By now you’ve probably seen at least one of the crazy amount of #NikeWomen instagram photos (over 98 THOUSAND!) and you have an idea that Nike unveiled some major sh*t in NYC this week.
But who were these women from around the Globe and why did THEY get to experience this Willy Wonka-esque sneaker, gear & inspiration factory??
The beauty of a personal blog is that I get to tell you the stuff that editors may think is fluff and explain what it’s really like to attend “Camp Swoosh”. Let me guess, you’re asking yourself why did SHE get to go and not ME? I have no flipping clue. Nike maintains this Wizard of Oz like veil around everything… it’s safer not to ask questions and feel #blessed (the most overused word of 2014) if you are along for the ride.
Which takes me to my next point- if you are someone who needs details and information- this “camp” isn’t for you. You’ll be asked few questions ( Travel info, sizing, dietary restrictions, fitness level) and told…pretty much nothing which is 90% of the fun. Here’s what I knew:
- I was staying at the Trump Soho
- Flying on American leaving Tues night and returning Thurs night
- And I’d be “geared up”, so pack maybe one workout outfit. (And I got this info cause I asked)
That’s it. You jump off that cliff and let go of the urge to want to plan ever detail. I later learned all the women in my group were pondering over the same questions: Will I have time to shop? Will I be able to see my friends? Where will dinners be? Will I get nap time? How hard and often are these workouts and will I embarrass myself?? Smart right? Makes bonding with strangers pretty seamless.
Wake up (I flew in late the night before) and look at the most crazy skyline from my window on the 29th floor. Don’t want to get out of bed but have to be down for breakfast at 8:15a- meet my local Nike rep, Lisa and she tells me that we’ll be rolling with the crew from Canada and their rep most of the day. I also learn that there’s one other Chicago girl in the house- Bolaji from Social Life Chicago. Over breakfast we chat with the girls and are told that we’ll be walking to Spring Studios and won’t return until 4pm (SIX HOURS later).
When you sit in a room awaiting a Nike presentation, the sheer scope of what they are doing is overwhelming. There are faces and languages from around the world, shoes you’ve only dreamed of that the Taiwan girls are rockin’ like it ain’t no thang, and being in the presence of Women that this company deems “important” is pretty inspiring.
Nike CEO Mark Parker took the stage, welcomed the room and explained that the newest products aimed to elevate their game like never before focusing on: the sports bra, tight and Flyknit shoe. Mr Parker added; “I’ve been designing for 30 years and I’ve never been more excited about the future”.
Next, Amy Montana , Nike’s PGM summed it up: “Today’s female does it all and wants it all. She’s the female who trains but also does yoga and likes cool sneakers”.
Truth Amy. Truth. Then….this happened:
Elite Nike athletes including; Skylar Diggins, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Allyson Felix, Sanya Richards-Ross, Adelina Sotnikova, and tennis champ Li Na debuted the new collab with Brazilian designer Pedro Lourenco. And yes that was Karlie Kloss, Damaris Lewis, Joan Smalls and Jeneil Williams floating down to also walk the runway.
Pretty pretty bad ass.
Next we were taken to a room and paired with a Nike Top Trainer (mine was Ingrid Nelson and she rocked) to talk about our fitness goals so they could recommend a training plan that mirrored Nike’s app, and help us decide what workout gear works best for us.
Then we got to see, feel and learn all about the new products.
We got to chat with the head designers from all parts of the company- if you don’t think I geeked out over the sneaker designer’s job then you are wrong.
By this time I’d been chatting it up with Sasha Exter, my new Canadian babe friend and she’s filled me in how Canada’s e commerce scene STINKS. She’s also a former tennis player, now turned runner/blogger and I demand her twitter handle so I can stalk/keep in touch.
The rest of the afternoon we lunched, then took in a seminar on what Nike is doing to preserve the Earth with their sustainability program. A program called Nike Grind uses 28 million shoes to build new shoes- woah mamma. And the new flyknit shoes leave virtually no waste behind- compare to half a bag full of garbage like before.
Next, we spent time learning about the social media and digital component of the company that is 65 million women strong. Michelle Beadle narrated the panel and can I just say that she is one of the BEST at what she does? Truly- she’s intelligent, witty, engaging and makes it look so easy- and it’s not.
We also got time with the very talented and zexy designer Pedro Lourenco who showed off pieces from his new Nike x Pedro Lourenço Collection. Think- “I planned to work out this morning, but then my friend called with a crisis and begged me to go to brunch with her- so I’ll walk there, that counts right??”- his collection is a flawless mix of function and fashion.
Try to snatch some Pedro when it drops on Nov. 13 at select stores or online here: nike.com/nikelab.
By now it’s 4pm, we’ve just gotten back to the hotel and nerves are kickin’ about this looming workout that we are leaving for at 5pm. Thankfully the MASSIVE bag filled with gear provides me a distraction and I am almost late because I’m trying to snap a few selfies (clearly they didn’t work well).
I make more friends on the limo bus ride over with the women from LA, Miami and Mexico City- dying laughing over each other’s view of dating in our city.
Normally you go to Cipriani for a meal, but when we walked in we saw that this place had been transformed into a giant studio with dots on the floor and black lights that made our gear glow. Nike Elite trainers walked around chatting up the women who looked especially nervous (me) and I hung with both Noah, who is a Barry’s Bootcamp Master Trainer and my girl Emily- a trainer from Chicago!
The 45 min workout featured six zones ranging from- warm up to high intensity to cool down. It’s available to do at home via their app and I’ll be honest, it was a great workout without killing yourself.
Champagne was presented as strangers all high-fived and hugged- WE DID IT!
After a quick shower, we feasted with the same chicas from the bus ride earlier and two ladies from San Diego. I must have asked 23 year old Emily Polachek a zillion questions about what it’s like to write for Competitor Magazine, but I traded her some life advice in return.
Then we hit up like 3 clubs till 4am. SIIIIKE- I passed out the second I got back from dinner.
Oh hi 7:00am- not so nice to see you- but I’ve got to be in the lobby at 7:45 for our morning sesh!
Bolaji and I decided to suck it up and do the early workout which was led by the uber trendy ModelFit Studio. This place has a cult following of actual models and Justin Gelband - who was leaden our workout- has been dubbed “The Model Whisper”.
The 30 mins consisted of; a step platform, light ankle weights, a mat and one 3 lb dumbbell. The movements were small and deliberate – think barre or pilates- and DAYUM it was short but a full on ride on the pain train. If you’re in NYC- check out one of their classes for sure- bonus if you work out next to Chrissy Teigen or Irina Shayk who are regulars.
Next we sat and listened to an elite athlete panel, led by Olympian Alyson Felix, discuss how Women in sports are constantly challenging stereotype and continue to break boundaries. I literally wanted to high five everyone in the room afterwards.
Bolaji and I tried taking photos, but we looked pretty bent after the workout- unlike some MAJOR sassy ladies who have to be instagram fashion stars.
Think…ski cap w/veil paired with gold running shorts, a blazer and sneakers- the street style at this thing was the bomb.
The Summit continued thru into the evening depending on what part of the World you were from- since we had already taken in the full experience- I jammed all of my new gear into my suitcase and hit the road for the flight home to Chicago.
Nike, anytime you want me to JUST DO IT, I am in.
COMING SOON: 5 Nike Products To Obsess Over From The 2014 Summit – via SunTimes Splash, and How Nike Products Are Changing to Make Your Workout & Life Easier- here on zee blog