July 17, 2022 by Joey Birch
The young fashion designer Jacquemus may be best known for his miniature handbags that debuted during his Fall 2019 runway show, or perhaps you know from his most recent collaboration with Nike. Whatever the case, Simon Porte Jacquemus’ story is an inspiring one.
A young Jacquemus with his mother. Image via Glam Observer
Born in 1990, Jacquemus came from humble beginnings after spending his childhood in a small village near Marseille where his family worked on a farm. Early in his life, the designer had his eyes on the French capital after supposedly being told “If you make it in Paris, you can make it anywhere”.
After leaving school, Simon moved to Paris and began his career at the age of 18, enrolling at the École Supérieure des Arts et techniques de la Mode (Higher School of Fashion Arts and Techniques). After a rocky beginning with both fellow students and teachers doubting his ability, tragedy struck the teenager with his mother, Valérie Jacquemus, passing away.
When speaking to Another Magazine in 2016, Jacquemus remembers:
“When I was 19, studying at fashion school in Paris, I felt lost. I didn’t know what I was doing. Then, one month later, my mother died”.
Going on to mention the origin of his now incredibly successful fashion brand, he says:
“I knew exactly what I wanted to do. My brand would be named after my mother’s maiden name, Jacquemus, and designed for the girl my mother was. My mother died, without any reason. I realised everything can stop tomorrow. I told myself, ‘You need to live your life’ ”.
Following the passing of his mother in 2009, the French designer launched his self-titled brand at just 19 years old. After his work was recognised by Comme Des Garçons founder Rei Kawakubo, Jacquemus went on to work in the CDG store in Paris to help fund his work.
The self-taught designer has since gone on to explode into popular culture, not only creating numerous collections and campaigns that have been met with incredibly positive reviews, but utilising social media to create an eclectic timeline that takes fans behind the scenes of the brand.
Amongst his inspiring career successes, including reaching a finalist spot and a special prize for the LVMH Prize in 2014 and 2015, Jacquemus announced his collaboration with Nike on the 16th of May with a once again lavish image depicting a tennis court situated in a white sand desert with the two brands' logos emblazoned either end.
Amongst the whole collection, modelled by Jorja Smith, Jacquemus showcased his first sneaker collaboration with Nike. While we’ve been seeing a lot of collaborations recently using the Dunk or an Air Max 1, the designer chose to use the 1997 Air Humara model.
Designed by Peter Fogg, a legendary Nike designer who played a part in Nike’s ACG, basketball and running sectors, the Humara was Foggs first ever sneaker with Nike and was initially in contention, almost to be cancelled. Nevertheless, thanks to a slue of positive marketing from both his team and from the late Gary Warnet who was, amongst many other things, known as an ACG connoisseur naming it one of Nike’s top 25 ACG silhouettes of all time, the release came to fruition.
Despite the sneaker's more elusive existence, Supreme fans may remember that the hiking silhouette was collaborated on by the streetwear brand in 2017 as part of the silhouette's 20th anniversary.
Celebrating 25 years, Jacquemus has brought a fresh take on the archival model arriving in two separate colourways. Both pairs showcase a minimal finish with the ‘Beige’ pair arriving with a clean white and beige upper overlaying long-haired suede on smooth white leather, atop a white rubber midsole and gum outsole.
The second ‘Ale Brown’ pair feature details closer to the original design with smooth brown leather overlaid by light brown suede in conjunction with a carbon fibre style midsole.
Nike ACG 'Pocket Knife', 1998
As is to be expected by Jacquemus, certain details on the Humara have been played around with, including a miniature gold Swoosh sitting on both the medial and lateral sides of the shoe in addition to a lacing system similar to that seen on the recent Travis Scott x Nike Air Max 1, with laces wrapping around the upper and heel - inspired by the 1998 Nike ‘Pocket Knife’, created by Air Max 95 designer Sergio Lozano.
However, despite the changes made to the details on the ‘97 model, fans of the original were pleased to find out that the sneaker’s iconic rugged outsole has been left intact.
When speaking about the collaboration with Nike, the founder of Jacquemus told Highsnobiety: "I have always been inspired by vintage ACG pieces and Nike campaigns from the ’90s”, going on to call the Humara “my favourite Nike shoe”.
Not only a loving recreation of an archival Nike silhouette, the Jacquemus x Nike Humara is a physical representation and celebration of the journey that the designer has been on to get to this point. From humble beginnings to experiencing life-changing situations that some would allow to define them, Simon Porte Jacquemus has turned a self-founded brand when he was 19 into a global phenomenon.