Nike is the top apparel company in the US, with annual revenues of $30.6 billion.
One key part of the company’s growth has been its strategic collaborations with athletes. Nike has created signature lines of shoes and clothing for LeBron James and Maria Sharapova, and its designers have worked with paratriathletes to design new products for amputees.
In a recent interview with Hypebeast, Nike CEO Mark Parker explained why athletes are the perfect partner for a company that’s constantly looking for ways to grow and change:
I always say that as an innovation company, we’re privileged to work in the world of sports because our source of inspiration – the athlete – never stops progressing. No athlete wakes up and thinks, “Today, I want to perform the same as I did yesterday.” It’s always about getting better, which means we’ll always have new problems to solve. Our job is never done.
On its website, Nike gives some examples of how athletes and designers fuel each other’s creativity when they work together. For example, in 2008 Kobe Bryant and Nike’s Eric Avar designed the KOBE 9, which featured technology that made for a lighter-weight and better-fitting shoe.
As for the future, Parker told Hypebeast that he anticipates even more partnerships to develop:
“Collaboration among individuals, brands, and industries will only continue to accelerate as technology facilitates and enables greater connection in real time from anywhere in the world.”