Saturday 25 February 2023

WE ARE 1 - Nike AF1

Filmmaker Enrico Poli joins forces with Undervilla to create a visually stunning piece following Nike AF1’s 40th anniversary.


Named after the plane on which the United States President traveled - but known and loved by many other names - Air Force Ones are arguably Nike’s most iconic and best-selling sneakers. Designed by Bruce Kilgore in 1982, the shoe gained popularity with the release of the Low model, which found a fervent fanbase in major cities like New York and D.C., and remains to date a global fashion and street culture standard.

In late 2022, driven by their common love for the iconic shoe, filmmaker Enrico Poli and Undervilla - a production company based in Bologna, Italy - joined efforts to create a film to celebrate the AF1’s 40th anniversary. Over the years the AF1’s silhouette has served as a canvas for innumerable artists and designers. However, the creatives were convinced that no other model connects to sport, music, fashion, art, the street and the city like the white-white.

The mindblowing idea of so many people across time and space picking the same item of clothing to define their style, is what inspired the title of the work. Indeed, ‘We Are One’ - united by the effortlessly cool footwear in spite of our age, culture and spoken language. ‘We Are One’ is an innuendo to the collective strive to eliminate division in our societies; and it’s also, to some extent, an invitation to embrace all the aspects that reside within our inner selves.

The team’s ambition was therefore to create a timeless piece that could convey the heritage of the AF1s; something that would resonate with the newer generations as well as with the older ones. This purpose sparked a debate over the correct language to be used in the film. In recent years we’ve witnessed a gradual transition in brands’ storytelling, that now tend to favor an aesthetic approach over classically structured narratives. Images emerge from chaos and are reabsorbed into the chaos of the world we live in. Nothing really sticks with us for more than a few hours... The approach is indeed contemporary, but it is disorienting, especially for those of us who grew up in the 80s and the 90s - as many of the AF1s users are.

Thus the idea to create a storytelling that would use a contemporary language while being structured as a classical hero’s journey. In the film there are flashing images, glitches, loud uplifting music. There is chaos, indeed. But there is also structure; a basic narrative that can be enjoyed and understood by people of all ages and for years to come. This, and much more, is ‘We Are One’. Enjoy.

Undervilla is a production company and post-production house based in Bologna, Italy - It specializes in commercials, fashion and music videos.

Enrico Poli is an award winning director working across narrative, fashion and advertising -

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