The latest Nike By You x Cultivator collection is a series of colorways tailored to tell the stories of creatives and sneakerheads as a way to give gratitude for certain things in their life.
We chatted with Mark Lopez, one of the creatives featured in the newest NBY x Cultivator drop.
Por La Familia // For the Family
Mark Lopez: The inspiration of this shoe is based on the women who raised me. These are women who come from El Salvador and helped my mom out whether it was helping with pay for groceries or with a place to stay. The majority of my aunt’s and grandma’s helped us out when we didn’t have a home and helped me get to school. They helped me become a better person overall when I was growing up.
El Proceso // The Process
Mark Lopez: My girlfriend actually told me what Cultivator was. She mentioned that this platform has an opportunity to co-create a shoe with Nike by telling a story.
Cultivator DMed me on Instagram. I thought it was fake at first. They told me I could select a silhouette.
I chose the Air Max 1 because of how classic it is given that it was Tinker Hatfield’s creation. It was a no brainer. The theme was to give thanks and gratitude, so I wanted to show that to the women who raised me.
Las Mujeres // The Women
Mark Lopez: I showed my aunt and my mom why I chose them. I didn’t really have a father figure growing up. My extended family was a second hand to my mom during the rough times like when she couldn’t help feed me.
I showed a few of the designs to my aunt and they cried when they saw it. She hugged me and was tearing up. She knows what I’ve been through and how hard it’s been for me growing up. We lost our house when I was a freshman in high school, so my aunt always looked after me. She was very proud of me and happy for me.
My mom thought it was just a regular Nike By You design. She fell into tears once she understood what the shoe actually represented. She knows what shoes mean to me and meant to our family growing up.
They were overwhelmed with emotion.
La Inspiración // The Inspiration
Mark Lopez: The colorway of the sneaker recognizes those women who helped me become who I am today. The pink represents women. The green eyelet and red Swoosh represent my Mexican heritage through my late grandmother on my dad’s side. The embroidered heel tab in gold is an ode to El Salvador’s coat of arms found on the Salvadoran flag.
My mom’s house got foreclosed. My mom couldn’t afford to get us an apartment at that time. I still couldn’t get a job. I had sneakers to help pay the bills and put food on the table.
I eventually sold my entire Jordan collection helped my mom find an apartment for a certain amount of time. We just went up from there. I used my collection to help get us out of those hard times. It was tough.
Sometimes you have to let go of material things in order to take care of more important things. Shoes will always be shoes, and they’ll always be there.
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It feels great. To me, this is still a small scale. I want to hopefully be on Nike’s “On Air” collection so everyone worldwide can purchase my shoe and hear my story. I’m very excited and very blessed because this is a great opportunity for me. I’ve been into sneakers since high school.
I want this shoe to be for the family. I hope my story helps resonate with people who might have gone through similar things. This story may relate to others. I just want everybody to get a pair – that’s why I named it “Por La Familia.”