Feb 29, 2024
by Karl Smith
Bodega Plays Host to Nike Re-Creation, Putting Community and Sustainability First
by Karl Smith
Feb 29, 2024

Having hosted pop-ups in the UK and mainland Europe last year, working with London-based upcyclers Greater Goods (but, please – don’t call it upcycling) and with Paris-based designer Sarah Moh, Nike’s collaborative Re-Creation program has once again set-up shop in Los Angeles – a place that’s starting to feel like the Earth-friendlier event’s unofficial home.

And when we say “set-up shop,” we mean that in the most literal sense – collaborating with Bodega’s Southern California outpost to host a new joint effort with Angelino outfit Reclaimed and vertically-integrated fashion production operation TEG, featuring a mix of upcycled apparel, accessories and even footwear, reimagined from archival products and deadstock materials.

Bodega has been busy of late, continuing its sustainably-minded footwear-focused collaboration with Saucony, among other projects – and this third instalment of its participation in the Re-Creation program continues to establish the brand-slash-studio-slash-store as a serious player when it comes to more conscious creative endeavours.

“Through the Re-Creation initiative, we’ve been able to support Nike’s mission to find alternative methods to produce meaningful, intentional clothing meant to be worn and re-worn, time and time again,” says Matthew Zaremba, Bodega’s (very busy) Director of Marketing, highlighting the fact that this isn’t just an opportunity to partner with a household name but, rather, a chance to do that in a way which might make people think different – about fashion, about production, and even perhaps about Nike. (Although, of course, the latter is a somewhat taller order.)

At Nike, the Beaverton-based super-brand sees Re-Creation in much the same way: “The Nike Re-Creation Program embodies our vision for a more sustainable future, fueled by creativity and collaboration,” says Kyle Wood, Senior Director of Circularity at Nike. “We partner with designers who authentically embrace upcycling and co-creation, championing sustainability and innovation,” Wood continues, pointing out another important facet of the program – the chance for a mega-brand like Nike to throw its weight behind smaller labels which have the vision but not the visibility.

“Partnering with Bodega allows us to amplify this vision,” says Wood, “driving positive change by fostering deeper connections with the consumer and elevating creative voices in the LA community through our collaborative efforts.”

And, in this particular case, there’s a kind of karmic domino effect at play that’s slightly longer than the usual one-two of a two-brand Re-Creation collaboration – a knock-on effect that starts with Nike and, through Bodega and through Reclaimed, makes itself felt all the way to TEG at the end of the chain and past that down to the local creative community in a wider sense.

“As an LA-based retailer, it’s always energizing when we can help amplify local creatives,” Zaremba agrees. “We’re inspired by the partnership between Re-Creation, Julian Felix at Reclaimed, as well as TEG, to bring this collection to life, and to champion sustainability as well as innovative design,” he continues, keen to evangelize the potential of programs like this and the impact they broader positive impact they can have.

“The Nike Re-Creation series is setting a new bar for fostering local talent, countering global mass manufacturing, and re-envisioning apparel to be timeless,” Zaremba says, “We’re excited to support the team and the initiative, and champion the principles of the series.”

And, while it’s hard to gloss over some of the facts here – facts about Nike’s own contribution to “global mass manufacturing,” in particular, and how programs like Re-Creation might also have the off-label effect of helping to recalibrate how the company is perceived in that regard – it’s also hard to be cynical when enthusiasm about the project, which is so apparent from all sides, is also clearly so genuine.

And it’s interesting, too, to see that – while Nike may have some considerable way to go in terms of revolutionizing its own business model – the brand clearly understands that a key part of making progress is to pass the torch. Or, at least, to share it.