NV Funk for Nike Air Max Plus Drift
Nike’s iconic Air Max represents a pantheon of design and cultural influence that cannot be replicated. Since its introduction in 1987, it has embodied a credibility among the world’s rising generations of creative instigators and disruptors, which continues to unfold and reach greater heights.

In our South African context, the storied history of the Air Max pulses through every decade since its introduction; the love for Air Max has passed from hands to hearts, to become the ultimate companion when realising our potential. This is a sneaker so loved, it has its own birthday; Air Max Day - honouring its cultural impact and innovative heritage. 

Cape Town-based artist, DJ, performer and designer NV Funk (AKA Nathan Van Dalen) embodies the Maxxed Out spirit like no other. A pioneer of Gqom’s manifestation as a dominating sound - Nathan’s live performances bring the famed percussionist aspect of the genre centre stage - bound by his infectious energy and masterful style. Nathan is a figurehead of the deep and powerful rhythm intrinsic to the genre, and all that it represents for South African originality and steez; there’s a reason his moniker is ‘FUNK’. As Nathan explains, Gqom is a sonic expression of the highest order, “Gqom is a unique, uptempo South African creative sound. We are the forebears of a genre that is totally original and unique in expression - the way we add the richness of African drums to an electronic soundscape is nothing like the world has seen before.”

Nathan’s live performance is an instruction in the art of energetic expression - as he explains,

“my creative practice is about trying to improve my skills every single day. I take heed from those who inspire me - whether it's artists, percussionists or DJs - I am constantly researching and practising. I feed off energy. The energy in a space determines what I need to focus on - and I am intertwined with how to give and receive energy in any given moment.” Pure style is derived from the essence of who you are - for Nathan, his motivation is simple and rooted in the future that he is following, “I’m inspired by greatness. I’m always eager to learn from people who are achieving their path - and that doesn’t need to be the richest or most popular people. When I see  people do amazing things with their lives, it pushes me to keep changing my situation for myself, my family and the people around me.”

To celebrate the Air Max + Drift, we knew two things needed to happen; that Nathan had to perform, public intervention-style, and that we had to call on the energy of South Africa’s taxi culture. Being on the road, at the crack of dawn - bound for your destination - a South African taxi will make sure you’re well fed on the latest sounds (if you know, you know) at full volume - and can we talk about the creative tradition of custom wrapped taxis?

So, we turned a taxi into an Air Max hybrid - employing the iconic armour of the sneaker’s latest iteration in Phantom, Light Armory Blue, Cacao Wow, Sail, and Gum Yellow - bringing you the most South African billboard imaginable, with an attitude and edge that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. We’re putting respect on taxi culture’s influence, as representatives of original style and the Maxxed Out spirit intrinsic to our country. 

As Nathan tells us, “Nike and Air Max mean a lot to my culture and creativity. It's our go-to brand in my community - we understand the feeling of confidence that Nike has always given us, and the Air Max particularly - nothing makes you feel as fly and ready to go out into the world and create than when you’re wearing a pair.”
To be bold and live with total conviction of what is possible - that’s our blueprint. Inspiring the cityscape of Cape Town with expressions of our cultural heritage is our way of inviting a new generation of convention-breakers and creative-visionaries.

With Nathan as our teacher on this one, he reminds us that that the path is clear - “my vision is simple; I want to expand, to do great things and to inspire. I feel like I know my purpose as an artist and creative, and above all I want to make sure I inspire the kids from my hood - to let all the kids know that it's possible with hardwork and determination. Our people have so much potential and so my goal is to serve them to step into their greatness.”