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Tinker Hatfield Talks About Designing His Office At Nike, Working Weekends, & Creating The Air Jordan XI

Submitted by on September 17, 2012 – 10:54 amOne Comment
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If you’re a sneakerhead, then you no doubt know who Tinker Hatfield is. For the better part of the last 25 years, Hatfield has been designing Air Jordans for Nike and coming up with some of the best sneaker designs of all-time. But, he’s rarely given interviews to talk about his work, so we’ve always wondered what goes through his head when he’s designing his sneakers. Fortunately, GQ caught up with Hatfield recently to talk about a number of different things, including a bunch of stuff directly related to his creative process. Here are just a few of our favorite outtakes from the interview…

Hatfield on the design of his office:

“When you’re a designer trying to think of new ideas, you need a space that’s off-the-wall and different. This book, A Pattern Language, which I read while studying architecture, explains why: An environment’s design gives you cues about how it’s used.”

Hatfield on working nights and weekends:

“I never design during business hours. I might do a few sketches, but almost all the drawings are done at night or on the weekends.”

Hatfield on his haters:

“I started designing the Air Jordan XI during Michael’s first retirement—I kept saying he would un-retire. People at Nike gave me a hard time, so I wanted to show those assholes that we could make the best Jordans ever. The XI was the first basketball shoe to have a carbon-fiber plate in the sole and patent leather. By the time I showed Michael, he’d started playing again.”

To read the rest of the interview, head over to the GQ homepage. This guy is literally a living legend. So, show him some respect and check out what he has to say about a bunch of other things that have gone on during his illustrious career. It’s definitely worth a read.

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