Lana Fredericks for Nike Air Max 1 '87
When we consider the role of our offering through the lens of creativity, we always want to understand how sneakers make provision for the act of creating itself. For this campaign, we could think of no more intriguing act of creating than Lana Frederick’s practice of contemporary floral design.

As the founder of MYUZU (pronounced myōōzoo), Lana is a floral designer, art director and stylist; shaping artworks out of the wonder that the earth has tooffer us. To celebrate this iteration of the Air Max 1 ’87, Lana brought us into her leaf and petal punctuated world; so we could understand the creative thread between her work and as she says, “the way Air Max puts me at ease and grounds me, allowing me to create in the best way possible.”

Floral design is the art of arranging flowers, foliage and plant materials into beautifully composed artworks. Where a painter has their brush and paints - floral designers work in the realm of natural elements and 3D conceptualisation.

This space is particularly focused on employing a variety of technical elements in order to create harmony: colour, texture, shape and form. Behind some of the most awe-inspiring floral visual installations inSouth Africa, as love letters to the earth and our country’s landscape, Lana explains that, “I see contemporary floral design as an artistic medium. I focus specifically on pulling different textures, shapes and forms - and one of my unique approaches is uncovering naturalistic flowers or foliage from gardens, and styling them in a more modern or abstract way. My process always starts with vessels; it is from the vessel and therelationship I want to build between it and the flowers, to create the forms that I want to create. I don’t see the two separately; the form of the vessel informs the design of the floral arrangement.”

To create is to move, literally, through one’s practice. For Lana’s role as a florist, she can think of no better support than the perennial support offered by the iconic, cushioning air unit of the Air Max. Lana notes her reverence for Nike from the perspective of floristry,

“when I first put the sneakers on, I was reminded how comfortable the Air Max is. As florists, we are usually all in Nike because of the support that it gives our feet; particularly the air in the sole, which provides a cushioning throughout the day that is

essential for us. I loved that we shot the ‘footwork of floristry’ in this campaign and I’d never thought about that - what is the dance that we do while we are creating an arrangement? I was so aware of the movements involved in my practice - and appreciative of the way the Air Max allows me to move effortlessly, approaching floristry from different angles.”

There is a shared symphony reflected between Lana’s consideration of shape, texture and material, as Nike’s is with the continued legacy of the Air Max 1 and its various iterations. It reminds us there is a shared connection and resonance across good design; no matter the medium or final outcome.

As a designer, Lana is guided by the natural cycles of growth and decay - and how these qualities make our ever-changing world, a site of constant celebration. Lana notes that

“one of my key principles is that I take into account the space in which the flowers will exist. We create florals for spaces - and around spaces - we don’t create them to exist on their own. So, there needs to be a constant dialogue between the space, the object and the florals.” What is it about flowers, particularly, that evoke Lana’s aesthetic sensibility? She says, “It is the enduring beauty of flowers. For this arrangement, I used celosia - and I just kept thinking, how can this be real? How does this exist? How can there be 3 or 6 different tones? It looks like something that comes from the sea - how can this come from the earth? Floral design is a practice that grounds me to the earth. It calms and centres me."

Though contemporary floral design is gaining traction in South Africa, Lana remains one of the wayshowers of this artform - for her, it was inevitable, as Lana remincises,

“I grew up around flowers. My grandmother made wedding dresses and my grandfather grew flowers; there was always this conversation about flowers and their role in how we celebrate and connect with each other.” Regarding collaboration, an essential tenet for Lemkus and Nike, Lana notes that collaboration in the realm of floral design is “something that’s come to my understanding in the last few months, actually. Through workshops and speaking to people; flowers are one of the easiest ways to connect with people. It brings instant emotion into the conversation and evokes the senses - and it's an artistic medium that everybody can understand and appreciate. Flowers are beautiful in every state of their existence; living, dead, dry - there is something that connects you to the next person. People are looking more towards pride in our flower growing in South Africa. Especially among women; there are more women growers now than ever before, which is wonderful. Floral design connects me to seasons and I get to tell that narrative to my community and educate people, too.” 

In this pursuit of beauty and good design, we love how this campaign brought us to the world of floristry - with Lana as our flower-whispering teacher.

WMNS NIKE AIR MAX 1 '87 drops in-store and online on lemkus.com - Tuesday, 5th March 2024.

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