Few feminine forces are as indomitable in the mergence between streetwear and fashion than Yoon Ahn, founder of AMBUSH & one of Nike’s foremost collaborators. Yoon’s curatorial vision has proven multi-dimensional - with the ongoing release of the Nike X Ambush Nite Sport collection spanning the planet, bringing with it a ‘celebration of subculture and feminine collectivism’ through sonic and dance experiences from New York, to London, Tokyo, Paris, Milan and now Johannesburg.
Nite Sport is Yoon’s demonstration of the inherent sartorial codes within streetwear, and how its distinction from luxury fashion is becoming more merged than ever. With sportswear more functionally adaptive than ever before and tech-utilitarian sentiments proving perennial in the cultural, collective mind; Nite Sport is not only a collection, but a movement in which the collection is showcased in context, by the many global events hosted by Yoon and Nike. The ingenuity of this is deepened by the Nite Sport phenomena’s commitment to enhancing subcultural sentiments in the digital age across its many intersections - particularly taking root with tangible nightlife experiences - and its dedication to celebrating the power of the femme experience in all its richness.
Queezy is a multi-disciplinary artist bridging the intersections between fine art, fashion and performance, while Cheshire Vineyard is a performance artist, cultural worker and movement director. Lensed by Haneem Christian in an intimate portrayal of sisterhood, embodying the essence of the AMBUSH Air More Uptempo; Queezy and Cheshire are effervescent figures in many multiple dimensions, across many realities. For each of them in their respective practices; night time has seen their continued and profound embodiment and evolution. Having met in Cape Town’s queer nightlife scene, this portrait of their sisterhood serves an offering to the Nite Sport vision of femme collectivism.
“as a multi-hyphenate, I’ve spent the first decade of my career distilling how I can embody my depression and take my multitudes into all the spaces that I occupy, professionally and creatively. Growing up as a creative in South Africa was quite challenging, because we were required to be either ‘this’ or ‘that’. The last few years have allowed me to grow into myself as an artist. I believe we are all meant to exist as multi-dimensional beings - so innately, I have always known there to be another way that was more natural than the binary, social conditioning of our society.” For Chesire, encapsulating their expression exists beyond words or articulation - it is felt, saying “my artistic expression is an intersection of my spirituality and my creativity; they are indivisible. I have always experienced my deepest sense of spiritual connection through my art. Beyond being an artist, activist and performer - I am a mystic, I am a muse, I am a spiritualist and I am a witch.”
Queezy notes that their participation in Nite Sport is a full-circle moment, explaining that “10 years ago I saw Yoon on tumblr and said, ‘wow love her style and how fiercely she carried herself” and continue to see her flourish with her brand Ambush and beyond. Fast forward to today, I get to meet and model her Nike sneakers, so this is a full circle moment - dreams do come true and my dreams are coming true.”
Cheshire explains that taking part in this campaign has come with multiple resonances, as they describe that “when I first saw the first Nite Sport campaign that Yoon did in reference to The Craft, I was lit up and obsessed! The Craft was an early awakening for me in early childhood and adolescence, an awakening of a truth which was still so marginalised and oppressed - and it stirred this connection I innately felt to feminine wisdom. To see these sentiments and mysteries of the world come to form a campaign that I get to be involved with, with a powerful femme force like Yoon, is so aligned with my personal philosophy and what I am to achieve in this world as an artist.” and particularly as a pioneer of Ballroom and a House Mother in South Africa, Cheshire notes that “Nike is a brand that I’ve worked with before with FKA Twigs, and I’ve come to develop such a passion for the brand. I’ve witnessed their engagement with communities that mean so much to me - they were one of the very first brands to ever spotlight ballroom - long before it was ever in its current, mainstream exaltation. I’ll never forget their campaign with the icon Leiomy Maldonado, which is still one of the most moving and touching campaigns that I’ve ever seen a big brand do with a marginalised community like Ballroom.”
“The first rule of my house is that everything is energy. We start with energy first, and from that energy we self-determine - we create ourselves, we imagine ourselves into being. We release ourselves from the projections of the world and the shackles that are placed on us through these forced binaries. We start as pure potentiality - from energy comes from, and then it returns back to energy. It makes for a very liberated space and in terms of how the other members of my house - my children - relate to one another.”
Cheshire and Queezy are guardians of a long lineage of queer, coloured folks in South Africa who have always existed beyond binary and limitation; the world has simply needed to adapt to reflect the vision of this. By virtue of their existence in their fullest expression, so does the density of oppression begin to be dissolved. Cheshire and Queezy’s expression is a destined one, guided by ancestral sisters like Kewpie and to us at Lemkus, each of the sisters are right in the centre of building a legacy beyond what may have ever been possible before. This is precisely what Nite Sport celebrates across its collection and the communities it is creating around it. As we said, it’s a phenomenon.