Written by Andrea Luzzi


Nike’s collaborations have now been long time cleared with artists not only working for the brand, but openly collaborate with it. Behind the most famous faces from recent years, however, there are equally influential characters that only recently achieved success.

Piet Parra (nickname of Pieter Janssen) is one of them: behind the new Air Max 1 Parra there are in fact several collaborations with Nike that marked the history of Air Max and that people lately discovered.

But let's start from the beginning. Parra grew up as a graphic designer and illustrator, specializing since the late 90s on posters and flyers, a great way to get known and let people know your name. The link with streetwear has always been very solid, in fact the first tees were distributed by the artist already in 2002 under the label "Rockwell Clothing". The notoriety thus obtained earned him the first collaboration with Nike in 2005 thanks to the Air Max 1 AMS, sneaker inspired by the Amsterdam Red Light District, and with the 95 "Running Man" in 2008.

We owe to Parra the creation of Rustico the Great, the anthropomorphic bird first appeared on a t-shirt from the "Le Collection Noir" by Rockwell Clothing brand which later became a mascot of his art; the macabre image of Rustico who puts his feet inside two women of his species has become a symbol for Piet Parra.

The name of Piet Parra is generally associated with the famous Patta store: the logo was in fact designed by the artist himself but the relationship goes beyond the design. The name "Parra" has in fact been assigned to the artist by the founder of the sneaker store Guillaume "Gee" Schmidt who, tired of the continuous calls from Janssen who asked him to let him enter the parties, once told him "don t be parra, Piet” underlining the “paranoid" behavior of the artist.

Finally, the Rockwell Clothing brand changed its name in 2015, simply becoming "by Parra". The works that the artist once drew on paper become wearable and accessible to everyone, making Piet Parra's art even more pop than it already was. Part of the new collection, as well as the Air Max 1 and Spiridon x Parra, will be available online starting Saturday 21st July and in store at Holypopstore.