The story behind Hiroshi Fujiwara’s longstanding Fragment Design x Nike Partnership
Hiroshi Fujiwara, is, without a doubt, one of the most influential and respected names in the streetwear industry. His brand, Fragment Design has in the last two decades propelled itself to the height of the scene, shaping and moulding modern day culture in a way never seen before. Conceptualised in 2003, Fragment was and continues to be an undeniable streetwear stalwart, but how did Hiroshi Fujiwara, Fragment Design, and Nike come to be in the first place?
After moving to Tokyo in the early ‘80s at 18 years old, Fujiwara made a name for himself as a staple in the emerging Harajuku [a nod to the Japanese neighborhood that birthed streetwear] streetwear scene, before befriending the likes of Shawn Stussy during his time visiting New York.
By the end of the ‘80s, Fujiwara had already established himself as “the godfather of streetwear”, and had become a staple in the underground streetwear scene, he launched his own brand, GOODENOUGH at the start of the ‘90s.
GOODENOUGH was inspired by Fujiwara’s trips to New York, and combined everything that he loved, with his designs referencing his love of hip hop, punk, and skateboarding. The label went on to inspire many influential people/brands within the industry, including that of BAPE, and many more.
After a venture with Jun Takahashi and Tomoaki Nagao [Nigo], which saw the rise of fashion brands like A Bathing Ape, WTAPS, SOPHNET., and NEIGHBORHOOD – Fujiwara, again, wanted to delve into something that combined all of his interests in one. Out of this, Fragment Design was born in 2003.
However, unknown to some, Fujiwara’s relationship with Nike began a little earlier. In 2002, Hiroshi would form a trio with some of the greatest minds in the industry. Dubbed HTM [an acronym for Hiroshi, Tinker, Mark?] Nike’s Mark Parker, Tinker Hatfield, and Hiroshi Fujiwara changed the course of footwear history with innovative designs across some of Nike’s most iconic silhouettes.
It wasn’t long until Hiroshi’s Fragment Design got its first collaboration with the Swoosh giant, with the duo collaborating on a number of projects over the last decade.
Much of his earlier Fragment collabs saw Fujiwara putting his touches on Nike’s court models, however, this all changed when he worked on the retailer’s iconic Dunk iteration for the 2010 Fragment x Nike Dunk High ‘City Pack’. The pack featured a trio of colourways, paying homage to NYC, London, and Beijing, and is still considered one of Fujiwara’s most exciting collaborations by many sneakerheads.
Arguably the most renowned and sought-after Fragment x Nike project, though, is the Fragment x Air Jordan 1 Fujiwara and Nike released in 2014, as the duo redesigned Michael Jordan’s first signature shoe. At the time, Jordan brand was keen to bring back the AJ1’s original quality, and combined the sneaker with two lauded Jordan 1 colourways – the “Black Toe’ and “Royal”. The pair was rounded out with Fragment’s eponymous lighting bold logo stamped into the lateral heel. This release would go on to solidify Hiroshi Fujiwara as one of the greatest minds in the game.
Fast-forward to the present day, and Fragment continues to make its mark on the streetwear scene. His ongoing partnership with Nike has seen the 57-year-old work on some of the most renowned models from the brand’s archive, including the: Air Jordan 3, Sacai x Nike LDWaffle, and recently, a collaboration with rapper, Travis Scott on the Fragment x Travis Scott x Air Jordan 1 in high and low top renditions.
Numerous collaborations with monolithic brands like Moncler, Off-White, ASSC, Louis Vuitton, etc, ensures that both Fragment and Hiroshi Fujiwara remain firmly rooted at the forefront of modern-day culture, while the designers and brands that he inspired throughout the years, will always consider Fujiwara Hiroshi “the godfather of streetwear”.