NEW YORK, United States—Footwear giant Nike has dropped a limited edition of new Nike Air Max sneakers custom-designed by a first generation Filipino-American that celebrates his immigrant story.
Rich Tu, vice president of digital design for MTV, VH1, CMT and Logo, was among the 28 New Yorkers chosen by Nike to celebrate the Big Apple's energy, diversity and creativity.
The "Nike By You Cultivator" project is a platform for creatives like Tu to tell their stories using Nike sneakers as their canvass.
"I am a first generation Filipino-American. My parents came here in the 60’s, and I also host a podcast called: First Generation Burden, which is meant to highlight the immigrant voice through conversation," Tu said in his podcast.
His shoe design is inspired by the colors of oxidized metals from around the world, such as the oxidized coppers of the Statue of Liberty.
Fil-Am Leslie Rosales, a project manager of music company Def Jam Recordings, said Tu's immigrant story as told in his shoe design resonates with her.
"America is built by immigrants... I think that story gives the shoe and the product itself, more texture and just more purpose. There’s an actual story and meaning," she said.
Tu's past work includes Nike Lebron 14 "Belt Pack" and the 2016 Lebron Championship Belt. He also worked on illustrations for The New York Times and New Yorker.
The limited edition Nike Air Max 270 is available on Nike's website only until September 1. Proceeds from Tu's "First Gen" Nike Air Max will go to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to benefit immigrant rights.
"It’s been more important now than ever to help elevate that immigrant story here in the US... For me, as a Filipino, my parents, they came here and they sacrificed so I’ma able to represent and do honor to that sacrifice," Tu said.
Read more on Balitang America.