“We are not working with Tom’s studio at this time and have no release dates planned,” a Nike representative told Complex. The comment signals that, at least for now, the brand is no longer working with Sachs, though it might not be the definitive end to their relationship.
The apparent decision by Nike followed a report by Curbed in March that alleged Sachs’s studio had a toxic work environment. Soon after the report was released, Nike representatives said the company was “deeply concerned” by reports of Sachs’s behavior, which allegedly included calling employees “autistic,” and “retarded,” throwing things at them, and other hazing behavior.
Nike and Sachs have long collaborated on sneaker design, in particular a project called Mars Yard, named after a rocky stretch of terrain in Pasadena, California, where engineers test out rovers that will explore the red planet. The Mars Yard 1.0 debuted in 2012, with features such as vectran fabric from the Mars Excursion Rover airbags, billed as a shoe for the modern rocket scientist. Mars Yard 2.0 came out in 2017 during an exhibition at Governor’s Island that, presciently enough, also showed a film that Sachs made with artist Van Neistat titled “The Hero’s Journey”. The film follows a Tom Sachs apprentice through an indoctrination process in his iconic SoHo studio.
At the time he told ARTnews of the film, “There is always humiliation and failure in the beginning, and we wanted The Hero’s Journey to accentuate that. No one who has had success hasn’t also had a humiliating beginning with lots of failure.”
Six years have passed since Mars Yard 2.0 was released and 3.0 was expected to debut sometime soon, with rumors swirling recently about a new release date. Sachs’s more accessible Nike collaboration, titled General Purpose, was due to come out in more colorways in April, yet this too has yet to happen.