was already an iconic symbol in sportswear at the time. Knight has been adamant that the new logo needed to be a simple design that was clean, fluid, and conveyed expressions of motion and speed. The company ultimately landed on the Swoosh mark. Knight had expressed that he didn’t love the design but that he thought it would grow on him - and grow on him it did as the Swoosh became a globally recognised logo. In June 1972, the first official Nike track shoe was released to athletes, the Nike Cortez, emblazoned with the fresh new Swoosh design. When it was first released, the logo was displayed in a range of colours to stand out from other footwear logos on the track. The first designs were primarily featured in a red and white colour palette, symbolising passion, energy, joy, nobility, charm and purity. Up until 1994, the official logo for the brand featured the name ‘NIKE’ in a bold, all-caps font that sat within the Swoosh. By the following year, Nike began using the Swoosh on its own as their corporate logo, a design decision that has continued to be the signature hallmark of their branding.
In 1976, Nike hired John Brown and Partners as its first advertising agency. The agency was responsible for the sporting company’s first ever ‘brand ad’ called “There is no finish line.” The advertisement was the first of many that would become an instantly recognisable part of the brand’s legacy. Nike later went on to work with the agency Wieden+Kennedy, who it has continued to work with for decades on numerous print and television advertising campaigns. The agency’s co-founder Dan Weiden was the person to coin the now infamous “Just Do It” slogan in 1998. That very slogan which was featured in the brand’s advertising campaign in that year, was chosen by Advertising Age as one of the top five ad slogans of the 20th century, and enshrined in the prestigious Smithsonian Institution. Nike’s first “Just Do It” campaign made its debut in July 1988, featuring Walt Stack, the marathon runner from San Francisco, California, and the slogan was soon embedded in the consciousness of the world.
Throughout the 1980s, Nike worked to expand its line of products to encompass a diverse range of sports and regions around the world. In 1990, Nike moved its headquarters to Beaverton, Oregon, and their first Nike retail store opened in Portland in November of that year. By the early 21st century, Nike had retail outlets and distributors in more than 170 countries, and its logo was recognised all throughout the world.
Here at Incu, we stock a selected range of men’s Nike Sportswear apparel and footwear. From special collaborations like Nike x ACG, to Nike’s mainline designs and limited editions, we stock all of the newest and limited styles. From outdoors-inspired styles to classic streetwear favourites like lace up sneakers, performance-heavy gear, soft cotton t0shirts, lightweight tracksuit pants, taffeta shorts, water and windproof jackets, hats, socks, bags and other accessories, you’ll find all of the latest Nike styles in store and online at Incu. Other streetwear favourites are adidas, Patagonia, The North Face, and more.