Nike Air Force 1 Carnival Pack

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Originally launched in 2003, the shoe reinterprets the classic Air Force silhouette with bold colours inspired by the Rio Carnivale. Every summer London celebrates the communities, culture and traditions of Carnival, embracing cultural diversity during the two-day festival – which sees the streets of Notting Hill burst with colours, music and dancing. The re-release has a limited-edition insole design featuring words that encapsulate what Carnival represents — “Peace, Love and Unity.”

We spoke to London based, Carnival regulars, cousins Savanna Small and Tshikedi Francis and dancer/choreographer Remi Black about their memories of Carnival. Shot by Olivia Rose.

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Savanna Small: “My best carnival memory to date would be walking towards the smell of food and meeting this old Rasta guy. His energy was so high that as me and my friends were walking past, we just had to stop and have a little reggae dance with him. It is always amazing to see the older and younger generations really getting on, and Carnival definitely helps to spread that love and energy.

Carnival is a massive cultural moment and for all of us to be able to come together and celebrate our heritage is amazing. It’s an ingrained tradition, and because London is so multicultural it’s not just black people turning up. London is so open, and of course there is always going to be racism and classism, but when it comes to Carnival, everyone that is there in that moment. It is there to spread love and happiness and it’s so special to London as a multicultural city.

 Everyone that comes, comes to have a good time. I was a really young kid when I first went to Carnival – I went on my dad’s shoulders and remember feeling the energy from up there, it was such a good experience and so lively. I remember the sights, smells, sounds, and the feelings that they brought out in me. When I was 13 or 14 I desperately wanted to go on my own, but I wasn’t allowed. It was when I was about 16 that I started going with my friends, and the REAL carnival experience started from there!”

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 Tshikedi Francis: “My favourite memory was actually losing my friends! We got separated in a crowd and I ended up exploring Carnival by myself. I was stamping around taking in the music – I was open and I was free, and more importantly I was myself. I don’t normally lose people because I’m so tall, but it was the best time ever.

I was 15 at my first carnival, and it was wicked. I went with family members not my friends, and I think I enjoyed the food the most. I like how in London is so open and that everyone can get along with each other. In other countries it’s closed off. There’s not this much love in one place, especially for LGBT people, they are accepted. Carnival brings people together.”

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Remi Black: “I’ve been going to Carnival my whole life. I feel like I grew up at Carnival, as for over 20 years my mum and family have had a stall serving food. My mum’s cooking is the best! It fulfils me and realigns all my chakras. A good akee and saltfish is my favourite, nothing else beats it.

Carnival is culture, roots, love, life, freedom and happiness – it’s everything. It’s life. I love it because people are just dancing and letting themselves free, letting go. At Carnival it can rain all day and all night, and everyone is still partying – are you mad! No one would let that go to waste…all the speakers and music and organisation. Carnival is such a community thing, and no one wants to let anyone down at the end of the day. Carnival can’t get rained out. They’re running around in sun or rain covered in paints and powder with a beer in their hand.”

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The Nike Air Force 1 “Carnival Pack” will be available online and at Sneakersnstuff London August 23rd. Information about how it will be released at Sneakersnstuff London can be found on the Instagram account @sneakersnstuff_ldn.

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