Meet Taslima Khan, the London Designer behind Nike’s latest trainers

Dream big and big things happen. Londoner Taslima Khan, a sustainable womenswear designer is proof of this philosophy. She was handpicked by sportswear giant Nike to design a new pair of trainers for them. Her Air Max 95 ‘CHANGE MAKEAIR’ are now on sale as a limited run of 350 pairs, available to buy over 10 days only, and are the shoe that every collector is trying to get their hands on.

But how does an unknown indie designer land such an incredible opportunity, in a world where there are so few South Asians in the industry? AsianaTV caught up with 31-year-old Taslima to find out more.

We don’t suppose there are many Bangladeshi girls designing trainers for Nike, how does it feel to know that you’re representing?
I’m not aware of any myself but I know my family are proud and excited for me. I feel that representation matters and we need more people who look like us to be working at/with bigger corporations to be able to show other Bengalis/people of colour, that you can dream and achieve what you want to be, especially in the creative industries.

As a Fashion Designer, what’s your usual signature style?
I design handmade sustainable womenswear in small quantities. My first collection was ‘athluxe’ solely working with sports fabric based on my basketball and dance background.

My designs are also inspired by various global social issues from the research and campaigns I have done. For example, my current collection is spreading the message of peace, love and unity with inspiration coming from the Bosnian genocide. I take the negative and I highlight the positive change we can make and give back as the source of my inspiration.

How did it feel when you found out that Nike has selected you to design a trainer for them?
I was overwhelmed and emotional as it has been a childhood dream to work with Nike. They did a call out for creatives at the beginning of the year. I submitted my brief and design concept and was selected with 19 other creatives by the Nike team to co-create their ‘Nike by you’ range.

Taslima’s trainers for Nike celebrate the diversity of her city, London

Tell us about the trainer you’ve designed for them
My “CHANGE MAKEAIR” celebrates change-makers in our community, London as a multicultural city and being comfortable in our own skin. Growing up in London I felt blessed that it’s a multicultural environment. I wanted to celebrate and unite us all as one human race. Every colour represents a shade of culture, being influenced by art, sports, food, music, dance, fashion, languages and traditions. My “CHANGE MAKEAIR” are Air Max 95, with different layers of a neutral colour palette, from the top layer sail white colour to guava ice colour, washed coral, rose gold with a black sole and black and rose gold contrasting lace loops. The text at the back of one shoe says C.N.G change and the other shoe has M.K.R- Maker on it, together making “CHANGE MAKEAIR”

How does one even go about designing a pair of trainers and how long did you have?
Not long! Although I had the concept, I only had 10 days in June to design them using Nike’s online studio platform. I first created a colour mood board and artwork representing my ‘unseen London’ then moved onto sketches before designing the final footwear online.

Now that you’ve reached a career milestone, what’s next?
This experience has been a childhood dream of mine. I’m still digesting everything, it feels very surreal but at the same time I’ve been designing and working in the creative industry for a long time and I feel like I am reaping the benefits of staying consistent and committed to my dreams and working hard is why I am here. I am grateful for this. I plan to focus on this campaign of change-makers and create a collection on the back of this collaboration. I’m looking forward to collaborating with other companies in the near future.

NIKE “CHANGE MAKEAIR” trainers by Taslima Khan cost £154.95.
They are Limited Edition 350 pairs and are available now at www.nike.com/gb

Follow Taslima on Instagram: @Taslima_K_

Article: Momtaz Begum-Hossain